The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) doesn’t want consumers eating animal protein, especially beef. To reach that goal the radical animals rights activists have partnered with the Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM) in an attempt to gain standing and add an air of legitimacy to their efforts. They can make all the claims about fairness and free markets they want, but let’s make one thing clear: HSUS is not at all interested in the well-being of cattlemen. Their singular goal is putting cattlemen out of business.
HSUS is a radical animal rights group that has publicly stated their plans to end meat production. It’s said this repeatedly while raising millions for lobbying and anti-agriculture ballot initiatives. Putting livestock producers out of business is front and center when HSUS is making the rounds in Hollywood and among the East Coast elite.
HSUS wants to end beef production and push you and your family off the land. HSUS doesn’t care about free markets or “fairness” in the beef industry. They simply know that when they drive a wedge in our industry over hot-button issues, we are weaker. The expert manipulators at HSUS know they can exploit our differences and distract us from important matters. If they win, individual producers will be easier to defeat than a united industry that stands together when confronted by its adversaries.
In 2012, HSUS issued a blunt warning to the beef industry in general, and NCBA in particular, when NCBA objected to non-scientific reforms being made in the poultry business. At the time, HSUS said, “We hope the cattle industry stays in its lane…” Now we know what happens when the cattle industry strays from its lane. NCBA stood its ground and HSUS has devoted its massive legal, public relations and lobbying machine to the goal of dividing beef producers, weakening the checkoff and convincing folks that NCBA is working against them. OCM’s president referred to HSUS as a “Godsend” and he believes you all owe HSUS a thank you note.
HSUS doesn’t care about any of us. HSUS doesn’t believe animals should be harvested for food. Apparently the members of OCM feel the same, because they’ve voted to join forces with HSUS while they again plow old, tired ground. Together these two groups have spent countless hours and hundreds-of-thousands-of-dollars of HSUS money to promote the narrative that beef producers would be better off without the beef checkoff. They’re using the $200 million war chest at HSUS to protest the industry’s own self-promotion program in court on the grounds that it’s being used improperly.
The beef checkoff isn’t being used for lobbying by NCBA or any other group. Regular and thorough audits by the government, by the Cattlemen’s Beef Board and by third-party firms have repeatedly shown the checkoff is fully safeguarded, that firewalls are in place and working. If you believe in the beef checkoff, you need to stand up and fight for it. When you hear stories that aren’t true, you owe it to your fellow cattlemen and women to stop the propaganda. The beef checkoff belongs to beef producers and it’s time to fight for it.
The beef checkoff is directed by more than 700 cattlemen and cattlewomen who invest their time and energy on the boards of the state and national organizations that work to ensure a strong future for our business. Together, those volunteers are safeguarding the investments and those dollars are being invested in promotion and research that ensures consumers continue purchasing beef.
Here is part of what NCBA is doing as a contractor to the checkoff. Just since January, we hosted nine top scientists from the Centers for Disease Control on a beef tour to demonstrate our stewardship and safety practices on antibiotic use and resistance in the beef industry. We hosted 29 top leaders of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to educate them how beef fits in healthy diets. We launched a special retail promotion to move some 6 million pounds of beef in four weeks running up to the Super Bowl. We partnered with Amazon Fresh to help them improve their beef category in their new online store. The list goes on and on.
The beef checkoff is doing great things for beef producers and it’s supported by nearly three-quarters of the folks who pay into it. Third-party research has shown that for every dollar invested, more than $11 is returned to our industry. That’s a program we should all be supporting, not tearing apart.
When HSUS confronts our industry, it’s our responsibility to fight back. No matter what is said, or how much it’s disguised, HSUS is angry that people continue to produce cattle and consumers continue to choose beef at the grocery store. That’s what this fight is about, and that’s all it’s about.
Editor’s Note: The opinions in this commentary are those of Kendal Frazier, National Cattlemen's Beef Association CEO.