Pacelle's ‘Blackmail’ Backfires

One of the odder consequences of HSUS CEO Wayne Pacelle’s “town hall” meeting show in Lincoln, Nebraska this weekend has been a new spirit of cooperation among the various Cornhusker State agriculture groups. Instead of squabbling among themselves, pork producers, egg farmers, cattlemen—heck, everyone suddenly seems unified against their common foe.

Nebraska Farm Bureau officer Mark McHargue (himself a pork producer) appeared on Monday’s “Agritalk” radio program, and his reaction to Pacelle’s road-show is instructive. Not just for how easy farmers find it to see through Pacelle’s humane-than-thou façade, but also how farmers are slowly getting the courage to stand up and say that they—not animal rights carpetbaggers from Washington, DC—know what’s best for the animals they take care of every day.

The audio below is a condensed version of McHargue’s interview. The whole show is available in a podcast on the Agritalk website. (His appearance begins at the 30:00 mark.) Quotable bits are after the jump. The interviewer is Agritalk producer John Herath.

  • “The practices that we’re using are actually more humane … I believe that on my farm, the animals that are in gestation stalls are treated better. They have less health issues, their life is longer … If an outside interest group like this comes in and asks us to do some things, I think we’d actually be taking a step back.”
  • “That’s the reason that they’re a 100-plus million-dollar organization. They work on sensationalism. They work in areas that people just have really no idea what happens [on the farm].”
  • “[Pacelle] was trying to convey the fact that they are not against animal agriculture—that would be his message that he put out there—and that he wants to work with farm groups. But when you look at their actions, it just seems like their actions do not demonstrate the message that he was trying to put out there.”
  • “It’s always kinda funny when people start talking about ‘working together’—typically, when you work together, there’s some give and take on both sides. But it seems like the way that HSUS—it almost seems more like blackmail, that if you don’t do this, this is what we’re going to do. And it just doesn’t seem like that’s a real productive way to ‘work together’ with people.”
  • “The very best thing that has happened out of Wayne Pacelle coming to Lincoln, Nebraska: It has opened a dialogue with the livestock interests in Nebraska.”