South Dakota Ranked Least Humane State

Last week the Rapid City Journal (RCJ) ran a story and interviewed a good friend of ours.  It’s not everyday a South Dakota Rancher gets an in color picture on the front page of the Journal.

East Coast Group Ranks South Dakota Least Humane State was the name of the article.  The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) gave South Dakota a poor status due to lack of producers following HSUS’s recommended farming regulations.  According to HSUS’s 66 item list of humanitarian animal policies South Dakota meets eight of the standards.  In addition, all of our neighboring states have relatively low ranks too.

The article states HSUS’s “checklist includes a dozen recommended animal-fighting restrictions, a half dozen animal-cruelty penalties, 18 hunting, trapping and sale restrictions and seven farm animal restrictions. The list also includes rules for horse protection, dog breeding, exotic pet ownership and animal research.”

The South Dakota State Veterinarian reported that his office receives close to 100 livestock maltreatment complaints per year. Of those 100 cases about 10 turn out to be actual cases of inhumane animal abuse.  There is an estimate 17,000 livestock producing farms and ranches in our state.  The State Veterinarian is confident in the system South Dakota uses to handle maltreatment of livestock.

According to the State Veterinarian local Humane Societies handle cases of inhumane and abuse of small animals.  Primarily dogs and cats.

I read the RCJ article and was okay with it.  I think it brings a real issue to the table hinting at HSUS’s “one size fits all” political campaign.  I was happy with the individuals the Journal visited with, real life people involved with agriculture on a daily basis.

Our friend sent me a message asking if I had read the comments section of the article.  Well no, so I went back and did so.

Several comments were from livestock or dairy producers encouraging individuals outside the agriculture community to make sure to do their homework.  Sharing that HSUS is NOT a local Humane Society.  In fact, they are a Washington D.C. based lobbying group that spends ½ of 1% of their budget supporting animal shelters.

One commenting individual from Lead, SD is a HSUS member.  After reading the comments, I have the feeling “luv4animals” is misinformed about the organization he/she belongs to.  They stated the huge need for laws to protect companion animals and that HSUS has no agenda concerning the abolishment of animal agriculture.  Actually “luv4animals” was not the only commenter that said the legislation HSUS proposes has nothing to do with animal agriculture.

Several people expressed worry about dogs and cats, stating there is research to support that many serial killers started their careers by torturing and abusing small animals.

I wanted to share this article with you for a couple of reasons:

1.  For the agriculture community this article is proof that telling our story and sharing the truth about our livelihood is being heard.  We have come a long way “agvocating.”  After reading some of the comments related to this article, we have a ways to go to reveal the truth behind anti-animal agriculture groups.

2.  For the non-agriculture community I hope this article gives you some food for thought.  I hope you do some honest research and know the truth behind the agendas of organizations like HSUS.


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22 Responses to South Dakota Ranked Least Humane State

  1. Candy C. says:

    Organizations like that just tee me off! They sit in their offices on THE EAST COAST and try to legislate things they have no comprehension of. The statement about serial killers got me to thinking…if they make a LAW that it is illegal to torture small animals will that make those people stop and think, “Jeez, I better not do this, it’s against the law!” I think NOT!!
    Sorry, I get carried away sometimes! Good post, thanks Robyn!

    • Robyn says:

      It’s OK to get carried away sometimes. You make a great point about the serial killers, Candy. I have heard about that research before and think there is something to it. At the same time, taking a human life is a much more serious crime than an animal life and they still consciously do it.

  2. Thank you for the great post. I thought it was interesting that the South Dakota State Veterinarian found only 10 cases of inhumane animal abuse. It looks like 16,990 livestock producers are doing a good job of caring for animals.

    The majority of livestock and dairy producers do an excellent job caring for their animals. For the very small minority who don’t, there are regulations in place to handle them. No need for HSUS to dictate how farmers treat for animals. WE are the experts in humane animal treatment. After all, we care for them daily. How often does an HSUS employee visit a farm?

    • Robyn says:

      I took it as 17,000 farms and ranches. Most Farmers and Ranchers are married and have children. So, we are talking about a lot more than 17,000 people.

      I agree the majority of producers are experts on humane animal treatment, especially on our own operations. There will always be poor livestock people who don’t properly feed and care for their animals, but I really think they are a minority.

  3. Debbie says:

    Hello Robyn! Great post… We all need to be on our toes when it comes to any government organization! But just for fun, I’m passing on the Versatile Blogger Award to you for writing such a varied topic blog. Thanks for all you do to add to our blogging community! Visit my blog to see how ( and if ) you will accept!

  4. Kim says:

    Thanks for this blog. I get so frustrated trying to combat HSUS. Just within the last week, I pointed out to a “friend” on Facebook that HSUS wasn’t her local humane shelter caring for unwanted kitties and puppies, adding that HSUS wants to do away with animal agriculture. She was unconvinced. She’s not the first one I’ve run across with the same unwavering attitude. This person grew up in a rural community in Kansas, but now lives in a big city in Arizona. She’s not a member of HSUS, but she was advocating for them by passing along a link. So frustrating! Hopefully, the people who looked at her comments also saw mine.

  5. Janelle says:

    Good job, Robyn! Just reading the title of the article was provoking me to anger. I was wondering how many items on HSUS’s checklist really pertained to South Dakota’s Ag community. You answered my question.

  6. I think sometimes the more rural you are, the harder it is. Let’s face it – we just don’t have the interest and funding for animal shelters that the big cities do. I know our local shelter has been in the news (negatively) a few times, but I also think they are doing the best they can with what they have, and I have talked with people that work with and they do care. Are things operating as smoothly as a larger, city operation? Nope, but I’m sure if they had the funds from the public they’d do a lot better. Maybe one day the $ they need will be there.

    Thanks for linking up with Rural Thursdays!!

  7. I had heard about this and knew, coming from HSUS, there was an agenda behind it.

    Rural farmers and ranchers, for the most part, know how to treat animals humanely, as it is their bread and butter.

    Thank you for sharing this information at Rural Thursday. Great post.

    • Robyn says:

      Thank You, Nancy.
      It is a continual up hill battle. HSUS has so much money and seems to be gaining more and more power. I don’t know if Agriculture Advocates can stop them, but we can slow them down with education and awareness.

  8. Have a nice week. Greetings from Romania.

  9. Tanya says:

    very enlightening ….

  10. Robyn says:

    For anyone who is interested I found a link from Humane Watch giving an editoral response to this article in the RCJ:

  11. Clint Baker says:

    Hopped over from the Hop. Thanks for posting really enjoyed it. Wanted to invite you and your friends over for our give away!

  12. Thank you for posting this. I, like others, was upset when I read the title. It does seem that the right people spoke up for the rancher. If we did not tend to our animals properly, we would not be able to make a living. I wouldn’t mind if some of these folks had to check cows at calving season with me…ummm, how about the 3 AM check during a blizzard?!! They would find out just how much compassion we have for our business.

    • Robyn says:

      Like I said to an earlier comment, listening, telling our ranch story and education is the best way to combat this misinformation. Some will never see what we do as useful, but we still must listen and share our story.

      Thanks for stopping in and leaving a comment NoDak! Look forward to following life on a North Dakota Hereford Ranch.

  13. Teresa says:

    Lots of ignorance and misinformation out there.

  14. Amy Kirk says:

    good job on this post. In our recent issue of “Range” magazine (p.69), there was a blurb about how Ringling Bros. counter sued the HSUS under the Racketeer Influence & Corrupt Organizations act after the HSUS’s lawsuit to stop them from using Asian elaphants was dismissed. Dec. 2009 the judge dismissed the lawsuit, finding that the HSUS’s paid ($190,000 annually) plaintiff (a former circus employee) was not a credible witness and was paid just to keep their plaintiff involved w/the litigation.

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