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Subsidizing Big Pork

Story ID:10654
Written by:Suzana Margaret Megles (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Musings, Essays and Such
Location:various various usa
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Recently, I wrote in behalf of the activities of the Humane Society of the US in part
because another supposed animal rights group from California was trying to discredit
them. But here again in this post is evidence that the HSUS tirelessly works to either
alleviate animal suffering or, as in this case, to rectify the unwise use of tax payers
money to promote animal products.

Today -when I read about the 60 million dollar revenue stream being disbursed to the
special interests of the pork industry- I was shocked and dismayed. This was brought
to light by the case HSUS recently brought to court.

I have been reading about concerns that because the Baby Boomer Generation had not
had as many children as previous generations- that less money has been added into the
payroll tax deductions which funds Social Security. There is real concern that by 2030
there won’t be enough money to pay Social Security benefits to retirees then. Instead of
subsidizing the pork industry, those millions of dollars would be better set aside in Social
Security coffers to offset this dire prediction of a short fall in 2030. But this is truly a joke
too- when just this morning I read that we are close to 17 trillion dollars in debt. Did I read
right? If so, there is NO money to be set aside for this purpose.

But of course -even more importantly -why are we disbursing millions of dollars to the
National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) in the first place? Pacelle notes that “Even in
Washington, where millions of dollars are disbursed to influence public policy, ....the
schemes of the pork industry to divert public money to special interest lobbying efforts
may be unequaled.”

And perhaps which is even more disheartening – these funds are not being used to better
the lives of these poor pigs incarcerated in the cruel CAFOs. The mother pigs especially
suffer and are held prisoners in tight gestation crates where they can’t even turn around.
The funds should have been used to find ways to free them from this cruelty, but instead
were being used to monetarily enrich themselves at the expense of these poor animals.

The HSUS has provided us with background information re the pork industry’s misuse
of public money:

“Under federal law, farmers of certain commodities (including pork, beef, and eggs) are
required to pay a percentage of their sales into a check-off fund. These funds are intended
to be used to promote the sale of farm products, and the National Pork Board is the group
created to be the custodian of the money.” (Isn’t this so like appointing the wolf to guard
the hen house?)

It turns out that this determination resulted in the misuse of public money to promote pork.
More specifically, the HSUS notes that it is bad enough that farmers are forced to pay dues
even if they don’t want to participate, but then have their own money being used against
them – promoting Big Ag at their expense. As a result, our government is enabling the
industry to spend millions of dollars each year to promote their products, and sadly,- precious
few of them promoting the buying of fruits and vegetables.

Finally, there is hope because of the HSUS lawsuit that these small farmers may experience
some justice at last. The misdirection of millions of dollars to promote the NPPC will now be
hopefully stopped. And as the HSUS notes, that if this happens- we will have succeeded in halting
corruption and the sweetheart deal to Big Pork. This misuse of the public taxpayer funds should
never have happened in the first place. And it is also sad to me that not Congress but the HSUS
and others had to sue to secure this hopefully favorable outcome.

I foolishly thought that this is what Congress is suppose to do –protect small farmers and
consumers alike against corruption and misuse of public tax money. However, in their defense,
viewing the daily work load of Congress through Vox Populi, I guess some things do slip through
the cracks. However, this was a pretty expensive and big crack – a yearly $60 million dollar
disbursement to a private interest – the Pork industry.

I and others who are vegan feel especially violated. We don’t want our taxes used in such a
cruel and unnecessary way.