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April 26, 2012

New Agricultural Council Brings Colorado Farmers, Ranchers and Animal Welfare Advocates to the Table to Discuss Common Goals

Council Offers Long-Term Benefits for Animals, Ranchers and Consumers

To advance more humane practices on farms and ranches and to promote food producers who share that goal, The Humane Society of the United States announced the formation of an advisory body, the Colorado Agriculture Council of The Humane Society of the United States.

The council will work to pursue market opportunities for farmers and ranchers whose agricultural practices adhere to animal welfare standards, as well as facilitate a dialogue with individual farmers, ranchers and the organizations that represent them. The agriculture council will also act as a sounding board on agriculture policy for Holly Tarry, Colorado state director of The HSUS.

Tarry made the announcement at a meeting of the Colorado Legislative Animal Welfare Caucus chaired by Representative Beth McCann, D-HD8. She was joined by Tom Parks, DVM, a Colorado cattleman; and Joe Maxwell, director of rural affairs for The HSUS and a fourth-generation hog farmer.

“As a Colorado cattle rancher, I believe family farmers and ranchers have much common ground with The HSUS when it comes to the treatment of farm animals,” said Dr. Parks, who will chair the new council. “It’s a positive step to work together to address the future of animal agriculture and find solutions to animal welfare challenges.”

“The Humane Society of the United States is honored to be working with this council to improve farm animal welfare and pursue market opportunity for more humane, sustainable Colorado producers,” said Tarry. “We are pleased to have many family farmers as our allies, and to work with advisors who are directly involved in agriculture.”

The HSUS has more than 182,000 supporters in Colorado. In 2008, Colorado became a national leader in farm animal welfare reform when the legislature passed a measure to phase out the use of intensive confinement in pork and veal production. Legislators passed a bill that prohibits the use of gestation crates for breeding sows and veal crates for the male offspring of dairy cows. The measure requires that animals have enough room to stand up, lie down, turn around and extend their limbs. Additionally, the Colorado Egg Producers Association is supporting federal legislation in Congress, H.R. 3798, backed by The HSUS and the United Egg Producers, to improve the treatment of egg-laying hens and provide a stable and secure future for egg farmers.

The organizing members of the Agriculture Council of The Humane Society of the United States include Tom Parks, DVM; Mike Callicrate, livestock producer and owner of Ranch Foods Direct retail center in Colorado Springs; Matt Kautz, a Colorado poultry and egg producer; Carrie Balkcom, director of American Grassfed Association; and Brad Buchanan, a Colorado cattleman. For more information, visit humanesociety.org/agcouncils.

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

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