4 April 2010 - The Threat is Real

In my opinion, the greatest threat to American agriculture is the Humane Society of the United States and the other animal rights activist groups who think animals should have the same legal rights as humans. If the HSUS is successful through referenda in achieving their goal of ending animal agriculture in this country, then it’s good-bye to corn, soybean and hay farmers because your market is gone.

You have heard me say the above statement many times over the past year and your reaction has been interesting. Many of you have applauded and expressed your concern over the threat from the HSUS, PETA and other organizations. Others have condemned me for my stand and said "You must really hate animals if you are willing to let them be mistreated by farmers and ranchers", and then a surprising e-mail from a rancher who said "Animal rights people are not going to put me out of business. I don't think they have the power to do it”.

Well, I think they can and I’m not alone. I visited with family rancher Andy Groseta at his W-Dart Ranch in Cottonwood, AZ a few days ago and asked Andy about the threat of animal agriculture activists to the industry. This was his response.

"When I served as NCBA President in 2008 I told my fellow cattlemen that the number one threat to animal agriculture and the number one threat to the cattle business in this country are the animal rights activists. They are for real. They are strategic, they are smart, they are well-financed, and they want to put us out of business. We have a lot of issues, major issues, in our industry, but this particular issue will put us literally out of business. As I travel around the country, I've told people not only in the cattle business, but in the farming business, those of us in agriculture, there's less than 2% of the population involved in agriculture now and we need to stand together, be united and speak with one voice."

If you are involved in animal agriculture, I hope that puts an end to your doubt that the threat is real. They have millions of dollars available to carry out their campaigns and they know how to tell their story; based on emotion, not science. Agriculture and all of us who speak on behalf of the agricultural industry must constantly do a better job of telling our story. Remember the bottom-line message….No Farms, No Food!

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