The Indiana chapter of the Humane Society of the United States has formed their Indiana Agriculture Council. HSUS has been forming these state councils in several key agricultural states. According to HSUS, the purpose is to “provide advice and guidance to The HSUS, assist other family farmers with marketing opportunities for humane and sustainable products, and help fellow farmers transition to practices that adhere to higher animal welfare standards.” Brian Klippenstein with Protect the Harvest says the council is a sham, “I don’t say this lightly, but my own impression is that there is a great deal of deception and divisiveness going on.” He told HAT that the idea that HSUS is interested in getting advice from agriculture on animal care is a hard one to swallow.
Klippenstein says, if HSUS really wanted to start a dialogue with farmers, they are going about it the wrong way, “They should walk into the Indiana Beef Cattle Association, or Indiana Pork, or Indiana Farm Bureau and begin an open dialogue, but we are not seeing that happen.” He says what we have seen is more target activity by these activists in major agriculture states in the Midwest. In their release HSUS stated that, “The shift toward an industrialized model for agriculture not only forces more family farmers out of business, but also harms rural communities, endangers the environment and forces more animals into lives of inhumane treatment through intensive confinement where their most natural behaviors cannot be displayed.”
He says agriculture cannot simply ignore these efforts, “They are in our backyards and we have to deal with them.” He added that HSUS goes a good job of making their minority opinion look like the majority opinion. With their inability to pass federal legislation, HSUS is turning to the states to try and influence legislation or local ordinances.
Protect the Harvest reports that a recent investigation of HSUS tax records shows that, between 2009 and 2011, HSUS made $509 million while only giving $27 million to grants and organizations in the U.S. — less that 5% of their total revenue, “The rest goes to lobbying efforts and ‘animal welfare’ issues in other countries. Yet, they continue to deceive the general public into giving them money under the pretense that it’s going to their local shelters.”