Feb 252010
Authors: Robyn Scherer

Yellow Tail wine has redeemed itself.

Following its huge mistake in donating $100,000 to the Humane Society of the United States on Jan. 14, the business was heavily accosted from all sectors of the agriculture community in the U.S.

The firestorm that fell on Yellow Tail since its announcement of the donation has been nothing short of amazing, and the company has decided to abandon future donations.

“They have committed to in the future only supporting welfare organizations with a sole commitment to animal care,” said Kay Johnson Smith, Executive Vice President of the Animal Agriculture Alliance.

I know what some of you are thinking. What is wrong with this woman writing this column? Doesn’t she want to help the cute cats and dogs that need homes at the humane society? This answer is yes, I do. But HSUS is not the same as your local humane society.

In a blog posted March 30 by Wayne Pacelle, the leader of HSUS, he said, “We believe in the Three Rs — reducing the consumption of meat and other animal-based foods; refining the diet by eating products only from methods of production, transport and slaughter that minimize pain and distress; and replacing meat and other animal-based foods in the diet with plant-based foods.”

Does this sound like helping shelter animals? In case you didn’t know, HSUS was the group that funded Proposition 2 in California in 2008. While I agree animals used for production should be treated humanely, putting them on the same platform as humans is ridiculous. HSUS’ goal is not to help animals, but to eliminate animal agriculture completely.

It’s pathetic that companies like Yellow Tail failed to see the consequences of their actions before they took them. I hope they see the effects through decreased sales. If you really want to help animals, donate to your local humane society, not HSUS.

Pretty soon these movements will come to your home. It’s easy to think that won’t happen, but the trend is already starting. According to www.dogpolitics.com, “The efforts by PETA and HSUS to advance breed specific legislation are a betrayal of trust that so many give, and disservice to those desperately working so hard –– but worst of all, PETA & HSUS spell nothing but homelessness, fear and death for dogs that look a certain way.” Pet owners beware.

HSUS operated on a $91.5 million budget in 2007, and spent it’s money not helping animals, as the Tails for Tails program intended, but in pushing legislation, according to The Center for Consumer Freedom.

Pork Magazine’s article, Yellow Tail Wine Gets a Sour Taste said, “Analysis of their (HSUS’) 2008 tax return shows that only one-half of 1 percent of the group’s funds actually went towards caring for animals,” the Alliance told Yellow Tail officials. “While wanting to help animals is indeed a noble goal, we urge you to instead pledge your money to local shelters, which often are underfunded, but provide much-needed services to homeless pets.”

So why is this such a big deal for agricultural producers? HSUS and other animal rights groups (groups that aren’t there to help animals per se, but ones to further their own personal agendas) have made production in the U.S. increasingly difficult.

I agree there are many practices in animal agriculture that need to be re-evaluated. However, animal rights groups should not be the ones drafting legislation. The producers themselves should be.

According to Farm and Dairy, in an article titled The Three R’s of the HSUS Agenda, Susan Crowell writes, “Agriculture needs its own set of three R’s: research on best management practices that improve animal welfare and productivity; a revival of this country’s agrarian foundation; and a recommitment by farmers everywhere to practice sound livestock management, implement environmental protection measures and proudly speak out on their industry’s behalf.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Robyn Scherer is a senior animal science, agricultural business and journalism and technical communication major. Her column appears Fridays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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