Right to Farm Bill Pushed by Forrest Lucas of Lucas Oil Stadium
NEWS– Earlier this month, we shared warnings from Hoosier Environmental Council (HEC), about Senate Joint Resolution 12 (SJR-12), which is oddly called Indiana’s “Right to Farm” act. Many small farmers attended the committee hearing to testify they didn’t need constitutional permission to farm their land. They already have those rights and have farmed their land for hundreds of years without any problems. So, why are republican lawmakers wanting to push this divisive bill on Hoosiers?
In a word, money.
It seems the one group which came to support enshrining Big Ag in our constitution was an innocent sounding nonprofit called Protect the Harvest. Apparently, this one small group was very persuasive since the resolution passed the committee by a vote of 6-2. One small nonprofit against small farmers who’ve been farming in Indiana for generations.
As a result of the favorable vote, HEC shared these words with us:
SJR 12 is extreme and unnecessary because enshrining such a right in Indiana’s constitution would make any future efforts to enact safeguards from industrial agricultural pollution vulnerable to a constitutional challenge. We are disappointed to see the Senate Agriculture Committee approve this measure 6-2 today, but will continue our dedicated efforts alongside consumer, public health, animal welfare, environmental and, above all, concerned farmers to stop this measure by the end of the long legislative session.”
As a quick refresher, we’ve written plenty about the origins of “Right to Farm”. It comes from the same place “Right to Work” came from…the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC for short. Straight from Wikipedia:
The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is a nonprofit organization of conservative state legislators and private sector representatives that drafts and shares model state-level legislation for distribution among state governments in the United States.
Corporations pay a membership fee to be part of ALEC allowing them preferential treatment with conservative lawmakers who want to exchange cash for a legal sized typed out bill. All you have to do is put your state’s name across the top and add your signature. Yes, ALEC pimps out lawmakers for cash. If you’re a politician and eager to make a buck, you go to the Koch brothers. They’ll arrange for you to meet a CEO in the state where you’re running for office. After a day of wine and fine food, and taking advantage of luxurious hotel amenities on the taxpayer’s dime, the exchange will finally take place.
In the case of the twice failed Right to Farm Act (SJR-12), apparently Senator Jean Leising (R-Oldenburg) was for sale and Forrest Lucas of Lucas Oil Stadium came a calling. As we’ve discovered, Mr. Lucas has an axe to grind with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and he’s willing to pay out big bucks to push his agenda. He set up a nonprofit front group called Protect the Harvest and a political action committee under the same name to go on the attack.
On Lucas Oil’s website, Forrest made the following statement about his relatively new nonprofit endeavor:
Protect The Harvest exist to defend our way of life, preserve our food freedom, and stand up for America’s farmers, hunters and animal owners.” Forrest Lucas says. As he stood from the podium to encourage these farm activists to fight back and defend our America families, farmers, hunters and animal owners from the growing threat posed by the radical animal rights movements and the negative effects from organization like the HSUS (Humane Society of the Untied States). [sic]
According to his Lucas Cattle website, Forrest invited over 400 Indiana farm leaders to his mansion in Carmel for a pep talk on Protect the Harvest. An observer writes:
Everyone in the room was impressed with his vision, his focus, and his commitment to supporting agriculture. The room erupted into applause when he said, “I want my legacy to be that I was the guy who beat HSUS.” While Mr. Lucas is very rich and very powerful, he cannot and should not go it alone. Farmers and others who support agriculture and our rural way of life need to support this organization.
It appears that Forrest Lucas took a disliking to the Human Society of the United States (HSUS), and started this organization to smear their reputation. We’ve reached out to our contacts within HSUS to find out what started this feud. From our research, it started in Iowa, but we’ll write a background story on what caused this when we learn more.
We find it amazing that Forrest Lucas would consider CAFO’s a “rural way of life”. There is nothing charming about these confined animal feed lots. We wonder if Senator Leising has actually visited a CAFO and talked with the illegal immigrants who work on Big Ag corporate farms. We also know there is nothing charming about spraying toxic manure over farm fields which drain off into local ditches. The EPA has warned Indiana to clean up its mess, but our Governor retaliated with lawsuits. Talk about being entrenched in the Farm Bureau. Now we know how Forrest got his name on Indy’s football stadium.
Michael Becket with Public Integrity asked Joe Maxwell, vice president of community outreach with HSUS, what he thought about Protect the Harvest claims. He said:
That’s baloney. Humane Society of the United States is leading efforts to ensure that we have good stewards of the land and the animals on our farms.
Protect the Harvest is nothing but a front group that is in bed with industrialized agriculture.
It sounds like “Protect the Harvest” is another “Heartland Institute” or “Indiana Policy Review” or Mind Trust” – front groups for Billionaires who want to push an agenda.
National animal rights groups like the HSUS, PETA and the ASPCA have become urban concentrated vegan cults. They raise millions of dollars by pretending to take care of dogs and cats, then spend it on attacks on agriculture and hunting. Local shelters complain about their aggressive fund raising sucking up all the money, so animals go wanting. ALL THREE HAVE CONCOCTED STORIES ABOUT ANIMAL ABUSE. They have little or no experience with the animals they claim to protect and either misconstrue legitimate animal husbandry or take isolated instances of animal cruelty and say they are the norm. They oppose hunting and rodeo. Their goal is to stop hunting by increments, passing laws against individual methods of hunting or shorten hunting seasons. They get away with this because of the urban population of the US is separated from its food production and large or wild animals. The country has become a society of small pet owners who view livestock the same as small lap dogs. If these groups have their way, primates will have the same rights as humans and meat eating will be outlawed. According to Bloomberg Financial Reports, their attack on food production is already causing an increase in cost. So unless you want to end up paying $10.00 a doz. for eggs, $20.00 a lb. for bacon $30.00 a lb. for chicken and $50.00 a lb. for beef, don’t support these groups.
I agree with Randy about our meat prices being way too low. However, it’s primarily because meat producers have shifted many of their costs to the government and consumers. There are many costs not picked up by the economists/advocates who push these “scare tactics” on consumers.
It’s the same thing when the EPA steps in to say the government is tired of paying the costs of private industry pollution. Time for polluters to pay. Next thing we have some innocent named nonprofit telling everybody that alternative energy, like wind and solar are too expensive, and all you coal loving electric customers are going to pay more for their monthly utility bills. You’re right, we are going to pay more for our electric and meat bills.
But, do you know where consumers will make that up?
They’ll eat less meat laden with antibiotics and steroids which has been causing us to get sick more often. It’s also leading to super-bugs which are immune to current strains of antibiotics. Thus, causing people to die from common infections. We’ll also save money on high cholesterol and high blood pressure pills. Eating less cheap meat might mean less people become Type II diabetics, or worse. Hoosiers rank 48th in health and wellness. Do you think this has a cost associated with it?
Ever hear of the China Study? Once the Chinese started eating a Western diet of more meat, guess what happened? More cancer and other preventable diseases.
Let’s talk about the costs to our environment – our groundwater contamination, air and waterways. Look at all the lakes which are becoming full of algae blooms in the Summer from too many proteins. How much does it cost to clean up all this mess? When thousands of fish are killed due to a spill, or gland systems of fish, animals and humans become altered, what price shall we assign?
When you present an argument about price, make sure you add all the costs associated with producing cheap meat confined on feed lots, and factor in the consequences to us and our environment. There is no such thing as “cheap meat”.