Driving County Roads

An on line journal sharing my views. The content reflects my background as a rural person employed in agriculture and as a retired elected official of local government.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


If the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has their way, we will. Or the eggs could come from Mexican farms. Either choice is a bad one. The HSUS should not be confused with local humane societies. They use the name that most people associate with their local pet shelters in order to garner good will and most of all CASH. The HSUS goals are eliminate caged layers and also crates for sows. If they get their way, the egg and hog industry will not be competitive here in the United States and driving out the cages will also drive out the hens, eggs, and sows. If you think this cannot happen, think again. It has happened in Europe.
The argument is that chickens should be raised using free range and it sounds good. But like most of these issues when you look at the real life picture and the details, it just does not work. Why? The answer is that hens on grass eat much more corn in order to produce eggs. This presents several problems in getting the same number of eggs to the consumer. First of all is the increased cost to the farmer. Second of all the U.S. would have to increase corn plantings by thousands of acres to get more corn. Third this would mean putting marginal land into production and more land would be needed to graze the chickens. Fourth that would mean jeopardizing water quality because of more soil loss from cultivated fields and open lots. Fifth of all, more corn would mean more fertilizer, which is petroleum, based. Sixth of all this would raise the cost of fertilizer, corn, and eggs. This last point cannot be stressed enough. Eggs are a wonderful source of nutrients including protein and iron. Eggs are a very low cost food source and their importance in feeding low-income people cannot be overstated. There are many other negatives to this picture including the increased ease of transferring disease – example bird flu.
The HSUS places their emphasis on ballot initiatives and lobbying. And they are good at it, spending millions of dollars doing their job. Many people are sucked into giving them money thinking that they are helping abandoned cats and dogs. Oh yes, the HSUS throws a pittance to those causes, just so they are not bald-faced liars. But the Meat Trade News Daily points out that the IRS new rules in the filing of the Form 990 have exposed the HSUS for what they really are. They are out to promote their cause and most of their dollars go to lobbying, advertising, and to administrators like Wayne Pacelle who got a salary of $250,000 in 2008. Chad Gregory of the United Egg Producers stated that the HSUS is so powerful that 12 Congressmen did not get re-elected because of the organization’s influence. The organization has a yearly revenue source of $131,000,000. They love conflict and have 112 attorney's working for them. One hundred of them are pro bono.
In 2007 the United States became a net importer of food for the first time in history. Is this what we really want? Do we want to be dependent on foreign countries to feed our people? I think not. Now is the time to establish a national Food Policy to assure that we will not regulate agriculture out of business and ourselves into being poorly fed by substandard products from other countries. end


At Sunday, January 17, 2010 7:22:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I appreciate your concern, but it seems you may want to seek more facts that merely those presented by the egg industry's trade group, which itself has a serious record of consumer fraud (including paying a $100,000 fine to 17 state attorneys general for misleading consumers about animal welfare).

First and foremost, the policies sought by the Humane Society of the US and virtually every other major animal welfare charity in the country have not only been enacted in numerous other countries, but they don't do what you're saying they do. (For example, they don't even require outdoor access for animals. They simply state that animals should be able to turn around and extend their limbs. Hard to be more modest.)

Second, the HSUS spends less than 5% of its budget on lobbying. How you can paint it as if it's the lion's share of the group's work is unclear.

We're all entitled to our own opinions, but not to our own facts. The United Egg Producers is not a reliable source of info to base this post on.

At Monday, January 18, 2010 7:02:00 AM, Blogger Judy D. Hanson said...

I am being generous because I usually do not allow comments to be posted that do not include a name.
The information I presented on lobbying comes from The Meat Trade News Daily, Jan. 17, 2010. Their information on lobbying comes from the HSUS Form 990 for 2008.

At Saturday, January 23, 2010 9:44:00 AM, Anonymous Holly Webster said...

I'm not sure where anonymous got his or her facts, but the following article sure paints a completely different picture. How cowardly not leave a name or links to back up their position.


At Sunday, February 21, 2010 6:39:00 PM, Anonymous Warren J said...

You wrote: "The HSUS goals are eliminate caged layers and also crates for sows." Apparently you do not believe animals, even food animals, should be treated at least somewhat humanely. That is all the HSUS is asking for.


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