Ever since the first animal rights radicals took up arms against agriculture, farmers have been relentlessly pursued no matter how safely their farms are operated. Groups like Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) do not only wish for the end of inhumane animal agriculture, but for the end of ALL animal agriculture.With this in mind, society should be dubious of HSUS’s Rural Development and Outreach program, which they have branded as an olive branch to the farming industry. Knowing their typical advocacy, it is imperative that we find the real reason behind this program.The description that HSUS provides for its outreach program makes a lot of claims, mostly false. One that sticks out like a sore thumb is that “A fundamental goal of The Humane Society of the United States is high animal welfare standards on the farm.” We all know that HSUS holds much more radical beliefs than this. Although they push for more stringent regulations on farms, it is simply because they want to make animal agriculture difficult in an attempt to end it altogether.If they truly wished for more humane farms, they could easily work with the USDA to complete that goal. However, their poor behavior when bills passed several states requiring tapes of farms to be shared with the USDA and lawenforcement (to help expedite the legal process and ensure the correct punishment is administered) really shines a light on their deception. They do not care about converting the <1% of farms that are inhumane; they care about destroying every farm that uses animals.Another statement they make in the description is that “The Rural Development and Outreach program ‘celebrates’ traditional farmers and ranchers who live up to such standards.” Of course, their definition of traditional farmer in one who plays by their rules.This program is just another attempt to harm the agricultural industry by turning our neighbors against us. Divide and conquer is the name of the game. But don’t just take our word for it; let the cold hard facts do the talking...Eric H. SwaffordTo begin the conversation of the Rural Development and Outreach program, we must start at the top with its director: Eric H. Swafford. According toSwafford, his job is to travel around the country to meet farmers and ranchers to ‘demonstrate the best values and practices of animal care and environmental sustainability.’Sounds like a cool job, right? Not when you look at what he actually does. He is paid to work with the very small fraction of organic food producers in an attempt to claim that HSUS works with Ag. While organic agriculture is absolutely acceptable and should in fact be celebrated in some ways, it is but one of many different forms of agriculture needed to feed a massive population, and HSUS unfortunately ignores or works against a majority of traditional farmers.They originally hired Swafford, the former Tennessee state representative, to give lobbying tips and attempt to sway rural voters on the issue of information sharing with the USDA when they ran ‘undercover operations’ as previously mentioned. Again, they did not want a rural liaison, they wanted someone they could pay to preach the word of HSUS, and gain them the support that they needed, to defeat the USDA and not cooperate with it.Does Swafford actually believe in animal rights or is it more about the money?Next on our list is someone that you have probably heard of before. Ex-Missouri Lieutenant Governor and huge opposer to the Missouri Right to Farm Amendment that passed last year,Joe Maxwell.
Joe MaxwellA democratic ex-politician, lawyer, and farmer, Maxwell seemed to be exactly what HSUS needed on the frontlines for their Rural Development and Outreach Program. So, they made him VP of Rural Outreach.Much like Swafford, Maxwell is a puppet manipulated by the Humane Society. He does what he is told and ignores remarks made by his higher ups like Paul Shapiro, Matt Prescott, and Wayne Pacelle, about all animal use being inhumane. He transforms their comparisons of farms like his to concentration camps and frames them as specific attacks on ‘factory farms’, and helps with their attempts to split an industry of which he supposedly is a member.In spite of what animal rights radicals believe, the term “factory farm” is rubbish. It was created to frame larger farming operations in the same way as the meatpacking industry of the early 20th century.The simple fact is that 99% of farmers do not treat animals inhumanely, but there is a rather small minority that do, and thus the animal rights agenda can comfortably label all farmers as such.Why would farmers and ranchers abuse animals? The entire farming process is meant to create the best efficiency and production; if farmers treated their animals poorly, their production would be lowered. Farmers are not only the ones who know what is best for the animals because they deal with them every day, they also have the biggest motivation to research what is best for them and care for them. These animals are farmers’ livelihoods, and they wouldn’t jeopardize their own livelihoods.Check out this video by leading animal welfare expert Temple Grandin PhD, who explains the production of 253 million turkeys each year.The comprehensive video shows the thought and care put into the safety and welfare of the animals. Yet, because of the size of the operation, not the care of the animals, farms like this one are labeled “factory farms.”Joe Maxwell helps the Humane Society raise millions by selling himself and his own farm as humane. He says that if he can take the rights of animals into mind when he runs his operation, why can’t we all? And whenever HSUS is criticized for being anti-agriculture, they can trot out Maxwell as “proof” they don’t oppose all farmers (just those that disagree with them, stand in their way, or are not on their payroll).Maxwell’s employment at the Humane Society is even more hypocritical than Swafford’s. His farming operation (which he quit his 14 year political career to help run), called Heritage Acre Foods, has beencited and warnedmultiple times in the past by the USDA for inhumane treatment or slaughter of their pigs.But that’s OK, Joe, keep telling us what we’re doing wrong.This leads us to HSUS’s State Agriculture Councils, the individuals who are supposed to advise them on what a state’s agriculture community wants.Agriculture CouncilsAccording to the HSUS, they support farmers and ranchers who give proper care to their animals and promote environmentally sustainable agriculture. To help complete their supposed goal they have put together a series of ‘agriculture councils’ in various states to provide advice and guidance to HSUS leadership.The problem with these councils is that they are not using the traditional farmers that they claim to celebrate. They mostly commission “organic” farmers, and fail to stock their councils with a wide range of viewpoints. There’s no need to have multiple viewpoints on an agriculture council if your agenda ispredetermined.The moral of the story is that HSUS is extending a fake hand of friendship in an attempt to trick agriculture into splitting apart and attacking one another. It will be easier for them to push their radical agendas if the opposition is divided.Therefore, we ask this of you:Stand united with your fellow farmers, regardless the size or type of their operations. Do not succumb to these poisonous attacks on your friends and neighbors. Be unilateral in response and unwavering in your opposition to the deceptive ploys of groups that want to end your livelihood. Do you stand with your community?