Nebraska rancher welcomes HSUS to state

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.

 AUDIO: Kevin Fulton (9 min MP3)

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  • Paranoia? Why is it that in over a year there’s not one recipe for grass fed or “humanely raised” pork, beef, chicken, anything? It’s vegetarian/vegan recipes. This was asked and dodged of Wayne Pacelle himself when he was on agritalk and has been brought up multiple times since then – nothing has changed in over a year. That doesn’t sound like a ringing endorsement of “humane meats”.

    What about the meetings for humane treatment of animals closed to those in ag? And when a student attended one he found outright lies presented about the rep saying she was from that area when in fact that wasn’t the case at all.

    What about siding with insulting, namecalling mean spirited people who represent themselves as “humane” but don’t accept anyone who disagrees with them? Most reasonable people hear and see a string of namecalling and nasty comments think that the critics are misinformed and not even informed enough to handle a discussion without attacking/insulting. Including Mr. Fulton – easy enough to see on Facebook.

  • So refreshing to see someone not sold on the rehtoric from the farm bureau and other anti-hsus agencies. Thanks for having the courage to speak out for what is right!!!

  • Thanks so much to Kevin Fulton for his courage in embracing animal welfare and standing up to the false rhetoric of big agriculture. Kevin is exactly right that it’s the farmers in charge of over 1 billion who should be blazing the trail for better treatment of animals. Sadly, they are having to be dragged kicking and screaming by the HSUS and the majority of consumers who support them. Most people do not think it is okay to intensively confine calves, sows and hens in cages so small they can’t turn around. Instead of embracing these common sense reforms, big ag chooses to smear the messenger by spreading false rumors about the HSUS. No, the HSUS is not out to take away your pets and turn you into a vegan. They are just doing the job that agriculture should do, which is to look out for the welfare of the animals. Thank goodness for the farmers like Kevin Fulton who see beyond the rhetoric and do the right thing. People like this will save the industry from itself.

  • This man is clearly trying to capitilize on the guilt that some meat loving consumers feel about the products they have been purchasing. This guilt didn’t develop because the visited a feedlot or hog finishing site. It developed because of money hungry orgnaizations spewing anti-ag propoganda and the media focusing only on the tiny number of bad actors in agriculture. Fulton is throwing all livestock producers under the bus to make a buck for himself. Disgusting.

  • I only wish more people like Mr. Fulton would have the courage to speak up. My family raises cattle and cares deeply about their humane treatment. If the ag industry would clean itself up, there would be no need for groups like HSUS to get involved. Bravo to those who care as much about the welfare of the animals who support them as they do about the bottom line.

  • It is so nice to see an article like this, where a farmer who cares about his animals is getting some much deserved attention. Most people would be horrified if they saw what took place on many large scale farms, pigs in crates, calves unable to move to keep their meat tender, it’s a complete shame how many farm animals are treated. I’m so thankful for the HSUS for trying to get some legisaltion passed giving animals a little more comfort before giving the ultimate for us, their lives. We owe them a comfortable life, and I’ll happily pay extra for that. Thank you farmers who make animal welfare issues a priority, not just profits.

  • Jan has brought up some excellent points. If HSUS is not opposed to eating meat, why aren’t there meat-oriented recipes on their website? Why does all their literature encourage you to “go vegan”? Even their supposedly moderate stance of “reduce, refine, replace” encourages the consumer to replace meat in their diet. Here are some questions I would pose (and hopefully get some comments on, as well). I will offer my own comments, too.
    1. Are all farmers and ranchers who are opposed to HSUS animal abusers? Absolutely not. My clients are sound proff of that.
    2. Can HSUS be trusted? In my opinion, no. Claiming to be caring for Michael Vick’s dogs when they weren’t, collecting $35 million for re-uniting Katrina victims with their pets (and only spending $7 million to that effect), airing commercials composed of heart-wrenching photos of animals in pounds when less than half of a percent of their money goes to humane shelters, the fact that most humane shelters do not support HSUS because they feel HSUS is getting donations that are supposed to go to the actual humane shelter, their ballot initiatives are purposefully worded vaguely so it allows for a tremendously wide berth for attorneys’ interpretation… I could go on, but this does not sound like a trustworthy organization to me.
    3. Are there means other than HSUS that are better suited for determining what constitutes humane care of livestock? I think so. Pacelle, Shapiro and Goodwin, for example, are all vegans. Paul Shapiro has stated, “Eating meat causes animal cruelty,” when he worked for Compassion Over Killing. I would assume that even Mr. Fulton would disagree with Shapiro on that. But the approach to humane care by these individuals has to be affected by their vegan/anti-meat beliefs. The people who work with livestock everyday are much better suited to determine what constitutes humane care, instead of an organization whose leadership refuses to eat meat and considers meat consumption wrong.

  • This is absolutely ridiculous… HSUS is a radical animal rights organization that wants to end any human use of animals, including food, entertainment, and laboratory testing. They display innocent tacticts, trying to pass them off as improving animal welfare, when in reality they are trying to destroy animal agriculture. They take any opportunity they have to climb into bed with people in animal agriculture and slowly make changes, people like Kevin Fulton. They are even trying to break through to Farm Bureau and create anti-agriculture policies to slowly change, and eventually destroy, the industry. If only Kevin Fulton knew that this organization he is supporting wants to support him by shutting down his operation.

  • HSUS has an agenda of forcing EVERYONE to become vegan (read their literature, comments above about recipes, and the fact that they permit NO animal products to be consumed at the HSUS workplace)…however, they know that they cannot do so overnight. Thus, they plan on attacking the large farms first, indoctrinating people unfamiliar with animal behavior with deceptive descriptions of modern husbandry methods-making an easy target to attack. In doing this, they attempt to FALSELY pretend to allie themselves with small farms-misleading people into thinking they truely care for small farms. The overwhelming majority of us small farmers can see through their smokescreen-however, some-Kevin Fulton for example-cannot do so, and tragically believe the lies of HSUS, and cannot see they are being “used” by an organization that WILL eventually turn on them if they manage to destroy the large farms.

    One more thought-this Kevin Fulton is making bizarre, false statements-resorting to name-calling and outright lies about anyone who doesnt agree with him. While I embrace my fellow farmers/ranchers, I refuse to consider him a “kindred spirit” or colleague of any sort-infact, I want NOTHING to do with him nor his new-found “friends”. HSUS IS an enemy of agriculture, and does NOT care about ANY farm-large OR small…Kevin Fulton may be brainwashed, but we can see the truth.

  • If HSUS cares so much why do they contribute so little of their funds to local Humane Societies in the country to care for those animals they pretend to care about. Instead, look at their actual tax records and see their huge paychecks for those at the top that are a matter of record, and I know that for a fact……..

  • Stacey and all of the others who say HSUS is an animal loving group that support people who “raise meat humanely”.. mosey on over to the site and see what they propose for Thanksgiving..
    a MEATLESS holiday.. salad with Bacon ( flavored) tofu and a tofu pumpkin pie…. no meat.. no eggs.. no dairy..eating that way would sure cut down on your “family farm” Stacey..when Wayne and Kevin sit down to a steak dinner from his “humanely raised but no certified organic” beef .. then I will start to believe the HSUS..
    when they put pictures of serene pasture raised cattle and dairy cows on their site I will start to believe them..
    when they open a full service ranch and farm to show the world how to raise AND slaughter animals “humanely” then I will start to believe them. but by that time pigs will fly..

  • It is a fact that 99% of all agriculture professionals treat their animals humanely. These radical organizations and followers are basing their policies on the few that slip through the cracks and make a bad name for the rest of us who are doing it right.

  • Just curious… When you folks say you believe in “humane” slaughter — What exactly do you mean?

    “Humane” means to be concerned with the alleviation of suffering. Your animals are healthy and otherwise fit for life. They are not in aging pain or ill. Sooo – What “suffering” are you all “alleviating” in order to be “humane”?

    I’m very puzzled by this term… Can any of you help me out? Thanks! 🙂

  • Bea,
    Strangely enough, I cannot find a definition of “humane” such as you describe. Perhaps you are modifying the definition to suit your agenda?:) Here is a definition of humane I found on the web: “characterized by tenderness, compassion, and sympathy for people and animals, esp. for the suffering or distressed.” So, according to this definition, it is not solely for the suffering and distressed. But, since your defintion uses the word “alleviation”, that definition is important, as well: “to make easier to endure; lessen; mitigate”. So, humane slaughter would make the process easier to endure, such as killing the animal as quickly and painlessly as possible – which would certainly be my goal.

  • It’s foolish to continue the manufactured animosity between agriculture and the HSUS, because as this meeting demonstrated, HSUS does support farmers and ranchers like Mr. Fulton–and he supports the organization in return.

    And as a consumer I support both: I plan on adding Mr. Fulton’s beef to my shopping list since I only buy Humane Certified beef. And I like people who stand by their principles.

    Times are changing, and farmers and ranchers need to take a good, hard look at where the trends are and where they’re going. You can learn from Mr. Fulton.

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