Montana Farm Bureau Federation Regional Manager Nicole Rolf recently participated in the Animal Agriculture Alliance Stakeholders Summit April 28-29 in Arlington, VA. The information-packed conference covered the threat of misinformation from the animal rights movement, and what farmers and ranchers can do to get the truth told.
David Martosko, Center for Consumer Freedom, reported the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) spent less than one half of one percent of the 2008 budget giving grants to local humane societies/animal shelters. He talked about their true agenda, which is stopping animal agriculture entirely.
“Many of the speakers reiterated the fact that animal rights are not the same as animal welfare. Unfortunately, some animal activist groups are trying to blur the line,” noted Rolf. “Animal welfare is when people properly care for their animals and treat them with respect, but still intend to consume the animals or products produced by the animals. The animal rights people believe enjoying a steak or pork chop is wrong, we should never milk cows, and we should never use a laboratory rat to test out any drug that may save millions of human lives.”
“Extreme animal rights groups have made it their mission to first use the concept of humane treatment to hobble animal ag and in the long run, drive us out of business. This would change the landscape of American life and culture,” Rolf explains. “The real extremists say no human should be allowed to do what farmers and ranchers do—raise animals for any type of human use.”
Another speaker, Wesley Smith, author and senior fellow in Human Rights and Bioethics at the Discovery Institute, noted that an attack on one segment is an attack on all of us. “All animal agricultural producers need to be in this together, whether you’re a dairy producer, cattle rancher, poultry farmer, and so forth,” Rolf noted. “We need to get the message out there that modern society can’t operate without the use of animals in some aspect of life. Even if you’re a vegan, you’re still using animal byproducts as you go through your daily life.”
Representative David Scott (D- GA), chair of U.S. House of Representatives Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy and Poultry, talked about what’s going on in Congress. “Food safety is huge right now, and there are several bills in Congress giving the FDA more authority to recall food and close down plants if there’s a food safety issue,” Rolf explained. “There is anti-antibiotic use legislation moving forward, as well. Representative Scott said this nation is operating on a lot of misinformation and we need to get the right information out there to consumers.”
“It was almost overwhelming how much information was brought to us at this conference, and how much we need to be concerned. The time for action is now,” concluded Rolf.
Posted by Kaci Switzer