Tuesday, April 24, 2012


First the Humane Society of the United States earned another D grade from Charity Watch for spending too little of its money on programs and too much on things such as fundraising and executive salaries. And now the anti-HSUS Center for Consumer Freedom is out with a scathing parody of an animal cruelty video, playing off that D grade.

The two-minute YouTube video depicts sad-eyed, out-of-work lawyers and lobbyists behind a chain link fence as doleful music plays in the background. A moderator sorrowfully says you can help put these unfortunate victims back to work for just $19 a month by joining HSUS “in our fight to hire more lawyers.”

The female moderator adds that it’s a misconception that HSUS operates pet shelters: “We don’t run a single one,” she tells the audience. “Our real goal is to get the government to eliminate farms with animals. We’re basically PETA with suits and deodorant.”

All HOTH can say is … ouch!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Simply Wrong

Ezra Klein, the increasingly visible Washington Post policy blogger, should stick to what he thinks he knows, which is economics. When he wanders off into agriculture policy, as he did Thursday in commenting on antibiotic use in livestock, he is worse than uninformed. He’s simply wrong.

For starters Klein cites as fact the urban myth that 70 percent of the country’s antibiotics are used in livestock production. He calls it one of his “favorite scary statistics.” The livestock industry has always recognized this as a wild overestimate, and a recent study out of Kansas State University confirms that. In fact, it blows Klein’s “scary statistic” out of the water.

Next, Klein cites “mounting evidence” that farm use of antibiotics “is contributing to the startling rise in antibiotic-resistant bacteria” in humans. In fact, numerous peer-reviewed risk assessments, including at least one by the Food and Drug Administration, show “negligible” risk to human health from antibiotic use in livestock. Totally missing from Klein’s missive is any recognition that antibiotic resistance develops from many factors and that a major contributor is over-prescription of antibiotics in humans.

Finally, Klein repeats the canard that vast amounts of antibiotics are needed to keep livestock healthy because they are raised in unhealthy conditions. In fact, modern livestock confinement systems are designed to keep animals healthy. Animals are kept in scientifically designed, biosecure barns to protect them from predators, disease, and bad weather.

Most livestock antibiotics are used when animals are sick or susceptible to illness. That’s as it should be. Healthy animals produce safe food, and we need every available tool to avoid putting the food supply at risk.

Perhaps even Klein could agree with that last point.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Seeing The Light On PETA

The celebrity-friendly image of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is getting a little tarnished. 

First reality TV star Kloe Kardashian, who had previously done ads for the animal rights group, called PETA “bullies” for pelting fur-wearing sister Kim with flour at a Hollywood event. And now Jennifer Lawrence, star of the hit movie The Hunger Games, has dissed PETA in a Rolling Stone cover story. 

In an interview in the magazine’s latest issue, Lawrence reveals that a graphic scene from an earlier movie, in which she gutted a squirrel and ripped off its fur, was not an illusion. “I should say it wasn’t real, for PETA,” Lawrence reportedly said. “But screw PETA.”

The anti-PETA Center for Consumer Freedom reacted by saying it would welcome any celebrities who “see the light on this noxious activist group.”

Friday, April 6, 2012

Hot Shots

Sure, pork producers are unhappy with the Environmental Protection Agency and its efforts to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. But when it comes to frustration over those emissions rules, it’s hard to match United Mine Workers President Cecil Roberts.

Discussing proposed emissions limits on new coal-fired power plants on a West Virginia radio network, Roberts said the planned limits will kill the U.S. coal industry outright because the technology to meet the standards isn’t widely available.

“The Navy SEALS shot Obama bin Laden in Pakistan, and (EPA Chief) Lisa Jackson shot us in Washington,” he said.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

High Praise From An Unusual Source

First it was chocolate milk as a recovery drink. Now Runner’s World is talking up the health attributes of meat for runners.

“If you’ve stared down one too many chicken breasts at dinner lately, you’re probably a runner ...” an article in the April issue starts. “But you may be surprised to find that other meats, from steak to pork, can boost your health and rebuild and strengthen muscles.” 

The article, by Jessica Girdwain, highlights the benefits of beef, dark meat chicken, lamb, pork, and turkey pastrami. A serving of pork tenderloin, it notes, packs the same fat and saturated fat as chicken with 13 percent fewer calories. “It’s an excellent source of vitamin B6, which helps your body metabolize protein and carbs and produce energy during exercise,” Girdwain says. 

HOTH, of course, knows that the healthiest diets consist of a balance of fruits, vegetables and nutrient-dense red meat. Indeed, red meat provides many under-consumed nutriets such as potassium, phosphorous and vitamin B-12.