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March 12, 2012

The HSUS Responds to Gov. Heineman’s Threat Against Nebraska Members

Lifelong Nebraskan and Humane Society of the United States Nebraska state director Jocelyn Nickerson delivered a written appeal to Governor Dave Heineman to retract his threat against  all Nebraskan members of The HSUS after the governor stated in a reference to the organization during a speech to cattlemen last week, “We’re going to kick your [butt] and send you out of the state.”

Obsessed with The HSUS even though the organization is working with Nebraska farmers and has indicated it will not conduct a statewide ballot measure to ban gestation crates, Heineman has made a series of intemperate and incendiary statements against The HSUS and its more than 51,000 Nebraskan supporters. A native Nebraskan, Nickerson represents those tens of thousands of supporters in the state and their families who are also affected by the governor’s attempt to create a hostile environment for Nebraskans.

“These folks -- like my family -- are your neighbors and they are caring, compassionate people,” Nickerson said. “They're veterans, farmers, small business owners, firefighters and families with kids.  We buy and consume products every day that were produced by Nebraska ranchers and farmers. ”

Last July, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's rural poll showed that 69 percent of rural Nebraskans agree that animal welfare should include basic things such as adequate exercise, space and activities, as well as food, water and shelter. The HSUS agrees and works to promote market assistance to small farmers whose operations are in line with those values. In a separate poll conducted last year by Lake Research, 79 percent of Nebraskans said they agree that “farmers, consumers, animal welfare groups, and food safety experts all should have a seat at the table when it comes to discussing agricultural issues.”

“It is always a shame when politicians serve special interests and serve up over-the-top, polarizing rhetoric, and that’s what Governor Heineman continues to do with this inappropriate campaign against an organization that is working with farmers to balance animal welfare with economic concerns,” added Kevin Fulton, a Nebraska cattle rancher and member of The HSUS.

The Nebraska Farmers Union, one of the oldest farm organizations in the state, has joined with The HSUS to form the Nebraska Agriculture Council to help preserve family farms while promoting civil discourse on the future of animal agriculture. Council members provide advice and guidance to The HSUS, as well as assist other traditional family farmers who want to make the switch to more humane practices that the majority of Nebraska’s consumers favor, including a transition away from gestation crates for breeding sows.

 

Media contact: Anna West, 301-258-1518, awest@humanesociety.org

 

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