I know I opened with a fairly obscure movie quote two weeks ago discussing communication between ag operators and insurance agents, which you can find here. With that said, I am going to the well once more. The recent agreement between the Nebraska Farmers Union and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) reminded me of this scene in Ghostbusters regarding the upcoming end of the world.
Seriously check it out, I promise it is funny.
Realistically, it is not the end of the world that the Nebraska Farmers Union and HSUS have agreed to develop joint standards and marketing efforts for humanely raised animal products. See this World Herald article by Leslie Reed. However, many ag organizations believe the end of the world is near considering this agreement is on the heels of the United Egg Producers’ agreement with HSUS over hen housing standards. Link to article here.
Nebraska organizations such as We Support Agriculture are disappointed in the alliance and are leery of HSUS’ true intentions. Obviously producers are worried that such alliances give HSUS the opportunity to create a slippery slope of tighter regulations eventually reducing meat consumption to an unprofitable market.
HSUS denies that it is trying to eliminate meat consumption but only cares about farm animal welfare. Livestock and poultry producers consistently claim they are champions of farm animal welfare since their livelihoods depend on the animals. Therefore, HSUS and producers are not necessarily at odds when it comes to animal welfare as a concept.
So what is going on and how will such alliances affect livestock and poultry production in the future? Is it a case of “keep your friends close but your enemies closer” or is it a “can’t beat’em so join’em strategy”? Maybe it is neither. Rather than spend millions of dollars fighting each other, maybe it is better to open the lines of communication and find a balancing act that both sides can accept.
I would like to hear your thoughts.