If you were watching the Academy Awards Sunday night, you may have seen a campaign advertisement attacking GAP coalition partner the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). The ad emphasizes that HSUS gives only one percent of its budget to animal shelters, but a deeper look at who is funding the campaign suggests the move is really about countering HSUS efforts to hold the food industry accountable.
Mother Jones explains the group behind the campaign, Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF):
The Center for Consumer Freedom largely focuses on opposing laws and regulations that are bad for the food and beverage industries. The group is known for fact-bending ad campaigns downplaying, among other things, the amount of mercury in fish and the number of drunk driving deaths.
Supported by restaurants and other food companies, CCF clearly has donors (though not disclosed) whose bottom line is threatened by the successful tactics of HSUS to reduce animal cruelty in slaughterhouses throughout the country.
But those aren’t the only food industry interests hard at work lately. Proposed "Ag-Gag" legislation, backed by the likes of Monsanto and other agriculture companies, attempts to wrongfully target whistleblowers who expose wrongdoing at farm operations via undercover video. We can't forget it was HSUS video footage that vindicated the late Dr. Dean Wyatt, the former USDA veterinarian who blew the whistle on humane handling violations at two slaughterhouses.
Instead of funding efforts to stigmatize the ones fighting for an accountable supply chain, why don’t agribusinesses direct their dollars to making our food source one of integrity?
Sarah Damian is New Media Associate for the Government Accountability Project, the nation's leading whistleblower protection and advocacy organization.