We had to laugh when HSUS started its “We Are Nebraska” campaign a few days ago. An anti-agriculture group claiming to represent an agricultural state? Puh-leez.
From what we can see on HSUS’s Flickr steam, only two farmers and ranchers have submitted photos supporting HSUS’s campaign, including one who’s on HSUS’s state council. (Gee, what happened to all those 51,000 HSUS “members” in Nebraska? Maybe they don’t exist.)
In contrast, we’ve seen many times that number of farmers and ranchers submit photos on our Facebook wall as part of our counter-campaign. And we’re the “David” in the campaign against the HSUS “Goliath.” So who’s really got the support of the ag community?
While we’ve kept our submission to just farmers, the clear majority of photos in HSUS’s campaign feature pets—probably because HSUS knows it doesn’t have much support from farmers at all. But that tactic is also straight out of HSUS’s playbook. As communications professor Wes Jamison recently pointed out, this tendency of many Americans to conflate farm animals and pets plays into HSUS’s hands: “The (HSUS) knows the issue, knows their target, their message and their strategy. The message is easy to understand and repeated over and over.” In other words, HSUS is milking the fact that most Americans don’t have any farming experience whatsoever and look at a pig as though they would a dog. Pets and farm animals are different, but as the saying goes, if you repeat a lie often enough, people will believe it.
If anything, the HSUS campaign is a sign that the road ahead teaching people the truth about farming and HSUS is long. How many of those pet-loving folks backing HSUS know that HSUS gives only 1 percent of its budget to pet shelters? We wonder. Perhaps we’ll have to inform them—in a very public way—that, according to its tax return, HSUS made just one measly grant to a Nebraska pet shelter in 2010. If all that these folks have seen is HSUS’s ads, they may be deceived.
We’re posting some of the photos we’ve received below. View the rest on our Facebook wall. Keep up the good work, farmers and ranchers!