HSUS official denies egg videos were staged
A top official of the Humane Society of the United States denies that video footage shot in Iowa egg barns may have been staged.
This after a recent third-party audit of one of the companies allegedly shown in the video—Rose Acre Farms—uncovered very few of the problems depicted in the video.
Paul Shapiro directs the factory farms campaign for HSUS. “This is really nonsense, in terms of these claims that somehow—some reason—these workers at these factory farms would be doing anything differently than they’re normally doing,” Shapiro says. “There’s no evidence of it and it’s just a way to try to deflect attention from the reality of what’s going on.”
Shapiro dismisses the results of the third-party audit of Rose Acres Farms. He points to the now infamous case involving video shot at the Hallmark/Westland meat plant in California that led to the nation’s largest meat recall ever in 2008. “They had passed their third-party audits with flying colors, as well,” Shapiro says. “Several third-party audits had found them to be at the highest level possible. They had even been awarded by USDA as supplier of the year because they supplied so much meat to the federal school lunch program.”
While HSUS claims that it only wants to eliminate animal cruelty, many in the agriculture industry are convinced that HSUS’ true mission is to abolish animal agriculture altogether.
Shapiro—an outspoken promoter of vegetarianism and veganism—has in the past made statements such as “Eating meat causes animal cruelty.” In light of that, we asked Shapiro if he understands why farmers and ranchers are suspicious of HSUS’ true motives.
“That certainly is my position that many farm animals are treated cruelly,” he says, “and, yeah, I agree with you that—I think some people in the industry may be uncomfortable with that.”
But Shapiro again denies wanting to eliminate the livestock and poultry industries. “We don’t have any type of orthodoxy on this type of issue. We support anything that anyone wants to do—no matter where on that spectrum they may be—that will help animals.”
Rather than attacking HSUS, Shapiro says, the animal ag industry needs to focus its efforts on finding and converting to more humane systems of production.