Mira's Nuggets

Home ~ Mission Statement ~ Trap Talk ~ ADC Forum ~ Trap Shed ~ Fur Handling
Trapper Tips ~ Links ~ Gallery ~ Basic Sets ~ Convention Calendar ~ Trapper's Humor
Fur Buyers Directory ~ Trapper's Tales ~ Words From The Past ~ Legends ~ Archives

Topic Options
Hop to:
#943620 - 10/21/08 05:19 PM Food doesn't cost enough already?????
Mira Trapper Offline

Registered: 09/17/07
Posts: 2633
Loc: Cape Breton Island Nova Scotia
NOTE: FCUSA recommends you call any friends, family or associates in CA and urge them to vote No on Prop. 2.

Buckeye Ag Radio Network

This Week's Column - The Most Dangerous Organization in America



California's Proposition 2 was all over my radar this week, with the CEO of the United Egg Producers speaking to the Ohio Ag Council, and Oprah Winfrey talking animal agriculture on her show this week. Here are my thoughts on the root of this very problematic ballot initiative.

The Most Dangerous Organization in America

On November 4th, Americans will make a number of very important choices about the towns, counties, states, and the nation in which they live. In our area alone, voters will decide local and county elected officials, school funding issues, statewide office holders, and the President of the United States. Voters in California, however, will decide the fate of animal agriculture in the Sunshine State, with repercussions stretching far beyond the borders of the Left Coast.

Proposition 2, a ballot initiative proposed and campaigned by the Humane Society of the United States, would essentially outlaw both modern cage and cage-free housing systems for egg-laying operations in the state. If passed, Proposition 2 is estimated to create shortages in locally produced eggs and higher overall costs for consumers. In addition, the proposition would ban swine gestation crates and veal crates, although few veal calves and less than 9,000 sows are produced in the state. Costs for farmers to comply with this measure would be 76 percent higher than costs for current cage systems.

Why is this of issue for you as a consumer? Two very important reasons: first, that Prop 2 will become a precedent-setting piece of law, and secondly that it will drive the cost of food higher. Let's start with the first issue: precedent. Anti-animal agriculture activists have long tried to ban modern farming practices across the country. Legislative efforts championed in states from New Hampshire to New Mexico have been beaten back by common-sense legislators and industry education efforts. With the failure of the activists' legislative agenda, however, these radicals have not simply packed their tents and given up the fight. Instead, they've turned to the much more challenging tactic of ballot initiative to spread their social agenda.

Ballot initiatives are much more challenging to defend than legislative initiatives because the audience is much, much wider. When attempting to influence a piece of legislation, an organization needs to form strong ties with the appropriate members of a committee, give good and enlightening testimony, and generally persuade a majority of the elected body that a given position is the best position on the issue at hand. With a ballot initiative, however, the defending organization has to convince a majority of the electorate that a given position is the best position to support. This means massively expensive media and advertising campaigns, meaning the position that wins the day might very well be an issue of monetary resources rather than convincing argument.

Case in point is the battle over Proposition 2. On the offense is the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), while defending the position of farm families is a coalition of agriculture and business groups, led largely by the United Egg Producers, the industry organization representing egg farmers across the country. So on one hand you have a radical activist organization, whose non-profit status allowed them to amass a war chest of over $200 million in 2007, and on the other hand you have a small group of family farmers and their associated business colleagues. Organized agriculture typically invests industry funding in research and development, looking at ways to improve farming practices and the rural way of life. Instead, these funds are now being diverted to battle Proposition 2 and similar efforts HSUS has waged over the last few years in states like Florida, Colorado, and Arizona.

So who, exactly, is HSUS? I prefer to refer to the organization by its acronym for one reason: the name Humane Society implies that the group is somehow tied to your local Human shelter, which couldn't be farther from the truth. The Humane Society of the US couldn't care less about the puppies and kitties at your local animal shelter. The organization's name was chosen for the simple fact that the vast majority of Americans will assume that HSUS is tied to local Humane Societies, and donate accordingly, thinking their donations are going to help abandoned and mistreated pets. At no time do those HSUS donor dollars go to any sort of local animal rescue or care efforts. HSUS funds are used explicitly for the purpose of ending animal agriculture, and more specifically meat consumption, as a way of life in the United States.

Most Americans are familiar with PETA, the other major anti-animal agriculture organization in this country. As has been reported numerous times, PETA uses extremely visible PR stunts to advance its radical agenda. The most recent, calling on Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream to abandon cow's milk in favor of breast milk in its ice cream production, largely drew ridicule from mainstream America. Because of these wild-eyed stunts and rampant exploitation of women in its campaign against farming and meat consumption, the average American largely ignores PETA. The group no longer has the power of persuasion it once enjoyed. HSUS, on the other hand, isn't about to squander its influence on a simple PR campaign.

Where PETA will stage a rally with protestors dressed as cows being led to harvest, HSUS uses the much wiser tactic of threatening to deploy its activist members into contested Congressional elections. If an elected official doesn't side with HSUS and its celebrity CEO Wayne Pacelle, the group will dump thousands of dollars and thousands of volunteers into the campaign of that official's competitor in the next election. By focusing on coercing, intimidating, and stiff-arming public officials rather than grabbing headlines and spotlight, HSUS stays under the radar of public scrutiny, but right in the middle of the radar of powerful politicos.

HSUS has one simple agenda: end consumption of meat in America. This social agenda has nothing to do with animal welfare. The radical leaders of the organization have long maintained that their top priority is to coax, coerce, and eventual completely compel Americans into a vegan lifestyle, devoid of animal products. This agenda will be difficult to force on Americans long accustomed to eggs and bacon and leather shoes. By fooling consumers into believing their agenda is one of animal welfare and compassion, and by focusing on active lobbying and an electoral offensive, HSUS has taken a long-term perspective on their success. They are patient, knowing that if they can force 19 million California laying hens out of production, egg prices will climb, and if egg prices climb, consumption of eggs will decline. This is a long-term process, but one to which HSUS is committed, and one which HSUS has the funds to sustain.

The Humane Society of the United States exists solely to promote a radical activist agenda. They should no longer be afforded tax-exempt 501c(3) status, allowing them to promote and eventually force their extremist lifestyle on the populace with no tax burden. Consumers must be aware of what HSUS is really all about, and send their donations to the local animal shelter instead.

Andy' weekly column appears in the Logan County River Current, and will soon begin appearing in Farm World and the Indian Lake Current.

Mac Leod Motto

#943649 - 10/21/08 05:43 PM Re: Food doesn't cost enough already????? [Re: Mira Trapper]
Bob Evans,-CWCP Offline

Registered: 12/23/06
Posts: 2151
Loc: Syracuse,Utica-Rome,Madison,On...
Let's import more foods from China ,Mexico and other countries that want to poison us!
bob evans
Bird,live honey Bee,Unique wildlife problems SOLVED.
Serving the great state of New York


#943685 - 10/21/08 06:11 PM Re: Food doesn't cost enough already????? [Re: Bob Evans,-CWCP]
Mira Trapper Offline

Registered: 09/17/07
Posts: 2633
Loc: Cape Breton Island Nova Scotia
Meanwhile HSUS types are poisoning the ability of North American farmers to provide food in top quality with a profit margin they can live with and our governments are guilty of allowing this to happen .

Mac Leod Motto

#952003 - 10/26/08 12:01 PM Re: Food doesn't cost enough already????? [Re: Mira Trapper]
Mira Trapper Offline

Registered: 09/17/07
Posts: 2633
Loc: Cape Breton Island Nova Scotia
Sonoma Index Tribune
Prop. 2 bans chicken cages

Supporters of Proposition 2, known as the Standards for Confining Farm Animals Act, say the measure is a modest proposal that would give farm animals the basic right to move around without inhumane confinement. Opponents say although the measure is well-meaning, passing the bill would mean the death of the egg industry in California.

Some animal activists have even said the proposition would actually cause more harm than good to farm animals. Proposition 2 would require that agriculture animals have enough room to stand up, lie down and stretch their limbs, which in turn would outlaw veal crates, pig gestation crates and the battery cages used with egg-laying hens. Since California has virtually no veal and gestation crates, the measure is primarily focused on California's egg industry, which houses 20 million hens, 90 percent of which are kept in battery cages.
Battery cages typically house five to 10 birds a cage, with cages stacked up to six levels high.

Proposition 2 was created by the Humane Society of America and has received broad voter support. The grassroots campaign effort collected more than 800,000 signatures when only 450,000 were needed to get the measure on the November ballot, according to Jennifer Fearing, campaign manager for Yes on 2. "California voters overwhelmingly support Proposition 2," Fearing said, quoting a recent poll revealing 63 percent of voters favor the measure. Opponents say much of the support comes from voters who think passing Proposition 2 will ensure California hens are raised free range, with the ability to run around outside.

While the measure would create a de facto ban on cages, egg producers would not be required to raise free-range chickens.

Instead the poultry would be housed in indoor cage-free confinement systems where tens of thousands of birds are kept together within divided areas inside immense barns.

Some animal welfare groups have said cage-free environments are actually more dangerous to the health of birds than battery cages, which are intended to make egg collection more efficient and prevent the birds from cannibalizing each other. In a cage-free system, the birds must sleep, walk and, to some extent, lay eggs in their own fecal matter, which can breed disease.

Furthermore, cage-free systems are difficult to ventilate properly, resulting in a higher incidence of respiratory illness.

"The non-cage system may seem more humane but in reality that's not necessarily the case," said Joy Mench, director of the Center for Animal Welfare at UC Davis, who co-authored a report on Proposition 2. "Both systems have their good sides and their bad sides."
What is clear but poorly understood by the public is that free-range birds, allowed to roam about outside, will never be a significant part of the poultry equation because they are too expensive to raise on the scale of caged, or even cage-free, birds.

While Proposition 2 has received support from environmental and animal-rights groups like the Sierra Club, the California Veterinary Medicine Association and the National Federation of Humane Societies, other animal rights groups are warning against it.
"The best housing environments take into consideration all relevant factors, including: freedom of movement; expression of normal behaviors; protection from disease, injury, and predators; adequate food and water; and proper handling.

Proposition 2 would clearly provide greater freedom of movement, but would likely compromise several of the other factors necessary to ensure the overall welfare of the animals, especially with regard to protection from disease and injury," the American Veterinary Medicine Association stated in a press release.

"We are concerned that legislating isolated, arbitrary and emotion-based criteria to implement farm-animal housing systems may actually do more harm than good for the well-being of animals ..."

For egg producers like Valley resident Arnold Riebli, the thought of Proposition 2 passing is scary. Riebli runs Sunrise Farms, which owns 1 million egg-laying hens located at a number of different facilities around the county. He estimates it would cost him $40 million to upgrade his operation to meet the requirements of Proposition 2, a cost he is not willing to pay.

"If the measure passes, I have no interest in staying (in business in California)," Riebli said.

Riebli is not alone. Agricultural economists agree that should Proposition 2 pass, it would drive the egg industry out of California. Egg producers say they cannot afford to meet the requirements of the measure, meaning future eggs sold in California would likely be trucked in from other states.

"If this initiative passes, we will not have an egg industry in California," said Daniel Sumner, director of the Agricultural Issues Center at UC Davis. "We're just going to import all of our eggs from other places."

Proposition 2 needs a majority vote to pass, and is being supported by U.S. Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, state Sen. Carole Migden and the city councils of San Francisco, Sacramento and Los Angeles, among others. Opponents to the measure include the Association of California Veterinarians, the National Animal Interest Alliance and the Agricultural Counsel of California.

Mac Leod Motto


Moderator:  tmrschessie