FOX IN THE HENHOUSE - BOOKER'S SEAT ON THE SENATE AGRICULTURE COMMITTEE
Animal Extremist and HSUS Darling, New Jersey Senator Cory Booker’s New Appointment Raises Concern for Animal Agriculture
By Jaclyn Krymowski for Protect the Harvest
It’s official – animal extremist political icon Cory Booker (D-NJ) has been appointed to the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry. This was met with much dismay from the animal agriculture world and not unjustifiably so.
Besides having absolutely no practical or real-world experience in any of the agriculture industries or sectors, Booker has long been a poster child for radical animal extremism and vegan movement enthusiasts by being a politician made in their own image.
His political career and personal motives have been rigorously documented by Protect The Harvest and other allied industry entities. Farmers, ranchers, veterinarians and other animal professionals need to be aware of what his appointment could mean for them and the industry as a whole.
Booker's Background – No Practical Experience with Agriculture
Born in Washington, D.C., and raised in New Jersey, Senator Booker has no direct connections with today’s farming world. He attended Stanford University to get his BA in political science and master’s in sociology. Afterwards he went to Oxford where he earned a degree in US history then moved on to Yale for his juris doctor.
During his mayoral career where he presided over Newark, New Jersey from 2006 to 2013, he was largely known for working with urban development and sociological issues.
So where exactly did his supposed animal expertise come from?
Booker attributes Gandhi’s autobiography, The Story of My Experiments with Truth, as being largely responsible for his personal connection with animal rights in 1992. Shortly thereafter he became a vegetarian and remained so until 2014 when he fully transitioned to an all-vegan diet.
“Legislatively,” he told the prominent vegan activist media outlet VegNews, “I want to continue to be a part of a movement of folk who are fighting against corporate interests that are undermining the public good and the public welfare.”
By integrating his animal rights ideology into his political life, Booker quickly shot up the ladder to animal activist stardom. He has received numerous laurels and recognition in this realm on the national level – not removing his vegan lifestyle and beliefs from his legislative activity. Senator Booker was a featured guest and award winner at the Humane Society of the United States’ Farm Animal Protection fundraiser in Los Angeles.
Booker’s Legislative Activities
Farm Systems Reform Act – Boycott Big Meat Campaign
While he’s been on the favored side of the animal extremist agenda for some time, Booker gained a whole new level of attention when he, along with Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), introduced the Farm Systems Reform Act (FSRA) in 2019.
The Farm Systems Reform Act was a direct affront to large modern farms which utilize concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) of all types, as previously reported by Protect The Harvest. The bill seeks to eliminate all CAFOs entirely by January of 2040 and would force animal agriculture production to be entirely pasture-based.
To gain favor, many animal extremists and unfamiliar media outlets tried to explain the motives behind the bill as pushing out “corporate ag” in favor of smaller, family farms with greater sustainability and economic fairness. Movements like the #BoycottBigMeat campaign and associating it with the Green New Deal are examples of this. The bill itself completely overlooks the fact that large modern farming practices were developed by experts in the field, university researchers, and livestock veterinarians. These practices were developed through scientific facts, not subjective emotions, like the animal extremist movement’s motives. They maximize land, water and other resources while upholding animal welfare standards. This is the very definition of sustainability.
“Big multinational corporations turn massive profits by cramming farmed animals into barren sheds and massive feedlots,” writes Joe Loria for animal extremist-based World Animal Protection. “The Farm System Reform Act (FSRA) would overhaul our broken food system by placing a moratorium on the largest factory farms—immediately prohibiting the creation or expansion of these monstrous factories and requiring they be phased out by 2040. It’s the first step towards shifting away from our current factory farming model and toward a more sustainable and kinder food system.”
Our food system is not broken and Loria’s claim is simply untrue. Farmers in the United States have been practicing sustainability for decades. Improvements in modern farming practices are allowing farmers and ranchers to produce much more with less. Farming looks much different today than it did 10, 20, or 50 years ago due to scientific research and adaptation to more efficient and sustainable practices.
This bill overlooks the gap left in the system without livestock to fulfill it — unused food industry byproducts, nonarable land left unproductive, and lack of essential nutrients for example.
Likewise, there are the lingering questions regarding how such transitions would be made possible. Is there is even enough grazing land to support all livestock that is needed to fill consumer needs? A 2017 study from researchers at the Department of Agriculture’s Research Service and Virginia Tech showed this would be a serious concern.
Wildlife Corridor Conservation Act
Additionally in 2019, Booker helped introduce the Wildlife Corridor Conservation Act, which left major questions regarding the rights of property owners as the act would “provide for the protection and restoration of certain native fish, wildlife, and plant species and for other purposes.”
Aligned with Animal Extremists in Opposing BLM’s Spay Study
Even the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) was not exempt from the attention of Senator Booker and his likeminded colleagues. He was among the eight Democrats to sign and submit an opposition letter to the BLM’s spay feasibility study. This study was conducted to test spaying as a humane, economical and viable tool for herd management. It is important to note that conducting a study regarding the standing surgical spay was also wildly disapproved of by various animal extremist organizations, including the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), which stands to gain from its patent on a birth control injection. The injection is expensive to administer and the results are considered inhumane by Protect The Harvest and other animal welfare advocacy groups.
Worked to Further Slow Down Packing Plants During the COVID-19 Related Closedown of Packing Houses which Impacted Animal Welfare
Worth the mention, Booker was also part of the Safe Line Speeds During COVID-19 Act last year. This bill was aimed at large processors and meat packers to prevent them from trying to speed up production line in wake of COVID delay and food shortages. The ASPCA and other animal extremist groups have been vocal supporters of this move.
Pushes for Unscientific End to Necessary Animal Testing
That same year he also enacted legislation to reduce the number of primates used in research with the Primate Protection and Research Modernization Act.
While his original animal welfare plan is no longer available on his website, Booker included a statement that he plans to promote the development of “scientifically reliable alternative methods in order to end all animal testing by 2025,” according to World Animal News. What has been fully ignored by animal extremist groups is both the necessity for animal testing and the ongoing work by researchers and scientists to reduce and eliminate animal testing whenever possible.
Senator Booker Seems to Provide Boiler-Plate Support of the Animal Extremist Agenda
Other points on this animal welfare plan were an end to US horse exportation for meat purposes, prohibiting imports of exotic animal trophy and banning the use of poisons for predator control.
He did, however, push for reforms to the 2016 Substances Control Act regarding the use of animals in cosmetic testing.
Senator Booker Publicly Endorses the HSUS
When he’s not supporting anti-animal agriculture legislation, Booker can be found supporting animal extremist causes in his personal life.
In 2017, he took center stage at the Humane Society of the United States’ (HSUS) luxurious annual Farm Animal Protection benefit in Los Angeles, California. At the fundraiser Booker was honored with the organization’s Humanitarian of the Year Award for his political work.
“HSUS is working every day to end animal cruelty, and I've been proud to stand with them. No living creature is so insignificant as to not be worthy of our kindness and compassion,” he said in his acceptance speech. “I'm energized by the progress we've already made, and I look forward to continuing to work on animal welfare issues in the United States Senate in the years to come."
Animal extremism is not animal welfare, although extremist groups like the HSUS, ASPCA and PETA work to confuse the public about their definitions and their agenda. To learn more about the difference between animal extremism and animal welfare, visit the Protect The Harvest website.
Booker is Clearly an Animal Extremist Group PR Darling
The promotion and support HSUS gives to Booker goes beyond awards and mentions. According to the Humane Society Legislative Fund (HSUS’ political arm), Booker has a “100+” score for 2020 and for his lifetime record. This means he has sponsored or upheld a variety of animal rights-centric bills, funds and positions from horse racing to big cats to companion animals.
Booker can also be seen in many bits of news and blog posts by the ASPCA. Like HSUS, they have also been in support of the Farm System Reform Act.
Unsurprisingly, PETA has also given their stamp of approval to Booker. In fact, they added his likeness to a Thanksgiving (or “Thanksvegan”) campaign painting tweeted out to their followers last November.
The VegNews vegan outlet has done numerous pieces on Booker and his activities, including a very recent piece introducing him as “the first vegan senator on the Senate Agriculture Committee.” “Booker has been vegan since 2014 and is a longtime advocate for reforming agricultural systems,” reads the article, “particularly factory farming, to create a more equitable food system for people and animals.”
Among nearly all the major animal rights players – even the World Wildlife Fund – you will find some reference to Cory Booker in blog posts or articles. These groups are either talking about him directly or speaking about new legislation he has worked to promote.
Senator Booker Mistakenly Believes Modern Farming Harms the Environment
While he has certainly taken advantage of his status as an animal extremist movement Rockstar, Booker does seem convicted in his personal beliefs as a vegan. Besides citing “moral” reasons, Booker also ties his diet to his misguided beliefs about sustainability.
“The tragic reality is this planet simply can’t sustain billions of people consuming industrially produced animal agriculture because of environmental impact,” he said in a VegNews article. “It’s just not sustainable as their demand for these products grows and the power of the industrial pork industry grows. It’s trampling the rights of others. We have to figure out a sustainable way.” This statement by Booker certainly begs the question of where he gets his information since he has no agricultural background and instead has strong ties to animal extremist groups.
Keep in mind animal extremist groups have publicly stated their number one goal is to end animal agriculture. Booker’s statement also sheds a glaring light regarding his lack of experience and expertise. His statements clearly show he has not visited large modern farms, spoken to university veterinarians and agricultural researchers. It appears he has no inkling of how agriculture has improved its use of valuable resources and is producing more now with less than ever before. If agriculture were not sustainable, generations of families would not be able to pass down farms for over 100 years.
Disingenuous and Misinformed Statements Help Booker Play Both Sides of the Fence
Booker stresses he doesn’t believe in eliminating animal farming all together, not yet anyway, but he is a big supporter of small and midsized “family farms.”
Who exactly meets that criteria? Booker is unclear and seems out of touch with the current production operations and sizes of family farms.
This tactic seems to help him cater to his vegan fanbase while also setting himself as a hero of the nondescript family farm and destroyer of massive, crushing corporations.
On an MSNBC interview, although Booker did make a point blank statement about a non-vegan diet having a bigger carbon footprint, he immediately followed it up by saying that he does not believe the government should dictate what people should eat.
This is another statement that shows Booker has not done his homework and is regurgitating animal extremist propaganda. Likewise, he rejected the notion that he has a “radical vegan agenda.” This has earned him a bit of criticism from the vegan and radical animal rights communities who demand he takes a stronger stance in this regard. That does not take away from the fact that his political actions favor his vegan supporters, the animal extremist agenda,and regularly harms land owners and those involved with animal agriculture.
In one Medium article, the author recalls a time where he met up with activists staging a demonstration in New Hampshire.
Additionally, Booker has made statements about milk and egg alternatives being under attack by the true milk and dairy industries. In his VegNews interview, he said he believes that by stopping “corporate power” it would allow the public greater freedom of choice which would allow “more compassion” with “a focus on public health.”
In this same interview he also mentions the impact of greenhouse gases and a loss of environmental sustainability. Instead of discussing innovative solutions such funneling this to renewable energy such as with methane digesters, he points to “corporations” as being the issue.
“It’s small farmers who are treating animals with better care and compassion,” Booker stressed, “who are treating the environment in a more sustainable way that really speak to the farming traditions of our country being destroyed economically because of this corporate consolidation that is unsustainable.”
But again, Booker has not explained exactly what qualifies as a “small farmer” nor does he address the fact that many small farmers are in business because of the corporations and co-ops they either sell or belong to. Likewise, he doesn’t address the fact that large operations have strict animal welfare protocols in place and most are also family owned.
Senator Booker’s Beliefs and Actions Have Long Concerned Farmers and Ranchers
For years, those in animal agriculture have been well aware of Booker’s involvement with the animal extremist
movement and his resume. Now that he has a place on the Senate Agriculture Committee, there real is concern and great discussion around this happening.
While Booker has been very vocal about his personal beliefs and reason for adopting a vegan diet, he fails to provide the credentials to speak or work on projects directly linked to food production and animal agriculture. This makes his newly minted appointment all the more baffling for agriculturalists.
This is an optimal time for animal industries to be increasingly vigilant about political action and legislation that has an impact on present and future of farming and ranching practices – and to make their thoughts on these topics known. Protect The Harvest and other agriculture media outlets are dedicated to raising awareness of these issues, we can only hope those in the field will take heed.