Things between the agriculture community in Nebraska and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) are heating up.
It’s no secret that the Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman is not a fan of the animal rights group. He has taken a firm stand regarding animal activists and some of their tactics, including undercover videos and voter referendums. Heineman has essentially told the group “not in my state” and says he will continue to defending his state’s No. 1 industry and the people involved.
Featured at a cattlemen’s event on Aug. 17, Heineman told the group he won’t be intimidated by HSUS and other animal rights groups that have pushed for stricter regulations on livestock production.
“They’re out to destroy the American way of life as it pertains to all of you and your kids,” the Columbus Telegraph reported Heineman told attendees of the Central Plains Beef Industry Day, in Howells, Neb. “They want to destroy American farming and ranching.”
But it was his reiteration of a statement made months earlier that has motivated HSUS and some other ag groups in Nebraska into action. “If they (HSUS) come to Nebraska, we will kick their butt,” is Heineman’s statement that has raised the bar.
Last Friday, the Nebraska Agriculture Council of HSUS sent a letter to Gov. Heineman to “cease his divisive rhetoric about HSUS.” The group, which is a joint effort between the Nebraska Farmers Union and HSUS also are requesting a meeting with the governor.
“We are deeply committed to opening markets for humane, sustainable family farmers and ranchers,” the group stated in the letter. “Our effort will help put the farmers and ranchers and their animals back on the land right here at home, and restore our rural communities to prosperity.”
Meanwhile, other Nebraska ag groups, such as the pork producer, cattlemen and dairy associations along with Nebraska Farm Bureau and the poultry industry have organized “We Support Agriculture.” The effort was formed to “defend the responsible animal welfare practices of Nebraska’s farmers and ranchers from attacks by outside animal rights groups, such as the HSUS.”
"The primary purpose is to bring awareness to the community about how important agriculture is," according Levi Fisher, a member Lincoln County Cattlemen (LCC).
One such effort will occur on Sept. 25, as the North Platte Area Chamber and Development Corporation's agriculture committee and LCC have scheduled an “informational meeting” for the public to discuss the animal rights group. The meeting will be held at the Lincoln County Fairgrounds beginning at 5:30 p.m. Space is limited, so attendees will have to RSVP to the North Platte Chamber.
Gov. Dave Heineman will be the featured speaker, along with three others. The program will conclude with a question and answer session.
Fisher notes that HSUS challenges is “no different than the drought or anything else. But, the HSUS isn't going to go away anytime soon. We're going to have to keep raising awareness"