April 1, 2014 — An Idaho woman and self-proclaimed animal rights activist formerly (and vocally) opposed to the agriculture security bill wrote about how dramatically her opinion has changed. The reason? She learned more about the behavior of Mercy for Animals from the organization itself.
Mercy For Animals released a video filmed on the Bettencourt Dairy, about 25 miles from where Geno resides in Shoshone, Idaho. She immediately wrote to her lawmakers and the dairy to protest the animal abuse and urge the Idaho legislature to vote against Bill S1337.
But then, as she wrote in her letter to the editor, “The real story began to emerge.”
“I heard terrible stories about Mercy for Animals’ filming for days without bringing abuse to authorities or owners,” Geno wrote. “MFA went after Bettencourt’s customers. Then came MFA’s belated release of its video to Idaho authorities. Since that time, the Bettencourt family has been under constant abuse – death threats, boycotts, harassment of its employees’ families and its customers”
Geno said she called MFA and spoke at length to one of its representatives trying to understand its stance.
“I was shocked that, far from simply ending animal abuse, MFA is intent on putting the Bettencourt Dairy out of business without regard to the people employed there, the Bettencourt family or the 35,000 head of dairy cattle,” she wrote.
That’s also what prompted the Idaho Dairymen’s Association to endorse the legislation.
“They do attack the owners,” Bob Naerebout told DairyLine. “Mr. Bettencourt did everything proper. He’s a great animal lover, protects his animals and was offended when people he had hired were abusing the animals – so he took all the appropriate actions.”
He says If Mercy for Animals had stopped and just exposed what they saw as animal abuse without attacking the owner, then the agriculture industry wouldn’t have run this legislation.
“That’s not their agenda, MFA’s goal is to put animal agriculture out of business,” he said. “They do not want food being made from animal products. So, it’s time to expose what their real agenda is, and it’s not animal care.”
The ag security bill was crafted through the Idaho Dairymen’s Association, but the rest of the agriculture industry absorbed it as their bill with the belief that today it’s the dairy industry and animal agriculture as the target. Tomorrow it could be a row crop operation involving GMO’s or other categories.
“This bill was totally absorbed by agriculture as a whole and pushed by agriculture and that’s one of the reasons we were able to be so successful,” Naerebout concluded.