If you care about farm animals in Iowa, there is, unfortunately, no shortage of high-profile, high-impact matters that would benefit from citizen activism there. For example, with Congress in recess and lawmakers back home in their districts, we are working to defeat the amendment from Steve King, R-Iowa, to nullify important state laws. These are statutes that impose conditions or standards on agriculture to protect animals, workers, public health, or the environment. Organizing folks to defend Iowa’s laws in his district would have great value and remind him that his constituents don’t support this attack on states’ rights.
We’ve been fighting the opening of a horse slaughter plant in Sigourney, Iowa, and we need people in the state to speak up and remind lawmakers and other decision-makers that the people of Iowa don’t go for killing horses for human consumption; fortunately, we learned last night that the plant owners decided to rescind their request to USDA for a grant of inspection, meaning that the immediate threat in Iowa of the plant opening is resolved.
There’s the fight over banning barren battery cages and supporting the national effort to give laying hens more space. And then there’s our effort to phase out gestation crates, and to amplify the views of animal advocates, rural residents, and others who don’t like systemic mistreatment of animals.
I could go on.
But rather than take constructive and legitimate action on these enormously consequential matters, with millions of animals lives or the quality of their lives hanging in the balance, some fool (who claims to be an animal advocate) defaced the Butter Cow at the Iowa State Fair, a cultural event that attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors and is attended by leading politicians in the state, the press, and so many rank-and-file citizens. Apparently, this act was orchestrated in a clandestine way in order to demonstrate some opposition to factory farming, or perhaps to all of animal agriculture.
Can you think of any action more inane and counterproductive? I guess this individual could have been more stupid by committing a crime that involved more than mere vandalism. But we don’t want to give much if any credit to the person who did this.
The take-away: when our movement is trying to conduct a serious discussion about issues, and seeking to drive major reform, we do not need tactical approaches that come out of the playbook of a fraternity.
We condemn the illegal conduct, and we hope that the good people of Iowa know that The HSUS and other serious-minded animal welfare groups think this person is as dumb as you do.