Ag vs. Humane Society

Activists Share Anti-Agriculture Agenda at Conferences
Animal Agriculture Alliance

August 16, 2010 – Animal agriculture was under attack at the Animal Rights 2010 Conference and the Humane Society of the United States-hosted Taking Action for Animals, two of the nation’s largest animal rights events. Both meetings were held in Washington, D.C. during July 2010.

AR 2010 and TAFA brought together more than 1,000 activists to discuss the political strategy of the animal rights movement. Speakers at both conferences provided participants with tactics to target the animal agriculture industry through demonstrations, litigation, and ballot initiative campaigns. Animal activist leaders taught attendees how to utilize social media tools to fundraise and share videos from undercover operations.

While HSUS launched TAFA in 2005 in an attempt to distance itself from the violent tactics embraced by many attendees of the AR 2010 conference, the core messaging and highly emotional images used to promote veganism at both events was eerily similar.

Both conferences encouraged attendees to prey on the fears of the unknowing public by spreading misinformation about the way today’s farmers and ranchers care for their animals. As evidence of the animal rights movement’s focus on animal agriculture, some of TAFA’s most popular sessions included “Advocating for Animals in Congress” and “Building a Better Future for Farm Animals.” AR 2010 workshops included “Understanding the Mentality of Meat,” “Conducting Investigations,” and “Marketing Our Message.”

Key Quotes from AR 2010 and TAFA Speakers:

“We should distinguish our message from less meat, because what we want is no meat.”
– Carrie Packwood Freeman, Activist and Professor at Georgia State University
AR 2010

“Owning animals is the equivalent of slavery.”
– Hope Bohanec, In Defense of Animals
AR 2010

“I have no problem with breaking and entering, destroying labs, burning buildings, and busting open cages.”
– Camille Hankins, Win Animals Rights and spokesperson for Animal Liberation Front
AR 2010

“The point at which society moves towards our views is a point where we are significantly closer to the vegan world that we are all working toward.”
– Bruce Friedrich, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
AR 2010

“The dog they walked last night is no different than the pig they ate for breakfast.”
– Jerry Cesak, Radio Personality and Proponent of HSUS’ ‘Yes on Prop 2’ Campaign

“Any state with an initiative process is on our radar.”
– Jennifer Hillman, Humane Society of the United States

“I dream of a vegan world – that’s where I want everything to go.”
– Gene Baur, Farm Sanctuary

While HSUS’ leadership continues to assert that animal rights- not animal welfare- is a mainstream issue, supporters of the movement seem divided. Many of its loudest proponents also advocate for violence, destruction of property, and abolition of pets – tactics that the American public would certainly not condone.

Most people do not understand the real – and devastating – consequences that animal rights activists are steadily pushing for. As shown by the attendance and content of the AR 2010 and TAFA conferences, the movement is relying more on legislation and less on shock tactics to gain momentum. The threat to animal agriculture is real and cannot be ignored by the industry.

Bryan Monell, an activist who has frequently obtained illicit employment at farms and research facilities in order to obtain undercover video footage, mocked the work of both farmers and researchers during his presentation at AR 2010.

“These people are rednecks and we are superior,” he said.

An appearance by photographer and reality television personality Nigel Barker added to the party-like atmosphere of TAFA. Speakers at both meetings compared their cause to the civil rights and women’s’ rights movements. The crowd was enthusiastic and receptive, wildly cheering on vocal opponents of animal agriculture including Wayne Pacelle, Paul Shapiro, Miyun Park, Gene Baur, and many others.

Both events provided vegan meals to attendees. In contrast to the lifestyle choices advocated for by the conference speakers, 97 percent of Americans enjoy meat, milk, and egg products as part of their diet.

The full text of the Alliance’s report on both animal rights meetings is available on the Members section if its website at For more information, contact Communications Coordinator Sarah Hubbart at [email protected].

The Animal Agriculture Alliance, a 501c (3) non-profit organization, is a broad-based coalition of individual farmers, ranchers, producer organizations, suppliers, packer-processors, private industry scientists, veterinarians, and retailers. The Alliance’s mission is to communicate the important role of animal agriculture to our nation’s economy, productivity, vitality, and security and that animal well-being is central to producing safe, high-quality, affordable food and other products essential to our daily lives.

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