- exposes unsafe, unhealthy, and inhumane practices in factory farms
- promotes legislation that requires humane treatment for animals
- encourages members to “eat with conscience”, avoiding inhumanely farmed products
All three of these anger agricultural operations that cut corners on animal welfare to increase their profits.
But the truth is that the HSUS opposes cruelty and abuse in the ag industry — not the ag industry itself. The HSUS has supported legislation to eliminate intensive confinement systems, specifically battery cages, gestation crates, and veal crates.
These are cruel methods of restraining an animal for its entire life, confining them to a space barely larger than their bodies. They cause a host of physical and psychological problems in the confined animals who literally go mad with frustration and pain. Worst of all, it’s a wholly unnecessary practice that inflicts needless suffering on the animals in order to increase profits.
That’s unacceptable to most Americans. When the issue has been presented to voters — as it has been in California, Florida, Oregon, Maine, Michigan, and Arizona — they overwhelmingly vote to ban these inhumane practices.
The large ag corporations like Cargill, Tyson, and Smithfield are not happy about being confronted on this dirty little secret. Intensive confinement systems are indefensibly cruel, and ag corporations recognize that Americans are opposed to the practice. Because they cannot defend the practice, they rally behind the myth that HSUS is not merely eliminating cruelty, but is “attacking agriculture” and our very way of life.
While HSUS promotes vegan eating as a way to reduce the suffering of animals, it does not force that choice on anyone — including its own employees. The mythical Vegan Conspiracy is a convenient boogeyman used to distract Americans from the real issues.
When someone claims that HSUS is anti-agriculture, ask them to prove it. Invariably, they will point legislation banning intensive confinement systems as proof of HSUS’ “attack on agriculture”.
HSUS is only “attacking agriculture” if you believe that cruelty and torture are a necessary part of agriculture. What ag groups are defending is not agriculture, but cruel practices that sacrifice the welfare of the animals for profits. And that’s the complete opposite of what good farmers represent.
Fortunately, cruelty and agriculture are not inextricably linked. Humane farming operations like Fulton Farms (which raises sustainable, grass-fed beef) are applauded by HSUS. HSUS also supports the Certified Humane label and the new Global GAP standards of animal welfare.
In 2012, the HSUS partnered with United Egg Producers — the organization whose farmers produce more than 90% of the eggs in America — to develop meaningful compromises that would improve animal welfare for billions of egg-laying hens. The result of those talks was the Egg Products Inspection Act, amendments introduced to Congress with widespread support from both industry and animal welfare advocates.
If HumaneWatch wishes to assert that the HSUS is anti-agriculture, will they also claim that the UEP is anti-agriculture? That’s a difficult stretch for even the most fevered conspiracy theorist’s imagination.
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