Peace in Our Time? Not Likely.

Some big news came out of Nebraska today: HSUS announced that it is teaming up with the Nebraska Farmers Union, a self-identified “progressive” farming group, to form a Nebraska Agricultural Council. While one newspaper referred to the partnership as a “truce,” we just had to chuckle at the hypocrisy of it all.

Over at HSUS CEO Wayne Pacelle’s blog, just about every other entry seems to be Pacelle taking swipes at “animal use industries.” He’s really just creating straw men, conjuring up some mysterious and nefarious “they” at whom he can throw scurrilous attacks. Pacelle’s narrative, again and again, is that “they” just want profit, and exploit animals to this end.

So why we’d laugh at HSUS’s announcement? Because HSUS set up this council in part to help certain organic farmers and ranchers “pursue market opportunities.”

All this is rather moot, of course. A former HSUS Vice President is already on the record saying that HSUS’s ultimate goal is to “get rid of” livestock farms entirely. Despite pledging to help these organic farmers “pursue market opportunities,” HSUS isn’t going to start including so-called sustainable or organic meat or dairy products in its recipes.

It’s unfortunate to see a few farmers lining up to make some cutting remarks about other farmers. Farming should be a big tent. Any way you slice it, all they’re doing is giving the animal rights activists at HSUS some “cover” to take a stab at disparaging honest Nebraska farmers. That’s not very sharp.

We should also note that HSUS's partner organization is quite small, having just 5,200 members. By contrast, the Nebraska Farm Bureau (the mainstream group for Cornhusker farmers) has more than 10 times the membership of the Nebraska Farmers Union.

Nebraska farm groups did a good thing in getting out ahead of HSUS and recruiting Governor Heineman to tell Nebraskans that HSUS can’t be trusted. But it’s no time to ease up. HSUS could easily have left Nebraska and headed to a friendlier state. The fact that it’s opening a new shop in the Cornhusker State should be an indication that it’s still looking to push a ballot initiative in the coming years.