Cyndi's Two Cents

HSUS bit off more than it could chew


I believe the animal rights activist group HSUS bit off more than it was ready to chew when it pointed an accusatory finger at Rose Acre Farms earlier this month.

Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) held a news conference in Des Moines on April 7 to disclose the results of its latest “investigation” which in its words, “exposed rampant abuse at the top levels of the egg industry in America.” HSUS showed undercover video which it says was shot inside the barns of two Iowa egg producers, Rose Acre Farms and Rembrandt Enterprises. HSUS says they are the nation’s second- and third-largest egg producers.

HSUS CEO and President Wayne Pacelle told media the videos showed, what he called, “appalling abuses” of laying hens, including injuries from overcrowding, broken bones from rough handling by workers and high mortality rates.

“The treatment of these animals in these systems is unconscionable—it is inhumane—and it should not be acceptable for a society that says it values animal welfare,” Pacelle says, “and the agribusiness industry will claim it’s handling the situation just fine—and I defy them to make that argument in any rational and meaningful way after seeing the footage.”

Within hours of that news conference, Rose Acre Farms announced it would undergo a third party audit of its poultry operations in Iowa.

“Today, we’re actually doing an independent audit, with a third party, on all three of our Iowa locations, to get a confirmation from a third party that everything’s good,” said KY Hendrix, Vice President of production at Rose Acre Farms.

Hendrix said Rose Acre Farms stands behind its production practices.

“We care about our animals, we care about our environment, we care about the freedom of choice, we care about our people and we want to provide a good product that you can feel good about,” Hendrix said.

The employee that recorded the HSUS video only worked for Rose Acre Farms for 2 weeks. Hendrix says that as of now, no legal action against that individual is planned, even though the employee did sign the company’s “Animal Welfare” paper that says if anything was being done, like what was shown in the video, they were to bring it to the attention of a supervisor, which obviously did not happen.

I presented a workshop titled “Conveying your message” at the 2010 Women’s Ag Conference in Creston, Iowa just two days after (HSUS) held that press conference. I know many of you who read this column on a regular basis grow weary of my constant “Tell your story or let someone else tell it for you” mantra. When HSUS attempted to “expose” Rose Acre Farms, I believe it failed. Why? Rose Acre Farms has done a good job of identifying itself as a fifth generation family farm. Go to the website and you’ll see a slide show with pictures dating back many years. Rose Acre Farms was also quick to respond instead of cowering in a corner waiting for this nightmare to end. Almost immediately, they announced a third-party audit and came out with a statement to let the world know that they are good stewards.

Any “big” livestock farm – any species, anywhere – is a target of the anti-animal agriculture movement. Rose Acre Farms did not and has not backed down or buckled. As a matter of fact, there is a note to media on the company website, inviting media to visit the farms, provided the necessary bio-security precautions are taken to protect the health of their hens.

My hat is off to Rose Acre Farms for taking the high road. We all need to do the right thing every day on our farms.

  • Nothing takes the wind out of a bully’s sails like standing up for yourself. I expect that audit to reveal that the accusations and the “video” were at best, gross distortions, and if the results warrant, Rose Acres Farm should add their name to the list of parties suing HSUS. There’s a lot of good HSUS could be doing with the money they wheedle out of the public, but instead they fritter it away on lobbying for extreme, poorly thought out legislation, and pursuing sensationalized allegations of cruelty and abuse which frequently don’t stand up to scrutiny. Fighting them often is beyond the financial ability of the accused. It’s a disgrace.

  • Mz Cyndi, ya know when we were younger and wished we had a job just making stuff up?? It seems hsus, peta and other groups have found a way to make a living, and then some, at it.

  • Rose Acre carries UEP Certified status & will be investigated on that front too. I’m pretty sure they will be deemed to be meeting standards. Industry cannot guarantee every dead chicken (& chickens will die in any operation) will be removed in a timely manner. Although, some looked to have been there for awhile. If other UEPCertified operators want to rally behind Rose Acre as their standard, they are free to do so. Wouldn’t be my choice.

    Now can they lay off the sham of “legal action” against the HSUS guy via their
    animal welfare policy? They won’t bring HSUS into a court room this time.

  • http://WWW.HSUSSUCKS.COM Read page 9 under the Dept of Homeland Security Executive Report. Then ask your US Congressional representative why HSUS and Fund for Animals and PeTA are not only still in “business” but are exempt from paying taxes as a “charity”!?! WHERE IS THE Dept Of Justice in Indiana? Iowa? Ohio? California? How about the FBI? If this isn’t terrorism against animal enterprise what is? Why did Congress enact the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act only to NOT ENFORCE it? WHo is getting paid to look the other way?HSUS, along with Farm Sanctuary, Mercy for Animals and other non-profit and for-profit entities, have conspired to cause illegal restraint of free trade. This includes but is not limited to the regulation of production and sale of eggs. This violates the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, the California Agricultural Codes, and the Federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act: Title 18 Sec 1962. (HSUS uses people, groups, and corporations which conspire to meet and use threat, fear, intimidation and extortion to close a competitor or a commercial business down.)
    Under Title 18 CHAPTER 105 SABOTAGE, Section 2152 – Livestock are second in importance as war materials and defense materials only to guns and ammunition. The places where chickens are raised are defined by law as war premises and national defense premises. All those personnel on aircraft carriers eat eggs every morning, and animal proteins for lunch and dinner. Anyone who interferes with the raising of livestock is therefore guilty of sabotaging national defense materials. Anyone who restricts or prevents one American citizen from spending one dollar on one dog, cat, chicken, or pigeon is committing domestic terrorism, as no one has the power to regulate these Title 7 sec. 2 agricultural commodities except the U.S. Congress.
    Call your Congressional representatives and demand that our farmers be protected under laws that exist for that purpose.

  • I have not seen the video yet but what was the “spy’s” job at the faciltiy exactly? If he was there two weeks and not doing his “job” there would be issues with dead chickens in the cages along with other problems. You could really mess some stuff up if you are a bad employee in a well oiled system.

  • I formerly worked at Rose Acre Farms in Indiana as a USDA Grader in the 70’s, and then worked for Rose Acre Farms in the ’80s as a Marketing Rep. Dave Rust, founder of Rose Acre Farms, set a high standard for a top-quality operation. So when I heard about the HSUS tape, I watched it online. What a joke!

    As I recall, the video was taped in three operations (Rose Acre and two other companies) over 25 days and was 7 minutes long. It showed spent hens being pulled to go for processing, new layers being caged, and then what had to have been neglect on the part of the HSUS spy who was secretly taping. As Horseshoe put it, it was evidently a “bad employee in a well-oiled system.”

    Although the tape was only 7 minutes long, there was repetitive portions. With all of HSUS’s money and so little going to actual sheltering of abused animals, it would seem that they could do a better job on their propaganda!

  • People who defend factory farmers including Rose Acre Farms need to spend a few days at one of them and then they will change their tune. If not, then they don’t have a compassionate bone in their body. Those chickens suffer every single minute of their lives. Any abuse shown on a 7 minute tape couldn’t begin to show how disgusting the environment is for the hens. Their living conditions are horrific in the best of situations and I applaud the HSUS for their efforts and hope they continue it until factory farming of any animal is stopped.

Add Comment

Your email address will not be published.


Stay Up to Date

Subscribe for our newsletter today and receive relevant news straight to your inbox!