Food News

Battle Heats Up Over Factory-Farmed Food

This week's feature story, "Down on the Farm," chronicles an increasingly heated national battle over "factory-farmed" food.

On one side: a phalanx of corporation- and family-owned farms across the country.

On the other: the Washington, D.C.-based Humane Society of the United States.

Caught in the middle: independent farmers and voters.

Voters? Indeed. The Humane Society is marching its lobbyists from state to state, asking politicians and voters to change the way America eats by outlawing the confinement practices that have become de rigueur in mass meat and dairy production.

Since the effort began a decade ago, the animal-rights activists have yet to cede a single election or legislative vote to the farm and food industries. This year's contest, though, could shatter the perfect record.

The battleground is Ohio.

Our sister paper Riverfront Times traveled far and wide to report this story: from a sprawling sheep farm in New Florence, Missouri, to ground zero of the lobbying industry in Washington, D.C., to an agriculture college in Fargo, North Dakota.

There are lots of characters represented.

Without giving it all away, we'll just present a couple extra multimedia features here below.

The first features a South Dakota rancher named Troy Hadrick. He's become the de facto spokesman for the Humane Society haters. He came to this vocation after a life-changing experience with one very influential journalist.

Below is a video he filmed back in February. It went viral and caused Yellow Tail to pull a major pledge to the Humane Society.

Just as we were putting this story to bed, the Humane Society came out with some videos from a recent "undercover investigation." The group took the footage in several Iowa egg production facilities. Does that mean Iowa will be next? Wayne Pacelle, president and ceo of the Humane Society, won't say.

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Kristen Hinman