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Notes from the PR war

People who have followed Agweek over a period of time know that if we have editorialized on anything, it is that the Dakotas have room to increase livestock production.

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Erin Brown / Grand Vale Creative

People who have followed Agweek over a period of time know that if we have editorialized on anything, it is that the Dakotas have room to increase livestock production.

Our culture and that of just about everyone else in the world favors meat as a component of a balanced diet. As soon as people can afford it, they produce it. Producing feedstuffs, feed grain and livestock is a bedrock to the agricultural culture in our region.

The animal agriculture combatants nationally have made news in the past few weeks. Here are my notes from the legal/political battlefield, and my estimate of their impact:

What the court decides on the Humane Society of the United States' efforts to limit meat and egg choices:

Missouri, et al. v. California, and Indiana et al. v. Massachusetts stems from legislation pushed by the Humane Society of the United States that limits the types of meat and eggs allowed for sale in those two states. The states of North Dakota, Iowa and Wisconsin are among 13 states appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court to decide the interstate commerce implications.

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California in 2015 banned the sale of "conventionally-raised" eggs, and in 2016 Massachusetts voters passed legislation banning conventionally-raised eggs, pork and veal starting in 2022. Cornell University in 2016 estimated that Californians would pay 16.8 percent more for eggs than they would otherwise.

Mikkel's rating: "10"

This will be the most momentous decision the courts can make for agriculture in a long time.

The ouster of Wayne Pacelle:

The Center for Consumer Freedom earlier this month launched an advertising campaign criticizing HSUS leaders for retaining Wayne Pacelle as CEO despite sexual harassment reports. Pacelle has been one of the most effective strategists for the HSUS, whose long-term goal is eliminating livestock agriculture.

Mikkel's rating: "3"

Pacelle is an important individual, but not indispensable to the cause. Sadly, sexual indiscretion accusations (and admissions, or evidence) don't always kill careers.

News of PETA euthanizing dogs and cats:

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People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals euthanizes dogs and cats at its Norfolk, Va., headquarters. The Center for Consumer Freedom on Feb. 8 highlighted the words "lethal injection," "massacred" and "slaughtered" in its news statement.

Mikkel's rating: "0"

CCF undermines its own effect with cartoonish, inflammatory rhetoric.

Speaking of rhetoric, I was surprised at the tone of Jay Lehr, the scientific director for the conservative Heartland Institute, who recently spoke at the Northern Corn and Soybean Expo. Among other things the hydrology doctorate holder from 1962 declared he has no concern about any agricultural impact on the environment: "None!"

Personally, I think farmers in general are striving to do better but can always improve. Farmers must weigh individual economics for the larger good. History lessons like the Dust Bowl should keep farmers open and reflective. You know - "Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall." Proverbs 16:18 KJV

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