Iowa is newest home for HSUS state council

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What do Nebraska, Ohio, Colorado and, now, Iowa have in common? For starters, as of November 14, these are the four states where HSUS has established “State Agriculture Councils” consisting of farmers and ranchers in each state.

According to HSUS, the Iowa council will focus on marketing opportunities for farmers and ranchers who practice certain animal welfare standards, highlight environmental stewardship and facilitate a dialogue with other farming and ranching organizations and their members.

Chris Petersen, a Berkshire hog farmer from near Clear Lake, Iowa, is one of the founding members of the council in Iowa. Petersen is the immediate past president for the Iowa Farmers Union.

“As an Iowa farmer, I believe family farmers and ranchers have much common ground with The HSUS when it comes to animal husbandry treatment,” said Petersen. “It’s a positive step to work together to address the future of animal agriculture and find solutions to animal welfare challenges.”

Other founding members include Garry Klicker, a Bloomfield farmer who is also involved with the National Farmers Union and the Sierra Club; Marian Kuper, a farmer who raises row crops and beef calves in Hardin County; Gary Hoskey, a row crop, cattle and hog farmer from Montour; John Gilbert, a farmer from Iowa Falls who raises grains and forages to feed his Brown Swiss dairy herd and pigs; and Tom Frantzen, a New Hampton farmer who grows crops and raises cattle and pigs.

Not so fast says the Animal Agriculture Alliance Communications Director Emily Meredith. The Animal Agriculture Alliance works with its members to educate consumers about animal agriculture.

“The Humane Society of the United States certainly has ample resources to waste on initiatives like their animal welfare coalitions – however there are already plenty of credible groups that work hard every day to safeguard animal well-being,” said Meredith. “These groups include our member organizations, like the American Humane Association, the National Pork Board and many others who have their boots on the ground and have developed – relying on third-party experts, veterinarians and animal scientists – guidelines for producers to follow. With the great work these two groups specifically, and others have done in further advancing animal care, HSUS’ efforts are nothing more a front to appear to be engaged.”  

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Craig A. Moore    
Billings, MT  |  November, 15, 2013 at 03:32 PM

I think Emily is missing a very good point here. I think many farmers and ranchers should join the councils and use that as a position to keep an eye on the opposition, from within.

Lucas, IA  |  November, 16, 2013 at 04:39 PM

HSUS is an enemy you don't want within your council or your state. Their expertise is not animal welfare, it's to see animal producers regulated out of business. Leave the welfare to the farmers with experience and the vets and researchers whose intent IS to improve welfare rather than ending the use of animals for food and pets. Every compromise made with HSUS is a loss to farmers and their animals. HSUS has everything to gain and nothing to lose. Our farmers and ranchers have everything to lose when they sit down with HSUS.

kansas  |  November, 22, 2013 at 01:09 PM

Craig & Nancy both make good points, but Nancy wins. The HSUS is a very, very sophisticated organization that employs a multitude of highly paid, experienced and ruthless lawyers, lobbyists and most importantly Publicists. They can and will, with smiles and glad-handing, manipulate "council" members and their activities to serve their own ends. I don't wish to impugn the intelligence of farmers, but they don't have the "tools" to counter these people and their tactics on their own. Sooner or later, well-intentioned farmers' participation will be twisted to serve the Vegan, Anti-Modern Agriculture HSUS agenda in one way or another. Avoid them and attack them at every turn. "Friend of, or Enemy of, my Enemy" should guide us, if we want to avoid becoming unwitting "collaborators". And what is up with the National Farmers Union? They and all their State organizations have descended into some kind of cheering section and mutual admiration club for HSUS, Sierra Club, and other viciously anti-modern agriculture groups bent on destroying our businesses. Is it time the NFU be shunned, abandoned and assigned to the list of enemies of our industry, like their BFs? Somebody needs to look into this because it's a serious concern.

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