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Meet Farmer Turncoat

There’s always a turncoat. In the American Revolution, there was Benedict Arnold. In the battle of the EATS Act, it’s a small organic farmer in the Midwest.

The lobbying arm of the anti-meat Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) just released a TV ad featuring all sorts of deceptive bull from a small-scale Michigan farmer.

The ad is in opposition to the EATS Act. The EATS Act is a federal bill that would prevent states from trying to tell farmers in other states how to farm, and prevent states from banning the sale of lawfully raised farm products. The EATS Act is necessary because of California Proposition 12, which bans the sale of pork and eggs raised using standard, veterinarian-approved practices. This hurts both consumers and farmers by denying them food choices and a market. Prop 12 was a ballot measure financed by HSUS, which ultimately is against all animal farming.

It’s bizarre to see a farmer supporting laws that hurt other farmers and consumers, much less an animal liberation group that wants to end the consumption of farm-raised meat. So we were curious who exactly was in the ad–since the ad doesn’t say.

The guy in the ad is Patrick “Paddy” Madden. He’s a 40-year-old who runs a small, 60-acre organic operation near Clayton, Michigan called Mastodon Farm. He sells whole chickens for a whopping $25 a bird. According to state records, the farm was formed in 2018, and Madden’s social media says he is from Florida and studied wildlife ecology.

HSUS needed a “farmer” face for this ad to make it look like “farmers” are broadly opposed to the EATS Act. But to us, this guy seems closer to a backyard gardener than a farmer. A hobby farmer, perhaps.

The reality is there is no way to feed the United States on $25 chickens. Most people would simply be priced out of affordable, healthy protein. Whole chickens from modern farms cost about $8 at grocery stores near us.

Rudimentary organic farming simply cannot feed the country at affordable prices. Widespread organic farming would actually have negative environmental consequences because of various inefficiencies in production practices. (Read this article from MIT for more.)

It’s the same reason we use modern mills to produce steel products instead of relying on blacksmiths. Organic farming is quaint, but it’s not practical on a large scale.

Pricing people out of buying meat is precisely the strategy of anti-meat groups like HSUS. These animal liberation groups know they can’t ban meat outright, so they pass laws that make meat more expensive to produce and limit its sale. Wholesale pork belly prices are up 130% after Prop 12 went into effect last month.

And then once the “big” farms are gone, HSUS will come for the little organic operators like Madden. HSUS’s CEO is a vegan who used to work for PETA–the extremist group that compares farmers to Nazis.

We hope Paddy got a decent payout for starring in this ad. But given he’s a useful idiot, he probably did it for free.