Anyone who knows the history of the Humane Society of the U.S. (HSUS) and its “undercover” documentaries knows that what one sees on the videos and the reality of the situation are not necessarily the same thing. It makes sense to be circumspect about any organization that not only misleads so many people in its fundraising efforts, but has professed its intention to end livestock agriculture.
Perhaps we’re too skeptical because we know that a love of animals is required to participate in this industry. And we know that even greed can’t explain such actions because well-cared-for animals are the most profitable.
Of course, the other side of the coin is that, if there is even some semblance of truth to even parts of these videos, the industry should be more than appalled and should do everything possible to make sure such actions never happen again. To serious livestock producers, such behavior, however, defies logic because there is no explanation, and such actions are so rare that they always seem implausible.
It’s like the mass murderer who lives next door, and all the neighbors say he seemed like such a nice guy. The bottom line, however, is that whether the picture is distorted or accurate, either way it’s a major black mark for the livestock industry in the eyes of the non-ag public.
The real disturbing part to me, however, continues to be those so-called “ag” groups that seemingly have aligned themselves with HSUS. In exchange for being sycophants for HSUS, they’ve been accorded positions on the group’s “ag councils,” and given HSUS money and clout on key political issues.
Of course, such arrangements aren’t anything novel in either politics or business; it’s common to form alliances with the devil, if who you are aligned against is seen as the bigger evil. And I get that these “ag” groups may not share the same ideological leanings as the larger more dominant organizations in agriculture. But I’d still like to believe that the industry is more important than ideological differences on how to deal with industry issues.