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A Challenger Hits Its Stride-Part II PDF Print E-mail
Written by Steve Dittmer   
Monday, 29 September 2008
AFF Sentinel Vol.5#36

Waging Political Wars; Now Hijacking Faith

Colorado Springs, CO August 29, 2008

Edi. Note: The following remarks are the second half of excerpts from an AFF presentation to the recent National Meat Assn. summer conference. The first part dealt with the vegetarian goal that underlies the efforts of the Humane Society of the U.S. (HSUS).

We have a message we have to get out to our fellow Americans. If the "cruelty" and "misery" HSUS alleges were really common in the livestock industry, the industry would have collapsed years ago. If today's professional farmers and the rest of the livestock chain really created conditions in which animals were not contented, did not thrive and grow, they would lose their livelihood and their money. HSUS does not understand economics any better than it knows the real instincts and needs of animals.

But they do understand emotional appeals to voters and the political approaches to getting what they want. They have been successful at banning common livestock production practices in Florida, Arizona, and Oregon. They have forced legislation that is a defensive surrender in Colorado. Restrictive proposals are on the ballot in California's election this fall. Observers feel their strategy is to get legislation or constitutional amendments in 12-15 states and then use those results to pressure Congress into national legislation.

They have already succeeded in getting horse slaughter banned on the state level in Texas and Illinois. Now they are supporting a federal bill (H.R. 6598) in Congress to outlaw the knowing possession, sale or transport of horses for slaughter for human consumption across state lines or international borders, punishable with fines and prison terms up to three years.

And now they are succeeding in turning our very churches and synagogues against animal agriculture. Recently, they unveiled, "All Creatures Great and Small," a new campaign designed to show religious leaders opposing mainstream animal agriculture. They list bishops of the Methodist, Episcopal, Jewish and Muslim religions endorsing their campaign. They have scheduled events at Washington's National Cathedral to highlight their message.

The announcement noted, "In the last 30-40 years, agriculture has taken a harsh turn away from responsible animal husbandry on family farms to unacceptable mistreatment of animals on industrialized, factory farms."

The release featured a chief rabbi "wholeheartedly" endorsing the campaign and the bishop of Washington D.C. saying "More humane and sustainable dietary choices can be a powerful testimony of our faith ..."

This particular campaign is initially focused on reducing egg consumption and regulating cages. Pacelle himself has been cagey regarding the stepping-stones HSUS contemplates. Asked whether HSUS would leave animal agriculture alone once laying cages, gestation crates and veal stalls were eliminated or modified to his liking, Pacelle refused that promise, saying his organization would decide that when the time came. Of course, their vegetarian ultimate goal belies anything short of outlawing meat production, albeit on a step-by-step progression.

My purpose today is to again apprise you of what this group is about and ask for your help. And we must realize, they are not the only group with their sights on us - just one of the best known today. The PEW Charitable Trust has much larger resources, many of the same arguments and a broader set of goals for restructuring agriculture, though without the overt vegetarian underlying motivations.

AFF knows it has pricked HSUS's hide a little bit, from their response to our challenges of their handling of the Portales livestock market affair. We want to continue to challenge their views and their attempts to shape the unthinking emotional reactions of people and legislators. They have patience, lawyers and money. We have the desire to fight and we need your assistance.

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Last Updated ( Friday, 12 September 2008 )
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