From the High Plains / Midwest AG Journal
Moles must be rooted out
Joe Luter is the CEO of Smithfield Foods. They are the world's largest pork producer; from birth to girth they own the business. Would anyone mind if he were hired by the USDA and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to oversee meat inspection and regulations regarding how pork is grown and harvested? Oh my goodness! It would be sheer madness if anybody were even to hint that it should happen.
Why then is Sarah L. Conant serving as the chief enforcer for APHIS within the USDA? She has spent the majority of her life trying to end animal agriculture and being an activist for animal rights. Her last employer (assuming she is no longer still collecting a check from them) was the Humane Society of the United States. HSUS is the world's largest animal rights organization, yet nobody said a word when USDA hired her. Why not?
Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran asked some questions on the Senate floor that shed a tremendous amount of light on the current relationship between the USDA and HSUS. Apparently, even though nobody I know in animal agriculture had any knowledge of this, there was an animal welfare forum being planned by the USDA and organized by HSUS. That is until the good senator from Kansas got wind of the event. Here are the highlights of what he said:
"The ironic thing about this forum is that there is little science involved. It is nothing more than, in my view, the Department of Agriculture spending taxpayer dollars on a forum to provide the Humane Society of the United States a public forum to espouse its anti-agriculture views.
"If the Department of Agriculture was interested in science, why would it allow an animal rights organization to steer its agenda?"
So I ask this question: Just exactly how many people with ties to HSUS are actually planted in the USDA and APHIS at this time?
I am not the only one asking by the way. Frank Losey, an attorney with no ties to animal agriculture whatsoever, is also asking. In fact, he submitted a formal complaint with the Inspector General on Aug. 30 suggesting that not only is there a tremendous conflict of interest with the USDA hiring Sarah L. Conant but that the record surrounding her employment seems to have gone missing.
In the same calendar year, lawsuits were filed by Conant on behalf of the HSUS against the USDA only for her to resign her position with HSUS and two days later be appointed to a newly created position with APHIS.
Another question that Losey is posing about HSUS is how can this nonprofit organization, with annual revenue in excess of $100 million, spend less than 1 percent of that money on animal shelters. They are so busy lobbying but never seem to get the attention of the IRS. We know for a fact that thousands of letters have been sent to the IRS asking them to conduct a full-blown investigation into how this organization can so openly admit to breaking the law and continue to get away with it.
I so often ask you do to something because of the columns I have written. Friends, I have honestly never felt the importance of your input more than I do on these two issues. Call your senator and tell them an investigation needs to take place regarding the relationship between USDA, formerly known as "the people's department" and HSUS, the wealthiest animal rights organization in the world. Ask them how Sarah L. Conant can be employed by the USDA when it is clearly a violation of the Conflict of Interest.
Secondly, ask how it is that HSUS can maintain nonprofit status when they clearly are a lobbying entity, which is explicitly forbidden under nonprofit laws. Complacency is our only real challenge at the end of the day, not HSUS. Please understand that and get busy digging to help us root out the moles in this system before they destroy our entire foundation!
Editor's note: Trent Loos is a sixth generation United States farmer, host of the daily radio show, Loos Tales, and founder of Faces of Agriculture, a non-profit organization putting the human element back into the production of food. Get more information at www.FacesOfAg.com, or email Trent at firstname.lastname@example.org.