That’s the only reasonable conclusion regarding the Humane Society of the United States’ latest smear campaign against agriculture: An attack on pork farmers’ attempts to inoculate pigs against a new disease threat.
Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDv) is a new virus spreading among farms both large and small. It’s a serious new problem, and there is no vaccine for this disease (it has only been in the U.S. for 10 months). It’s extremely deadly to piglets, and veterinarians and farmers currently have only one option to try to beat this disease: Feed a sample of dead piglets that were infected at birth to mother pigs, which then develop antibodies that they can pass on to their new young. It’s the same principle behind developing a resistance to venom or other diseases.
This is not pretty, by any means. We wish there was an alternative. But it’s a scientific and veterinarian-approved way of humanely dealing with this threat to animal welfare. And HSUS is sullying it.
Yesterday HSUS released a heavily spliced video of a Kentucky farm, and its CEO Wayne “I Don’t Love Animals” Pacelle flung inflammatory language to smear this process, calling it “cannibalism.” Veterinarians reviewed HSUS’s claims and stand against HSUS. “This process is universally recognized as having real efficacy in reducing the number of pigs that are dying,” stated University of Minnesota veterinarian Dr. John Deen. Further, “the claim that biosecurity is better for animals housed outdoors is just wrong. To say that transmission of disease between farms increases with intensification of production is unsubstantiated.”
“Is it better to save pigs’ lives and improve their welfare or to say this is too ‘icky’ and just let the pigs die?” asked the head of the American Association of Swine Veterinarians. HSUS has answered that question—it would rather unfairly smear agriculture and animal care, rather than support efforts to save piglets’ lives.