DES MOINES, Iowa, Nov. 13, 2013– The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) announced today the formation an Iowa Agriculture Council of farmers and ranchers intended to increase farm animal welfare standards in what HSUS calls "intensive confinement."
The HSUS’s Iowa Agriculture Council is a collection of members that have been vocal about their issues with the structure of the U.S. agriculture industry. The council will pursue market opportunities for farmers and ranchers whose agricultural practices adhere to certain animal welfare standards, as well as “facilitate a dialogue” with other farmers, ranchers and organizations.
“As an Iowa farmer, I believe family farmers and ranchers have much common ground with The HSUS when it comes to animal husbandry treatment,” said Chris Petersen, a founding member of the new council who raises Berkshire hogs near Clear Lake.
Peterson, president of the Iowa Farmers Union from August 2006 until October of 2012, said the HSUS council is “a positive step to work together to address the future of animal agriculture and find solutions to animal welfare challenges.”
The organizing members of the Iowa Agriculture Council of The HSUS also include Garry Klicker, a farmer in Bloomfield and board member for the Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (ICCI).
Other members are Marian Kuper, who raises beef calves in Hardin County; Gary Hoskey, a cattle and pig farmer in Montour and former Iowa Farmers Union president; John Gilbert, whose Iowa Falls operation includes pigs and a dairy herd; and Tom Frantzen, a cattle and pig farmer in New Hampton.
HSUS objects to the consolidation of pork production industry. Today’s announcement notes that the number of hog farms has dropped by 91 percent nationwide since 1980.
“Farm odors are common in Iowa, while soil erosion and runoff have polluted the state’s waters, rural communities weakened because of the demise of so many family-run businesses, and breeding sows are virtually immobilized in cramped gestation crates,” according to the HSUS announcement.
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