Somebody’s knockin. Should I let him in?
Lord, it’s the devil, would you look at him!
I’ve heard about him, but I never dreamed,
He’d have blue eyes and blue jeans.
The problem with evil is that it doesn’t come dressed in a bright red suit with a long tail and pointy horns. It doesn’t come bearing a pitchfork, flaming hot.
It’s just flat out difficult to recognize sometimes. This devil comes into our circle, dressed like one of us, talking our talk, saying nice things about us. All the while, he is planting seeds that will destroy us.
We will not recognize the germination and growth of those seeds until it’s too late. Then when we confront him in shock and anger, he will laugh merrily with bright eyes and say, “I did not do this to you. You did it to yourselves.”
And he will be right.
I attended the Cattle Industry Convention in Tampa, Florida last week and met many amazingly good people. I was told that I needed to attend the Freedom to Operate committee meeting on Thursday afternoon. I can tell you, I’d much rather have laughed and mingled outside that room. Ignorance is bliss and all that.
But there is none so blind as those who refuse to see. The people inside the room are refusing to see that they are dancing with the devil himself.
Our industry has spent millions of dollars developing, promoting, improving, promoting, tweaking, and promoting Beef Quality Assurance (BQA). We were told back in the mid-1980’s, “If we do not do it, someone else will do it for us.”
Punch in the Gut #1
Inside the room, Dean Danilson, PhD, a representative from Tyson Foods, spoke about their new Farm Check audit program. (I wrote about the program when it was first announced: Tyson Foods Announces A Win for Wayne Pacelle.) He told us that pork, beef and chicken suppliers to Tyson would be required to submit to random animal welfare audits of their private facilities.
A third-party will audit.
“Who will the third party be?” asked a rancher in the room.
Tenders for third party auditor are still under consideration.
The focus is on human-animal interactions and improving human treatment of animals. Tyson just wants to make sure those interactions are appropriate.
“What is the definition of appropriate?” asked another rancher in the room.
The audit program is still being developed in collaboration with industry, NGOs and other participants.
“Which NGOs are involved in the development of the standards?” asked another rancher in the room.
The ones who are involved in animal welfare.
“Is HSUS involved?”
There are a variety of NGOs involved.
“Why are you developing a new QA program when we as an industry have spent much time and money developing BQA?”
Tyson’s people tell them that BQA is unacceptable because it is developed by industry and is voluntary.
On the concluding slides, justification for the program was given:
“If we don’t do it, somebody else will.”
Punch in the Gut #2
I spoke up in the meeting (we were all encouraged to participate and share our ideas, after which we were encouraged to come together and “move forward” by supporting the anti-freedom initiatives within the Freedom to Operate Committee). I told Dr. Danilson that if he thought HSUS or WWF or Mercy for Animals or any of the other anti-animal-agriculture groups out there would accept Tyson’s QA program any more than they would accept BQA, he was dreaming. (WWF is the World Wildlife Fund.)
Immediately, a man in the room stood up and took issue with my statement. “I work for WWF and I can tell you that we are a reasonable organization. We are not anti-animal agriculture. You ranchers have to realize that you are not the only ones who care about your animals. Other people care, too, and you need to work with other reasonable people…” (I paraphrase, but this is pretty close to what he said.)
I encouraged everyone in the room to drill down on what WWF works for and stands for, and to make their own decisions about how “reasonable” they are.
WWF is one of the largest advocates of climate change alarmism around the world. If there is any single movement that is anti-animal agriculture in its own right, climate change alarmism is.
WWF also advances anti-private property concepts such as endangered species and wetlands legislation and regulation, which always result in a taking of land without due compensation. How many cattlemen have been negatively affected by “conservation” groups and the tangled mess of legislation and regulation they advance?
Most chilling in the current context, however, are WWF’s attacks on intensive animal agriculture, such as this blatantly anti-cattle, anti-feedlot article found on their website. (Have a look at the other links on the left-hand side of the page, including “Antibiotics and hormones.”)
I could not believe they were in the room. The fox is not only guarding the henhouse, they have apparently designed and built the henhouse – with our own money.
Punch in the Gut #3
Before I tell you about the third punch in the gut, let me give you some background, and ask you to do a tiny bit of research for yourself on 1) Maurice Strong, 2) Agenda 21 and 3) the Triple Bottom Line.
Maurice Strong fertilized the seed of the “Sustainable Development” movement way back in 1972 at the UN Convention in Stockholm, Sweden. 20 years later, he proudly gave birth to the official movement at the Rio Earth Summit. At Rio, there were four main initiatives launched:
1) Climate Change,
2) Agenda 21,
3) Biological Diversity (Biodiversity), and
Strong’s direct quotes such as this one, are revealing:
“We may get to the point where the only way of saving the world will be for industrial civilization to collapse.”
He has never attempted to hide his anti-private-property, pro-centralized control ideas. He also happened to be a Humane Society of the United State (HSUS) board member until 2010.
A google search of Maurice Strong yields this as the second link:
Maurice Strong globalized the environmental movement.
That sums it up nicely.
Agenda 21 is the United Nation’s “Sustainable Development” program, which effectively advances the environmentalist agenda (which is totally at odds with our inalienable rights to life, liberty and property) at the local government level throughout the world.
Some years ago, I went directly to the source…to the UN’s website…to research this one. I didn’t want to take anyone’s word for it. It’s all there in black and white, in full public view. This link is to a PDF document of the original agenda in 1992. If you do nothing else, please read it. It’s simple, straight-forward and unambiguously clear.
The Triple Bottom Line (TBL)
TBL is a concept created by the United Nations to advance the four baseline initiatives birthed at the Rio Earth Summit. Go to Wikipedia entry on Triple Bottom Line for a complete read (well worth the time).
The triple bottom line (abbreviated as TBL or 3BL, and also known as people, planet, profit or “the three pillars” captures an expanded spectrum of values and criteria for measuring organizational (and societal) success: economic, ecological, and social. With the ratification of the United Nations and ICLEI TBL standard for urban and community accounting in early 2007, this became the dominant approach to public sector full cost accounting. Similar UN standards apply to natural capital and human capital measurement to assist in measurements required by TBL, e.g. the EcoBudget standard for reporting ecological footprint.
In the private sector, a commitment to corporate social responsibility (CSR) implies a commitment to some form of TBL reporting. This is distinct from the more limited changes required to deal only with ecological issues.
Interestingly, before I went into the Freedom to Operate Committee meeting, I was interviewed by Trent Loos. A bit after that, I had a great conversation with the current crop of Beef Ambassadors (great young people passionate about beef and sharing the good stories of beef production!). In both conversations, I warned about the dangers of the triple bottom line.
- Economics already accounts for “society” and “environment.” Every day, in each purchase decision made by each of the approximately 330 million people in the United States, a value is given to “society” and “environment” through price. So when we advance the triple bottom line, we actually double-account for “costs.”
- When we advance the idea of imposing a plugged value to “society” and “environment,” no matter how well-intentioned we might be, we set producers up for a tax at some point in the future. Whatever extraneous values are agreed to will eventually become a financial penalty on production.
Now for that Third Punch in the Gut
The second speaker in the Freedom to Operate meeting was Kim Stackhouse-Lawson, Director of Sustainability Research at National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA). The images on the glossy handouts and the slides say it all:
But if you are a masochist, or if you are a responsible NCBA member and want to fully inform yourself, please go to this site and click on the “Sustainability Press Conference” audio link.
Needless to say, the wind was well and truly knocked out of me. The people who are supposed to be working for us are working – openly and unapologetically! – against us. I do not believe they mean to; they are really nice people. But they are running scared, 100% intimidated by the age-old scare tactics of extortion groups.
NCBA’s move into this “sustainability” realm began with their participation in the WWF-Convened (and underwritten by McDonald’s, Wal-Mart, JBS Swift, Cargill, and Intervet Schering Plough Animal Health) November 2010 Global Conference on Sustainable Beef. I lived in Australia at the time, and fought (unsuccessfully) against Australian Cattle Council participation. I warned against colluding with the enemy (yes, I’ll say it again, World Wildlife Fund – WWF — hates us!). No good could possibly come of it.
I reiterate the same today.
Since when did we cattlemen start playing along with such evil? When did we stop saying, “It’s none of your business” and start “negotiating” with people who hate us, hate what we do for a living, and hate the concept of private property?
I’ve always considered the cattle industry to be the most fiercely independent, most pro-free-market industry within the freest country on earth. I’ve been forced to revise my opinion on both counts. It’s been a painful few days.
Dancing with the Devil seems to be fashionable. I wish, at the very least, I weren’t forced to fund it.