Beef Industry Compares the Humane Society to ISIS

by Will Potter on September 12, 2014

in Terrorism Scare Mongering

cattle feedlot

You’ve probably heard a lot about ISIS in the news lately, primarily connected with the group’s beheadings of Americans and journalists.

Beef Magazine is warning readers that this type of violence isn’t limited to the Middle East, though. There’s a similar group operating right here on U.S. soil: the Humane Society.

Troy Marshall writes that jihadist groups like ISIS have defenders who try to obscure their hate to make their message more acceptable. “On a similar note,” he says, “Wayne Pacelle, the president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), has made his intentions clear, too…

The terrorists are dangerous no doubt, but they tend toward a naiveté that almost ensures their ultimate defeat. HSUS, on the other hand, is extremely sophisticated in its attacks. HSUS attacks on many fronts. It uses legislation and public policy where possible; the judicial system to sue people into submission; has a huge public relations machine to blackmail businesses to fall in line; and effectively wields the ballot initiative to circumvent the legislative and judicial branches when those avenues fail them.”

Beef has now removed the comparisons to ISIS from the column, but the original is still available online.

No matter how absurd this sounds, it’s far from the first time that factory farmers have compared the Humane Society to “terrorists.”

Recently the Center for Consumer Freedom (an industry front group) said that the Humane Society has the support of “terrorism moneymen” because HSUS VP Paul Shapiro was on Al Jazeera.

This is the same group that bought a full-page ad in the New York Times attempting to connect the Humane Society to terrorists. It even included a flow chart. (In response to that, we came up with a much more direct connection between the Center for Consumer Freedom and terrorists.)

And when they’re not using terrorism rhetoric, Big Ag is drawing inspiration from something just as fictional: Star Wars.

According to a recent column for Cattle Network, HSUS president Wayne Pacelle is just like General Grievous (the lightsaber-weilding menace from Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith).

Oh, and don’t forget these are the same folks who compared my new aerial photography project to the death star.

If anything, efforts like this reflect the ag industry’s desperation. They’re doing everything they can to avoid responding to consumer demand for more compassionate, sustainable agriculture.

That’s why they are pushing “ag-gag” laws that make it illegal to expose animal cruelty. That’s why they lobbied for laws like the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, which turns civil disobedience into terrorism if done in the name of protecting animals.

And that’s why they’ve expanded their terrorism rhetoric to the most mainstream, aboveground groups like the Humane Society.

Beef Magazine is right that animal advocates are increasingly becoming “extremely sophisticated.” Perhaps the industry should actually listen to what they have to say.

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