When the head of HSUS, Wayne Pacelle, speaks at an HSUS town hall meeting in Lincoln on Sunday, the man introducing him will be Litchfield, Nebraska rancher Kevin Fulton.
Fulton says he’s been a supporter of HSUS for about four years now—but he says his interest in improving the welfare of animals goes back much further than that.
“I’ve been studying it for probably 20 years now and have been advocating a lot of different things over the years, before I even heard of HSUS,” says Fulton, “so what I found is that we have some common ground and that I can have a much bigger impact by teaming up with HSUS and trying to reach some common goals.”
Fulton believes that everyone in agriculture should be an advocate for improving practices that will enhance the welfare of animals.
“Now I realize that the difference lies in what constitutes humane care and good animal welfare,” he says. “If you’re someone who thinks it’s all right to put animals in cages and crates where they can’t turn around, walk, extend their limbs—then you’re not going to agree with their agenda—there’s no doubt about that. But most reasonable people in this country don’t think that it’s okay to do that, and I’m one of those people.”
Fulton’s support of HSUS is not likely to win him any popularity contests amongst Nebraska livestock producers—but he says he’s not concerned with what other people think. “I’ve always done what I thought was right. I can tell you that a lot of the things that are said about HSUS are not true—so there’s a lot of paranoia out there.”
Fulton says the biggest myth about HSUS is that they are anti-meat and want to abolish animal agriculture.
“No, I can tell you for a fact that is not their ultimate goal,” he says. “I hear that all the time. I hear a lot of things that are beyond ridiculous—that I’ve seen first-hand, that I know first-hand, are not true.”
Fulton raises and markets grass-fed beef. He says he also has sheep, goats, pigs and poultry on his ranch in central Nebraska.