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Speaker at annual Rotary farmer luncheon notes challenges agriculture faces

Friday, February 26, 2010

A large number of Rotary members, farmers, agribusinessmen and FFA students gathered for the annual Farmer Appreciation Luncheon Thursday, Feb. 25, in Missouri Valley College's R. Wilson Brown Room.

"This is our showing of appreciation for the farmers and agribusinesses in Saline County," said Rotary member Karl "Bub" Caldwell, who has been in charge of the luncheon for more than 30 years.

Guest speaker for the luncheon was Adam Buckallew, director of public relations for the Missouri Soybean Association and Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council, who pointed out that agriculture is the backbone of the Missouri economy, responsible for more than $12 billion of economic activity.

Buckallew started with the "good news" in the agriculture industry, telling those in attendance the Environmental Protection Agency released the final ruling for renewable fuel standards, which includes a provision that requires 1.15 billion gallons worth of biodiesel be used in the United States in 2010.

"That is very much positive news for the state's soybean farmers because biodiesel predominantly is made by soybean oil," he said.

Another great thing in the industry is that researchers and scientists have mapped the soybean genome.

"Basically what it means is scientists have mapped out the genetic DNA for soybeans," he explained.

He said the discovery will help improve soybeans and make better soybean crosses to help meet the challenges to feed a growing world population.

He also discussed some of the challenges in agriculture, pointing out recent ballot issues in several states that have outlawed certain types of livestock practices, including gestation crates, cages for laying hens and veal crates.

Because the livestock industry is a big customer of soybean and corn growers, those two groups, along with other agricultural-related groups, have come together to let consumers know about the Humane Society of the United States, the group behind the ballot initiatives.

"When most people first hear about the Humane Society of the United States, they probably think about the dog or animal shelters. That is inaccurate," he said. "The Humane Society of the United States does not operate a single shelter. They are not an umbrella group for the nation's pet shelters."

He said they have very little to do with local pet shelters.

"If you know of anyone who is trying to support local pet shelters or trying to provide for cats and dogs and they are sending money to the HSUS, their money is not being spent the way they think," he said.

He gave an overview of HSUS's more than $100 million budget, explaining that only one-half of 1 percent of that budget went to help hands-on pet shelters.

"In other words, they spend only $1 of every $200 that they receive for shelters that work with pets," he said, although their commercials often give the perception that donated money will be going toward shelters.

He said HSUS instead is an "animal rights organization," which believes that animals should have the same rights as all humans.

"Some of the people in the HSUS have been quoted as saying the rights of an ant should be the same as the rights of my child or something along those lines," he said, adding that they also promote a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle.

"You can go to their Web site, they talk about humane eating," he said. "Basically all their recipes are vegetarian, even if you are talking about a cake that obviously wouldn't have meat in it anyway, well guess what, they also don't put any eggs or milk products in it as well."

Buckallew said the HSUS is also behind a current ballot initiative drive here in Missouri concerning "puppy mills."

In response to that, many of the commodity and agricultural groups in Missouri have formed an organization called "Missourians for Animal Care."

"In Missouri there are some breeders out there who are unlicensed and that is a problem," he said, adding that they think all breeders should be licensed and inspected and have to go through the Department of Agriculture.

He said some have asked why the agriculture industry would be concerned about the initiative.

"Well HSUS has a track record of introducing ballot initiatives such as this that might talk about dogs or cats; they use it build a grassroots network in a state," he said. "They'll come back in a year, and they'll probably be targeting the livestock industry."

He also pointed out that the Missouri Veterinary and Medical Association is opposed to HSUS's ballot initiative.

"They believe the answer lies in adequate funding for more inspections and better enforcement," he said. The ballot initiative won't do anything to fix that problem.

He said the Missouri Department of Agriculture has already stepped up efforts to crack down on unlicensed kennels with "Operation Bark," encouraging people to call if they suspect an unlicensed breeder in their area.

"I should also note that Missouri already has very strict dog kennel laws and regulations on the books," he said. "We've actually been seen as one of the leaders in putting regulations in place to make sure the dog breeders in the state are doing what they should."

Contact Marcia Gorrell at marshallag@socket.net

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Upsedaisy, You're right. I wonder about that myself. It doesn't make sense!

Hillary, Thanks for posting.

-- Posted by Marcia Gorrell on Tue, Mar 2, 2010, at 5:32 PM

I work for the HSUS, and our organization is not affiliated with local shelters, nor do we claim to be. Charities should certainly be transparent about their work, and this is one of the reasons why the HSUS posts its annual reports and financial statements on its website: http://www.humanesociety.org/about/overv... _financial_statements.html.

The Center for Consumer Freedom, which maintains several of the websites referenced as sources for this article, is hardly an unbiased source of information. This front group for tobacco, alcohol, and agribuiness industries started with a $600,000 grant from tobacco giant Philip Morris. The CCF routinely takes aim at organizations that promote public health, food safety or animal welfare.

The quote from J.P. Goodwin, who manages our animal fighting campaign, is over 15 years old and doesn't reflect his current views, nor has it ever been reflective of the HSUS's position. Regarding the quote by Wayne Pacelle, readers can view his own response here: http://hsus.typepad.com/wayne/2007/07/de....

Hurricane Katrina was a real watershed moment for disaster response groups, and the HSUS was recognized nationwide for its enormous deployment in response to this crisis. Our organization continues to support animal welfare initiatives in the Gulf Coast (e.g. shelter construction/rebuilding and spay/neuter programs). For a fuller accounting of how we spent our funds, check out http://www.humanesociety.org/news/news/2... and http://www.humanesociety.org/news/news/2....

-- Posted by Hillary on Tue, Mar 2, 2010, at 4:04 PM

I like Edamame (soy) beans as a snack. "Dawg" enjoys them too. They're available frozen at most supermarkets. Shipped here to the East Coast from (drum roll please) CHINA. Seems as if, it would be considerably more energy efficient to freeze soybeans in the Midwest and ship all round the U.S.of A.

-- Posted by upsedaisy on Tue, Mar 2, 2010, at 2:56 PM

OOPS. Somehow I goofed up the URL and quote from Wayne Pacelle.

Here is the correct quote and website.


"He's happy to set the record straight for his critics. First off, they are right about HSUS not funding shelters run by local Humane Societies. "Our slogan on that is we don't run shelters, we help them run better," he says. HSUS provides material support and training, publishes two shelter magazines, evaluates the shelters for animal care standards and acts as their voice on animal protection issues. Pacelle likens HSUS to the shelters' "trade association."

-- Posted by Marcia Gorrell on Sat, Feb 27, 2010, at 12:24 PM

Dear izaak,

Yes, from what the Charity Navigator measures, HSUS does compare favorably.

However, their commercials featuring dogs and cats do lead people to believe that more of their money goes to hands on pet shelters.

By their own admission and their tax documents, it does not.

This comes from a Washington Post article in 2004 on Wayne Pacelle, president of HSUS:

"First off, they are right about HSUS not funding shelters run by local Humane Societies. "Our slogan on that is we don't run shelters, we help them run better," he (Pacelle) says. HSUS provides material support and training, publishes two shelter magazines, evaluates the shelters for animal care standards and acts as their voice on animal protection issues. Pacelle likens HSUS to the shelters' "trade association."

The entire article can be found at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/art...

The one-half of one percent figure comes from HSUS' 2008 tax return. http://humanewatch.org/images/uploads/20...

A summary can be found at


During Hurricane Katrina, HSUS raised $34 million to care for homeless animals, however a television report noted that only $7 million of that money could be accounted for. Eventually the case was dropped when HSUS agreed to contribute $600,000 towards an animal shelter on the grounds of the Louisiana state prison.


There are several other sources out there regarding HSUS, including this video from animal rescuers in Hurricane Katrina.


Recently Yellowtail Wine and Pilot Travel Centers pulled their support for HSUS, after hearing from farmers, ranchers and hunters across the United States.

The quotes of some of the current HSUS leaders are of concern to farmers, ranchers, hunters and others.

HSUS grassroots coordinator John "J.P." Goodwin: "My goal is the abolition of all animal agriculture."

HSUS president Wayne Pacelle: "Our goal is to get sport hunting in the same category as cock fighting and dog fighting."

The main point farmers and hunters want people to know is that if they want to help local animal shelters, they would be better to donate their money locally to those hands on facilities and not the HSUS.

More on HSUS





-- Posted by Marcia Gorrell on Sat, Feb 27, 2010, at 9:54 AM

Much of this presentation was bashing HSUS. I am surprised that HSUS is being denigrated like this, when they are rated by Charity Navigator as one of the top Animal protection agencies. HSUS is rated 4 star agency. The speaker stated that only one half of one percent of the HSUS budget goes to sheltering animals. I don't know where this figure comes from but at the very least it seems to me very misleading. According to Charity Navigator 87% of HSUS budget goes to programs and only 12% is for administration. I would think those numbers would compare favorably to any benchmarks.

-- Posted by izaak on Fri, Feb 26, 2010, at 9:50 PM

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