You’ve been granted free access to this subscribers only article.
Ranchers trump politicians, activists when it comes to animal husbandry
If history is any indicator, then we can be sure of one thing -- when the government gets too involved, the problem usually gets worse. Flip through pages of history and you’ll see examples of this time and time again.
Common sense tells us that we should learn from our mistakes, but unfortunately, that’s not always the case in Washington, D.C.
Case in point -- Sen. Dianne Feinstein from California and Rep. Kurt Schrader from Oregon recently introduced legislation that would federally dictate how eggs can be produced. S 3239 and HR 3798, the Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments of 2012, would codify an agreement between the United Egg Producers and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) calling for federally mandated production practices in the poultry business.
This is a slippery slope for all livestock producers, and a road better left untraveled.
Here’s why. America’s farmers and ranchers are experts when it comes to taking care of their animals. Government bureaucrats are not. Neither are sneaky executives at HSUS. Many of them have never spent significant time on a working cattle ranch.
Ranchers are experts on animal care because it’s our obligation. It’s the right thing to do and we know quality beef begins with quality care. This is why we work tirelessly to keep our livestock healthy, safe, and secure. We take this commitment so seriously that we personally invest millions of our own dollars into programs like the Beef Quality Assurance program and the Cattle Industry’s Guidelines for the Care and Handling of Cattle. These programs and guidelines are designed by true experts including ranchers, veterinarians, animal scientists, and animal care specialists with only the best interest of cattle in mind.
Let’s dig deeper and look at the lobbyist group behind this legislation -- HSUS. It’s no secret this group wants to eliminate all animal food production. A staffer at HSUS has gone so far as to state that his “goal is the abolition of all animal agriculture.”
HSUS can’t make consumers stop eating beef, but they can raise millions of dollars under false pretenses and turn around and use that money to buy votes in Congress that hamstring the livestock industry. They do this with the hope that it will eventually become too burdensome and expensive for family ranches to stay in operation.
The intention behind S 3239 and HR 3798 is not to better protect livestock. If it were, the government would heed the advice of the World Organization of Animal Health when it acknowledged that mandated animal production practices are not in the best interest of promoting true animal welfare. They would work alongside ranchers rather than weigh them down with costly and unnecessary regulations.
Passing this legislation as a stand-alone bill isn’t the only option HSUS is seeking. There has been talk about including this as an amendment to the 2012 Farm Bill, or other ag-related bills that come through the House or Senate. They will do whatever it takes to see this legislation become law.
Unfounded and irresponsible lawmaking like this could eventually disable ranchers like me from providing families, both at home and abroad, with a safe, abundant, and healthy food supply. We simply cannot afford for that to happen.
This is why it is so important for ranchers to band together through the TSCRA [Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association]. Together through a strong membership, we can help elect officials who understand and respect the beef industry and stop HSUS and other anti-agriculture groups from chipping away at the livestock industry one senseless regulation at a time.
Joe Parker Jr. is a third generation rancher from Clay County, Texas. He is president of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association.
Your Opinions and Comments
Be the first to comment on this story!
You must be logged in to post a comment.
Agriculture Today Archives
Customs intercepts pest new to the United States (May 25, 2016)
Does wounded tree have a chance? (May 25, 2016)
Livestock Market Reports (May 25, 2016)
Mother Nature whips Wilson County crops (May 25, 2016)
Scrapie confirmed in Texas (May 25, 2016)
TDA Market Recap (May 25, 2016)
Texas Hay Report (May 25, 2016)
Beef cattle seven-year decline ends (May 18, 2016)
Educational video for water well owners (May 18, 2016)
Free Beef Quality Assurance training set for May 25 (May 18, 2016)
Fretwell wins Region 8 high school all around rookie saddle (May 18, 2016)
Grant to restore, enhance the monarch butterfly habitat (May 18, 2016)
Grass-fed beef conference (May 18, 2016)
Gun safety and barbecue in New Braunfels (May 18, 2016)
La Vernia Poultry Judging wins state, advances to nationals (May 18, 2016)
Lawn, landscape, rainwater program May 21 in Floresville (May 18, 2016)
Lesser prairie chicken off the list (May 18, 2016)
Livestock Market Reports (May 18, 2016)
Luling Foundation Field Day (May 18, 2016)
Protecting your tomatoes (May 18, 2016)
TDA Market Recap (May 18, 2016)
Texas Hay Report (May 18, 2016)
As El Nińo fades, expect warmer, drier weather says Texas A&M expert (May 11, 2016)
Floresville team wins second at state (May 11, 2016)
Livestock Market Reports (May 11, 2016)
Llamas, load up! (May 11, 2016)
TDA Market Recap (May 11, 2016)
Texas Hay Report (May 11, 2016)
Transplanting mountain laurels (May 11, 2016)
2016 La Vernia Junior Livestock & Poultry Show (May 4, 2016)
Beef, forage symposium May 10 (May 4, 2016)
Cattle raisers’ crime watch (May 4, 2016)
Corn acreage increases in Texas (May 4, 2016)
Help controlling the weeds (May 4, 2016)
Krueger leads the way at La Vernia stock show (May 4, 2016)
Land Heritage nomination deadline nears (May 4, 2016)
Livestock Market Reports (May 4, 2016)
TDA Market Recap (May 4, 2016)
Texas Hay Report (May 4, 2016)
May 2016 Gardening Calendar (May 1, 2016)