Mike Deering is a family farmer in Montgomery City, MO, and serves as executive vice president for the Missouri Cattlemen's Association.
Have you ever been in a meeting that should take 10 minutes, but it takes two hours because someone decides to intentionally confuse the heck out of everyone?
That's the stunt some are attempting now with Amendment 1 — Missouri's Farming Rights amendment. The amendment was written for family farmers by family farmers. The language isn't confusing. In fact, it's two sentences long.
So why the confusion? Vice President of Outreach and Engagement for the Humane Society of the United States Joe Maxwell and his sidekicks packed a lot of misleading information, topped with outright lies, into a "confusion grenade" and threw it out in the middle of a crowd and watched as innocent Missourians were caught up in a web of intentional head scratching.
Amendment 1 is for family farmers, but opponents say it's for Monsanto. Opponents know Monsanto is a multibillion dollar corporation that doesn't need protection in the state's constitution. The family raising cattle in one of Missouri's 114 counties needs the protection. This is not about corporations. It is about family farmers and ranchers and the next generation. The amendment is for Missouri citizens, not foreign corporations. In fact, it has no influence on foreign ownership whatsoever. Laws are already in place regarding foreign ownership.
Maxwell and HSUS don't want to tell you the real reason they are against Amendment 1, so they decided creating confusion is the best avenue. That's a pretty slimy tactic, but it is no surprise.
After all, HSUS is not your puppy shelter. In fact, less than 1 percent of their $150 million war chest is used for animal shelters. Fundraising is the foremost activity of this group, and you need to question their ethics. In May, HSUS and its co-defendants agreed to pay nearly $16 million in a racketeering lawsuit. Earlier this year, the Oklahoma attorney general announced his office was opening an investigation into HSUS's fundraising, issuing a consumer alert along the way.
As for Maxwell, one has to wonder why this farmer is employed by HSUS. Maxwell's pork co-op Heritage Acres was suspended by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for violations of humane slaughter and treatment regulations in 2009. In all, USDA records show that Maxwell's Heritage Acres was cited more than 150 times for violations ranging from inhumane handling to meat contamination to unhygienic conditions. Bad actors should not be in business.
Maxwell is working for the same organization that claims Michael Vick "would do a good job as a pet owner" after he personally drowned, slammed and hanged dogs to death, according to a USDA investigation, while participating in dog fighting. The HSUS CEO probably decided Vick would do well with pets after Vick's employer gave HSUS $50,000. Interesting how all that works.
I am not trying to personally attack anyone, but I truly believe with all my heart that in order to diffuse the confusion grenade, you have to take a careful look at the hands of the perpetrator. You see people who by their own admission would "shut down all sport hunting in a moment" and believe that "eating meat causes animal cruelty." You see people against animal agriculture and the family farmers and ranchers who raise those animals in the safest, most humane way. I ask that you look carefully at the Farming Rights Amendment and research who is behind it and who is against it.
Please realize that the amendment is honest in its intent to proactively preserve farms and ranches in this state for future generations. This intent was backed up by Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster who said, "I understand why Missouri's farmers desire the protection of our state's constitution, and given the events of the past decade, I support passage of the Right to Farm amendment."
Please diffuse the confusion grenade with your "Yes" vote for Amendment 1 on August 5.