June 17, 2018

HSUS Files Complaint Over National Pork Board’s Lobbying Efforts

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office of the Inspector General asking for an investigation into the National Pork Board’s use of federal checkoff dollars to support National Pork Producer Council’s (NPCC) lobbying. The Pork Board is prohibited by law from spending funds to influence legislation. Records obtained by HSUS indicate the Pork Board sponsored and participated in NPPC Alliance program activities. The National Pork Board collects money from producers through the pork checkoff program.

Jonathan Lovvorn, senior vice president and chief council for animal protection litigation at HSUS said, “the National Pork Producers council lobbies for large factory farms at the expense of family farms and animal welfare and appears to be using federal checkoff dollars to advance its extreme agenda. If checkoff funds have been illegally diverted to lobbying, USDA should take swift action to ensure America’s pig farmers are not footing the bill for the pork industry’s high-priced lobbyists.

The complaint has three main points. The complaint alleges that NPB is prohibited from participating in lobbying activities, that the Pork Alliance program is precisely the sort of legislative activity contemplated by the various legal prohibitions, and that records indicate the Pork Board is funding and participating in prohibited Alliance Program legislative activity.

As an example of lobbying ability, the HSUS alleges that the NPCC tried to block the egg industry’s efforts to establish a nationwide set of standards to improve the treatment of egg-laying hens.NPCC also lists the Pork Board among its high-donor Alliance Partners, which HSUS asserts may falsely suggest industry endorsement of its legislative policies.

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