What do Cracker Barrel, Kellog’s, McDonald’s, Cheescake factory all have in common? They are all backing, or showing their support for the policies of HSUS. So, what does that have to do with this blog and letter from home? Well, there was a time when a well written letter from a motivated concerned citizen in the local paper could make a change. I have come to decide that blogging is the twentieth century version of the letter to the editor, with a potential wider range of readers.
Given my rural roots and agriculture concerns, it concerned me greatly when I heard that Cracker Barrel of all retailers was backing social, legal changes proposed for the pork industry from HSUS. Why would any restaurant want to work with a group that has as a stated goal the end of all animal agriculture in America? Maybe Cracker Barrel is going vegan…
I decided that an email would be in order. After long pondering, I have also decided to share that email and it’s reply with you.
From: Samantha Mclerran
Sent: Saturday, June 16, 2012 7:36 PM
To: Davis Julie 901
Subject: Consumer concerns over your companies stance on crate free pork
Dear Ms. Davis,
I have long been a proud customer of Cracker Barrel Stores and an American Agriculturist, but I am very concerned about your recent decision to validate the concerns of the HSUS and demand crate free pork. While my husband and I are beef producers, we have many friends that raise pork and will be affected by these industry pressured changes.
I grew up with pigs, and my Grandfather was a Veterinarian. It was and still is a common practice to restrain a sow (female pig) after delivery to keep her from harming her piglets. She can step on them or even eat them for no reason. This practice is the basis of gestation crates.
As agriculturist, farmers want their animals to be healthy and well maintained because a lost or ill animal is inhumane.
Now, I would like to take a moment and ask if you at Cracker Barrel are aware of the agenda of the HSUS?
They raised over $120 million dollars in 2010, and less than 1% went to support animals or animal rescue. They run NO animal shelters in Tennessee. Their Tennessee director spends most of her time lobbying at the capital and makes around $100,000 a year. HSUS has around $35 million in a hedge fund just sitting around.
Wayne Pacelle, CEO of HSUS has been quoted as saying…
“We believe in the Three Rs – reducing the consumption of meat and other animal-based foods; refining the diet by eating products only from methods of production, transport, and slaughter that minimize pain and distress; and replacing meat and other animal-based foods in the diet with plant-based foods.”
– Wayne Pacelle, President/CEO Farm & Dairy Magazine, 2009
and then there is…
“The Meat Industry Equals Systematic Murder.”
– sign carried by Paul Shapiro during Compassion Over Killing protest (prior to joining HSUS as Campaign Senior Director) The Washington Post, 2003
“My goal is the abolition of all animal agriculture.”
– John “J.P.” Goodwin, Director of Animal Cruelty Policy and former Animal Liberation Front spokesperson
So, my question to Cracker Barrel is why would a restaurant want to associate itself with an organization dedicated to the abolition of animal based agriculture in America?
Do you think your menu will do well as a vegetarian based store?
I eagerly await your comments, and will not hesitate to inform all thousand or so of my Facebook friends, my blog readers, and my twitter followers about your recent decisions.
Samantha E. McLerran, MD FAAFP
Ten days later, not to bad in the busy cooperate world, I got the following reply…
Dear Ms. Mclerran, (However, I would like to point out its Dr not Ms)
Thank you for your message. I am sorry for your disappointment regarding Cracker Barrel’s recent announcement about beginning to formulate plans that provide for a pork supply system within Cracker Barrel that is free of gestation crates. Please know that we are at the very beginning of this process and we expect to learn quite a bit along the way, and that our intention is to continue offering a variety of high quality pork products, including our thick-sliced bacon, smoked sausage patties, country and sugar cured ham, and bone-in pork chops. You appear to be informed on this topic and so you are no doubt aware that Cracker Barrel is joining a number of other food-service companies in reviewing this situation. We will continue to work closely with our suppliers, who are highly experienced in meeting the challenge of consistently providing quality products for our guests to enjoy. I am glad that you have enjoyed your visits with us in the past and, again, regret your current disappointment. I hope we have the opportunity to serve you again in the future.
Julie Davis (Corp. Comm. Director, Cracker Barrel)
Well, I got a reply. I should be happy now, right. But what exactly did she say? That they are at the beginning of the process of formulating plans to provide for a pork supply free from gestation crates. I guess that explains her quotes in the following article from the Tennessean…
Cracker Barrel to Pursue Crate free pork
I support any industries right to make a business decision based on their own business plan, but what worries me is when private industries becomes pressured by social groups/trends to “fit in” with the popular culture..
I do not agree with any group trying to legislate their own personal or group agenda on the rest of America as a society. HSUS has decided that a veggietarian lifestyle is better for us as a society and henceforth wants to legislate the rest of us into compliance.
Their are plenty of sites to educate you about the agenda of HSUS. You can google their tax returns or check out HSUS 2010 tax forms to see how many million dollars they spend on travel, salaries, lobbing, advertising, etc. and how very little they spend on animal care.
If I am reading my tax form correctly HSUS made over $120 million dollars in 2010 and spent just under 2% on direct animal care.
I have no objections with a person choosing to be an animal rights supporter. For that matter, I am an animal rights supporter, but I think we should fix the problems in our society like children being hungry and elderly people with our access to heat or medicines.
I hope people in our society, with the current boom in social media, can start to reach out and find out farm information from actual farmers and ranchers. I realize that not every animal care practice is easily understood by the modern public. I took an informal poll this week, and of my non-farming friends crate free pork does not sound so good if 2-3 piglets get eaten by the mamma pig.
I hope that you will take the time to look into the places and groups you support. Write a few emails and maybe we can make a change. Let people know why you will or won’t be doing business with them.
To an animal producer, or animals are our livelihood and their health and well being is vital to the well being of our farms. I can agree that in any industry there are bad apples, but there are no more bad farmers than there are bad politicians. HSUS tries to label us all as factory farms and mass producers. Tat is no more fair than saying that all animal rights activist are willing to sling blood on people that were fur coats.