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June 27, 2013

Nebraska Forum Promotes Humane, Sustainable Agriculture

Farmers, The HSUS Unite in Support of Improved Farm Animal Stewardship

At an open agricultural forum, the president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States affirmed his continued support for traditional farmers and ranchers whose practices reflect responsible stewardship of the land and animals. The event was hosted by the Nebraska Agriculture Council of The Humane Society of the United States.

Pacelle, accompanied by farmers and ranchers, will tour a certified organic dairy near Raymond, Neb. on Friday.

The events are part of a larger effort in Nebraska to promote humane, sustainable agriculture and raise awareness about alternatives to factory farming. “We are here to celebrate forward-thinking farmers who make animal welfare a priority and appeal to the increasing share of consumers concerned about the values of humane treatment and sustainability,” said Pacelle. “This collaboration holds great potential to create longer-term improvements for all stakeholders.”

Participants gathered at the Cornhusker Hotel in Lincoln on Thursday for The HSUS Nebraska Agriculture Council’s forum on ways to support local farmers and new programs designed to support higher animal welfare standards.

Forum speakers included Pacelle; John Hansen, president of the Nebraska Farmers Union; Kevin Fulton, a Nebraska cattleman and chair of the Nebraska Agriculture Council; and Ben Gotschall, energy director of Bold Nebraska.

On Friday, Pacelle will receive a tour of certified organic dairy Branched Oak Farm from owner Doug Dittman, member of the Nebraska Agriculture Council.

In addition to supporting humane sustainable agriculture, The HSUS continues to push to eliminate four extreme industrialized agriculture practices: gestation crates for breeding pigs, barren battery cages for egg laying hens, veal crates and the needless tail docking of dairy cows. Within the last 16 months, more than 50 major American food retailers, and the largest eight supermarkets in Canada, have committed to phasing out their purchase of pork from operations that confine breeding sows.

“It’s past time for the majority of Nebraska pig producers to enter into the discussion about a careful and non-disruptive transition away from crates and toward group housing systems,” added Pacelle. “Consumers and food retailers have already made their decision, and now we all need to figure out a way forward that results in good outcomes for all stakeholders.”

Facts

  • The Nebraska Agriculture Council of The HSUS works jointly with the Nebraska Farmers Union, the second oldest agricultural organization in the state, to pursue market opportunities for farmers and ranchers whose agricultural practices adhere to higher animal welfare standards. The council works to facilitate a dialogue with individual farmers, ranchers and the organizations that represent them, with members acting as a sounding board on agriculture policy for Jocelyn Nickerson, Nebraska state director of The HSUS.
  • According to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Rural Poll of 2011, 69 percent of those polled in rural Nebraska agree that good animal welfare for farm animals means more than just adequate food, water and shelter, but also adequate exercise, space and social activities.
  • A statewide public opinion survey conducted by Lake Research Partners revealed that Nebraska voters support the humane treatment of farm animals, and they want all interested parties with a stake in the animal welfare debate to come together to discuss the issues.
  • The HSUS supports farmers and ranchers who give proper care to their animals, act in accordance with the basic ethics of compassion to sentient creatures under their control, and practice and promote humane and environmental sustainable agriculture.

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

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