The Humane Society’s launching a campaign to encourage Iowa pork producers to raise their animals in a more “humane and environmentally-sound” manner. Chris Bedford, the Humane Society’s Care4Iowa coordinator, says the group isn’t anti-meat, but aims to help small farmers find ways to survive financially. Bedford says “Iowa’s in deep trouble right now” because “industrial animal agriculture is treating the animals it raises, the communities it operates in, the environment it operates in and its customers as commodities.” Bedford says that has bred a whole series of problems.Bedford says “factory” hog farms are creating dirty water and unhealthy air, forcing farmers to be contractors rather than independent operator, and all the while animals are mistreated.Bedford says the Humane Society is launching a four year campaign to do something about the problem, and he says they’ll focus on “positive solutions.” Denise O’Brien has been farming with her husband near Atlantic for the past 27 years, and she heads the Women, Food and Agriculture Network. She wants Iowans to consume more Iowa-grown food. But Iowa Farm Bureau communications director Aaron Putze worries the Humane Society is beginning an effort to limit farmers’ options in raising livestock. Putze says the Humane Society’s website lists its aims for rural America, and one of the group’s goals is to reduce consumption of meat and/or replace meat with meat-substitutes. Putze says that makes some question the Humane Society’s decision to come to Iowa and focus on the livestock industry. Putze says when you read between the lines, there’s a lot to be read. About 20-thousand Iowans are currently members of the Humane Society of the United States.
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