Should We Sit Down with HSUS in Common Cause

Chuck Zimmerman

Ag Sec VilsackMany eyebrows were raised during Sec. of Agriculture Tom Vilsack’s speech at the AFBF convention yesterday. It was really a stand out moment in an otherwise pretty good speech and I wonder what you think about it. The photo is from his press conference following the closing session.

Sec. Vilsack was talking about creating strategic alliances and reaching out to groups that we may not agree with. He used several examples. But this is the one that stood out.

And frankly those who are engaged in constructive engagement They shouldn’t be faulted for doing so. Now I know that there are not too many fans of the Humane Society in this room. But egg producers thought it was in their best interest to avoid fifty different referendums, fifty different sets of rules. So they sat down with folks and they reached common ground. After all, isn’t that what we’re asking our Congress to do? Isn’t that what we’re asking our political leaders to do? To sit down and make common cause? I think the egg producers have the right idea. Now, the issues may be different for different types of producers. But we need to be constructively engaged at all times and conversations. We may not find agreement. But I think we will substantially reduce those who oppose farming and substantially reduce the reach of those and hopefully be able to get enough proactive activity that results in a five year bill.

I can’t agree with him on this. My reason is that when it comes to an organization like the HSUS which has a well known desire to end animal agriculture there is no “common cause.” I see efforts to do so as admitting defeat and just hoping to buy some time before losing the game. And we’re not talking about a game. We’re talking about people’s livelihoods and one of the most promising and productive sources of food to feed a growing population.

So, what do you think Sec. Vilsack meant by using this example and stating that he thought it was a good idea? Is it a portent of things to come? Should we expect to see our USDA sitting down with HSUS in common cause?

You can listen to Sec. Vilsack’s remark here: Sec. Vilsack Remark on HSUS

2013 American Farm Bureau Convention Photo Album

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