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The reason is clear

The time has come for the everyday consumer to understand who the Humane Society of the United States really is and, clearly, it is not your guardian of animals. Rather, they are human haters and they work each day to eliminate animals from human lives. Wayne Pacelle recently made a trip to my home state, the great livestock state of Nebraska, and continued to spout his rhetoric without much regard for honesty. I have little concern about Nebraska being one of the upcoming states on their target list because Nebraskans, be they farmers or not, will send him the right message: You and your high-dollar suits can stay in D.C. where people might buy into your misguided thinking. We here in the Great Plains can see right through you.

Pacelle gave an interview to the Kearney Hub while he was in central Nebraska, and he stated on camera that Australia and the European Union are ahead of us in phasing out the modern care facilities that we currently use in livestock agriculture. OK, but here is what he forgot to mention.

Not since the days of early European settlement has Australia been a net importer of food. What started as a necessary means of survival with them being so far from the mother country, grew until their agricultural surplus fed far more people overseas than at home.

Australian farmers, once producing an abundance, decided to follow the advice of the animal welfare radicals and phase out modern production technologies. Now the Food and Grocery Council confirms that the Australian food industry is officially a net importer of food. State of the Industry 2010 found that for the first time in decades, the food industry's international net trade position fell from a $4.5 billion surplus in 2004-2005 to a $1.8 billion deficit in 2009-2010. The industry has called for a whole-of-government national strategy to ensure food and grocery manufacturing's long-term growth, increase export earnings and boost competitiveness.

The EU has doubled its consumption of imported food since 1997 where now one in two bites of food come from another country. In the same time frame, the cost of food in the EU has increased by 33 percent per capita. Where exactly would all of the food be produced to feed the people of this country if we were forced to import half of all we need to feed Americans?

All of this comes thanks to the rejection of modern technologies in food production. So as Wayne brags about production systems used in these countries to those who don't really know the facts, he isn't telling the real story. Animal agriculture improves human lives, and in these countries milk, meat and eggs are becoming a luxury that only the wealthy, like Pacelle, can afford.

Let's remind ourselves that in the United States we still spend less than 10 percent of our disposable income on food. So the question needs to be asked: "If we going to the follow the EU or Australian food model for food production, what are you personally going to give up?" If you have to spend twice as much for food, something else will have to go. What will that be?

Finally, I want to come back to why we truly need animal agriculture. Milk, meat and eggs improve human lives. The cost of not eating animal products is apparent in a recent World Health Organization report, which shows that there are 10.8 million child deaths globally every year. Over 2 million of those, or 19 percent of the total, is attributed to zinc, vitamin A and iron deficiencies. Malaria, by comparison, causes less than 1 million child deaths a year. Need I remind you that animal products provide those basic nutrients more efficiently to the human body than any other source and those who do not have access to them must suffer the consequences.

Research here in the United States has shown an increase in cases of mental illness and depression at unprecedented levels. Protein intake and intake of individual amino acids can affect brain functioning and mental health. Many of the neurotransmitters in the brain are made from amino acids. If the needed amino acid is not available, levels of that particular neurotransmitter in the brain will fall causing brain function and mood to be affected.

Zinc, iron and protein are vitally important for healthy living, and our agricultural system has allowed the United States consumer to have access to these vital nutrients at a lower cost than anywhere else in the world. So why else would someone like Pacelle be jet-setting around the country talking about increasing the costs of basic food ingredients unless he was an elitist human hater?

I plan to continue to celebrate the accomplishments of American agriculture. In case you didn't notice at Thanksgiving, we still have a plentiful supply of reasonably priced, healthy, delicious foods. Let's not change that.

Editor's note: Trent Loos is a sixth generation United States farmer, host of the daily radio show, Loos Tales, and founder of Faces of Agriculture, a non-profit organization putting the human element back into the production of food. Get more information at www.FacesOfAg.com, or e-mail Trent at trent@loostales.com.

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