Neb. Farmers Union launches ‘humanely-raised’ marketing project

The Nebraska Farmers Union has launched a new marketing program for so-called “humanely-raised” livestock and poultry products.

The program is called Farm to Fitness.  Farmers Union spokesman Graham Christensen says the program will use health and fitness centers as drop points for cooperatively-purchased food orders.

“Many gyms and friends I have that work in gyms have wanted to find ways to bring better nutrition to their clientele,” Christensen says, “and when talking further about that and talking about some of the projects we’ve worked on—creating new markets for farmers and ranchers—this seemed like just low-hanging fruit…something that would be easy to do—something that would be a great connection.”

The program is the first initiative under Farmers Union’s agreement with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) to help identify, expand and promote new markets for humanely-raised livestock products in Nebraska.  Christensen hopes it’s the first of many such projects.

“We do have other things in the works, but this seemed like a really good one to start off with, as there’s definitely a customer awareness on where their food comes from,” he says. “A lot of folks in the urban areas, they want to know who their farmer is and how their product was raised.”

In 2011 the Nebraska Farmers Union and HSUS announced the formation of the Nebraska Agriculture Council, with its main goal being to create new market opportunities for farmers and ranchers who want to market “humanely-raised” meat and poultry products.  HSUS said that, as part of the agreement, it would not pursue an animal welfare ballot initiative in the state.

“This new program is clear evidence that the HSUS collaboration with the Nebraska Farmers Union is delivering results that are good for animals, good for farmers and good for consumers,” says Joe Maxwell, director of rural development and outreach for HSUS.

AUDIO: Graham Christensen (5:27 MP3)

  • Working with HSUS only delays their attack ask any group that has worked with them in the past.
    Their goal is to end all use of animals for food, companionship or medical research. 12 Things You Didn’t Know About The HSUS

    1. The Humane Society of the United States scams Americans out of millions of dollars through manipulative and deceptive advertising. An analysis of HSUS’s TV fundraising appeals that ran between January 2009 and September 2011 determined that more than 85 percent of the animals shown were cats and dogs. However, HSUS doesn’t run a single pet shelter and only gives 1 percent of the money it raises to pet shelters, and it has spent millions on anti-farming and anti-hunting political campaigns.

    2. HSUS receives poor charity-evaluation marks. CharityWatch (formerly the American Institute of Philanthropy) reissued HSUS’s “D” rating in December 2011, finding that HSUS spends as little as 49 percent of its budget on its programs. Additionally, the 2011 Animal People News Watchdog Report discovered that HSUS spends about 43 percent of its budget on overhead costs.

    3. Six Members of Congress have called for a federal investigation of HSUS. In April 2011, six Congressmen wrote the IRS Inspector General showing concerns over HSUS’s attempts to influence public policy, which they believe has “brought into question [HSUS’s] tax-exempt 501(c)(3) status.”  [Ed: Link to Legislators that Get It:

    4. HSUS regularly contributes more to its own pension plan than it does to pet shelters. An analysis of HSUS’s tax returns determined that HSUS funneled $16.3 million to its executive pension plan between 1998 and 2009—over $1 million more than HSUS gave to pet shelters during that period.

    5. The pet sheltering community believes HSUS misleads Americans. According to a nationally representative poll of 400 animal shelters, rescues, and animal control agencies, 71 percent agree that “HSUS misleads people into thinking it is associated with local animal shelters.” Additionally, 79 percent agree that HSUS is “a good source of confusion for a lot of our donors.”

    6. While it raises money with pictures of cats and dogs, HSUS has an anti-meat vegan agenda. Speaking to an animal rights conference in 2006, HSUS’s then vice president for farm animal issues stated that HSUS’s goal is to “get rid of the entire [animal agriculture] industry” and that “we don’t want any of these animals to be raised and killed.”

    7. Given the massive size of its budget, HSUS does relatively little hands-on care for animals. While HSUS claims it provides direct care to more animals than any other animal protection group in the US [Ed, not in their own facilities – there are none), most of the “care” HSUS provides is in the form of spay-neuter assistance.  In fact, local groups that operate on considerably slimmer budgets, such as the Houston SPCA, provide direct care to just as many or more animals than HSUS does.

    8. HSUS’s CEO has said that convicted dogfighting kingpin Michael Vick “would do a good job as a pet owner.” Following Vick’s release from prison, HSUS has helped “rehabilitate” Michael Vick’s public image. Of course, a $50,000 “grant” from the Philadelphia Eagles didn’t hurt.

    9. HSUS’s senior management includes a former spokesman for the Animal Liberation Front (ALF), a criminal group designated as “terrorists” by the FBI. HSUS president Wayne Pacelle hired John “J.P.” Goodwin in 1997, the same year Goodwin described himself as “spokesperson for the ALF” while he fielded media calls in the wake of an ALF arson attack at a California meat processing plant. In 1997, when asked by reporters for a reaction to an ALF arson fire at a farmer’s feed co-op in Utah (which nearly killed a family sleeping on the premises), Goodwin replied, “We’re ecstatic.”

    10.  Americans are now requesting the FTC to investigate the misleading advertising of the HSUS.  Heart-wrenching and misleading ad campaigns imply to the public that this is a true “humane society” that houses strays and unwanted or abused pets, and needs “your” $19/mo to do so.  FACTS: Contrary to public, celebrity and legislator opinion, the HSUS is NOT a humane society.  They do not own or operate ONE pet shelter in the entire country; despite their misleading name, they are not a government arm that systematically trickles donations down to the local shelters that to all the actual work.  If they shelter NO PETS, how can they be considered the “experts” on pet care practices?  Their vegan agenda, now unspoken because it wasn’t bringing in donations, is for the eventual extinction of both domestic animals, and all animal use, via legislation.

    11.  At the request of over 6,000 grassroots voting letter-writers, representing all 50 States, the IRS is currently investigating the HSUS as to its under-reporting and over-lobbying activity as a 501©(3) organization.  Millions in back-taxes and penalties could be assessed if the IRS would conclude this 3-year old investigation.

    12. Congressmen are now urging the Justice Department to investigate HSUS non-compliance with the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995, as anyone that attempts to influence legislation via continued contact with Congress and/or staffers is required to register as a lobbyist.  HSUS has never done this.

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