If you’re in Fort Collins on Jan. 30, I hope you’ll swing by the Colorado State University campus to listen in on the Humane Society of the U.S.  (HSUS) CEO Wayne Pacelle’s lecture. Sponsored by CSU’s Department of Philosophy and organized by animal ethics expert and CSU Distinguished Professor Bernard Rollin, Pacelle’s lecture is being promoted as an open discussion about welfare in animal agriculture.
While HSUS will certainly provide its side of the story, I’m worried that ranchers will be left out of the discussion. After all, HSUS has painted the 98% of American ranching operations that are family owned and operated as “factory farms.” Meanwhile, HSUS's lobbying efforts continue to escalate, with its previous successes pushing more food producers out of business via ballot initiatives passed in a handful of states.
Remember that HSUS , which has a $130-million annual budget, fundraises unabashedly about protecting companion animals, but spends less than one-half of 1% of this treasure chest to support animal shelters. Instead, those millions are plowed back into more fundraising, pensions and attorneys. And the number-one HSUS target continues to be America’s farmers and ranchers.
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Of course, I don’t expect universities to close their doors to speakers, but I’m surprised that a university like CSU, which boasts one of the nation's top agricultural curriculums, would welcome to campus an organization so openly hostile to the folks in the animal science department.
Although it will clearly be a one-sided discussion, the opportunity for farmers and ranchers to share their side of the story will be during the comments period following Pacelle’s lecture. So, if you’re in the area, I hope you can swing by; and then let me know how it goes. The event starts at 7 p.m. in the Lory Student Center Theatre. Doors open at 6 p.m. Parking is free in the adjoining parking lots.