Dealing with the Humane Society of the U.S. (HSUS) from a beef industry standpoint is a lot like politicians dealing with the issue of entitlements. We know that HSUS’s ultimate goal is the destruction of our industry. We also know that unless entitlement reform is addressed, the spending will bankrupt our country. Still, nobody seems to want to tackle these issues head on.
HSUS has a carefully constructed public image that has little to do with its policy aims. Meanwhile, in the case of entitlement reform, any solutions to making such programs sustainable are hugely unpopular from a political standpoint; thus, very few politicians have been seriously willing to address the issue.
Nor is there a state cattlemen’s group out there that wants to take on HSUS directly; HSUS is too powerful, has too many lawyers, too many members, too much money, and too much clout in the minds of consumers. HSUS is aware of that and employs a divide-and-conquer strategy. HSUS knows it can't end livestock production in one fell swoop, but it's content to chip away over decades, taking a piece at a time, until a viable industry no longer exists.
Industry Hot Topic: Addressing The Emotion Of Animal Welfare
Tackling the federal debt and saving entitlement programs means slowing the growth of these programs, which entails the courage to draw a line in the sand and bring spending growth in line with the overall growth of the economy. Up to this point, however, any individual or small group of politicians who have advanced the idea has found themselves in a political firestorm.
Like runaway entitlements, which threaten the overall economy and will bankrupt this nation if left unchecked, an unaddressed HSUS will eventually achieve its professed goal of ending livestock production.
The only hope is for true leaders to step forward, and the majority of voters and/or producers having the fortitude to bear the sacrifice to support them, for the long-run greater good. From an industry standpoint, modern agriculture, science and technology have to be defended if we are to remain competitive.
Both of these issues have to be addressed immediately; otherwise, we’ll just find ourselves past the point of return and sitting in the front row watching our own demise.