Livestock Groups Find Support at County Fairs in Animal Rights Debate


A group on the side of farmers in the animal rights debate wants to show strength in numbers, and they're finding a friendly audience at the county fair.

With top two breeding heifers, Dawson Dey is a big winner at the York County Fair.

"Got a grand champion and reserve champion," he said.

Agriculture is a way of life on the family farm and feedlot.

Dawson said, "Sometimes I drive tractors and clean sheds."

The county fair proves to be a friendly audience to a group called We Support Agriculture, putting a positive face on animal welfare issues.

"To be the opposition against animal extremist groups," Jolanda Junge said. "We're particularly concerned about PETA and HSUS, the Humane Society of the United States that we firmly believe has nothing to do with humane societies."

Their chief target is HSUS. NTV spoke with the group's CEO Wayne Pacelle in 2013. He said the group is a mainstream organization looking out for animals, something Pacelle says farmers don’t necessarily do.

He said, "Animals are not the central concern for the producer. It’s driven by production."

HSUS has supported legislation in other states, but not in Nebraska, where the governor is the loudest critic.

Junge, of We Support Ag said, "That's one of our concerns right now is Gov. Heineman has been a huge opponent of extremist groups and a huge supporter of ag. He's been very verbal. With him leaving office and turnover in senators, that is of some concern. We've got to get the message out."

So Junge makes the rounds at county fairs, showing thousands of Nebraskans agree with groups like the Cattlemen, Pork Producers, and Farm Bureau who fund We Support Ag.

"If you like steak you support agriculture," she said.

Don’t be surprised if you see We Support Ag stickers showing up at fairs and other ag events, as the farm side of this debate tries to send a message.