Farmers Blast "Extremist" Humane Society of the US - KHGI-TV/KWNB-TV/KHGI-CD-Grand Island, Kearney, Hastings

Farmers Blast "Extremist" Humane Society of the US

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By Steve White swhite@nebraska.tv

Farm groups team up to blast what they call an "extreme" animal rights agenda moving into
Nebraska.

With husker harvest days as their backdrop, folks like the cattlemen and corn growers come out against the Humane Society of the United States. 

Farmers say the name creates the confusion. They say the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) does very little for local shelters where you might adopt a dog. Instead, farmers claim the group is out to eliminate livestock production.

"We Support Agriculture" is a new campaign formed through discussions over the last year. Pork Producers President Dave Harrington of St. Paul says his belief is that HSUS wants to put him out of business.

He said, "In reality what they want to do is eliminate animal agriculture. Their goal is to take meat production out of the system. Right or wrong it's very important to most people in America."

The head of HSUS says no one does more hands on work than they do.

This spring, their CEO told NTV that ag groups are leading a smear campaign.

But farm groups say they're only spending a fraction of what the Humane Society of the United States is.

Pete McClymont of the Nebraska Cattlemen said, "We may not be able to compete with the dollars but we compete with Nebraskans. Nebraskans are resourceful people so as long as you give them the truth, Nebraskans will make the right decision."

This new coalition includes the cattlemen, corn and soybean growers, and plus poultry and dairy producers.

The governor and 36 state senators have signed on. But it was the Hastings Chamber of Commerce who first took a stand on this controversial issue. Several other business groups have followed, along with Farm Bureau.

"To have a local Chamber of Commerce come out against animal welfare makes no sense. It's an embarrassment," Humane Society of the United States CEO Wayne Pacelle told NTV in April.

Pacelle said there's one reason these groups are coming after the HSUS.

"Because we have been successful in affecting policy to stop extreme confinement of animals,
there's been national smear effort funded by agri-business groups," he previously told NTV.

The HSUS has said efforts like this in Nebraska are misguided. The group claims 50,000 supporters in the state. They also say the governor has led the way in demonizing their group.

We Support Agriculture launched a web site at www.wesupportag.org.

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