Friday, December 17, 2004

For Immediate Release December 16, 2004
For more information contact
Amy Winters, President
Capitol Strategies, LLC
(608) 235-8443

Madison and Dane County Phosphorus Bans Spur Lawsuit
Group says bans ignore science and the law

Madison….Local retailers and trade associations filed a lawsuit in federal court yesterday against the City of Madison and Dane County seeking to overturn ordinances passed earlier this year that ban the display, sale or use of most lawn fertilizers containing phosphorus.

The group representing local hardware stores and lawn care businesses, farm supply retailers, and the specialty fertilizer industry said the bans, which are scheduled to take effect next month, put area retailers at an unfair disadvantage, are illegal and will do little to clean up area lakes.

Ann Smith, an attorney with Michael Best and Friedrich LLP, who filed the lawsuit on behalf of the group, said that the ordinances are preempted by state and federal laws, and violate several provisions of the State and U.S. Constitutions, including the Commerce Clause, the Equal Protection Clause and the First Amendment free speech guarantee. “These ordinances deliberately ignore constitutional law and state and federal law,” said Smith. “We are confident the Court will agree.”

Ed Knapton, owner of America’s Best Flowers Garden Center in Cottage Grove said the ordinances makes him and other retailers the fertilizer police because they are required to find out where people live, how they plan to use the fertilizer or make them show test results to prove they need it. “Our competitors across the county line don’t have this burden or restriction,” said Knapton adding that he is also unable to display legal products in his store.

According to Amy Winters, President of Capitol Strategies, LLC a government relations firm representing the chemical and specialty fertilizer industry, “state and federal laws prohibit local regulation of weed and feed products in order to avoid confusing, conflicting and unnecessary rules for those who manufacture, sell and use those products. The burden that these ordinances place on local retailers, lawn care providers and homeowners is unacceptable.”

In addition to violating state and federal laws, the group also asserts that the ordinances ignore science. “Fertilized turf is actually better at stopping phosphorus runoff than grass without fertilizer,” Winters said referring to Research at the UW Turfgrass Research Center that shows healthy, dense grass fertilized with phosphorus limits runoff to almost nothing. “The issue is about sound policy and utilizing sound science to achieve it; the Madison and Dane County ordinances do neither and add further insult by blatantly violating state and federal laws.”

Below is a letter to the editor written on behalf of NCA by President Preston Wright in response to the wild horse supporters, who oppose sale authority given to the BLM in the 2005 Omnibus Bill.

Letter to the Editor:

Wild horses are in conflict with healthy rangelands, rather than with ranchers and their livestock. In this time when current range management theory dictates that public land ranchers need to have some grazing system, some method for rotating the areas his or her livestock use in order to provide periods of rest for the range, it is simply no longer acceptable that large herds of horses graze the same range all year, every year.

No one is proposing that all the wild horses be removed from the ranges; the sale of older horses is simply the most practical way to allow for the reduction of horse numbers to levels which approach a balance with the health of their ranges. The numbers of livestock are controlled by permits and seasons of use. Numbers of wildlife are controlled by hunting quotas and predators and migration. Wild horse numbers are set by the Wild Horse and Burro Act and the regulations which implement it. Wild horse numbers are uncontrolled when the BLM’s hands, as they are now, are tied by legal appeals and budgetary limits; wild horse numbers are controlled in that case only by drought and starvation, and that method is particularly cruel to both the ravaged country and the ravenous creature.

That ranchers have complained about unrestricted wild horse for decades is undeniable. That the BLM has been granted the authority to sell older horses outright, after nearly forty years of the Wild Horse and Burro Act, is a testament to the fact that many proponents of wild horses have seen the reality of excess wild horses and have quietly stepped aside. It’s not that the ranchers have finally won. It simply that the same range science which has greatly restricted the way livestock are grazed in the West has finally come to face the reality of uncontrolled grazing by the people’s horses in Nevada.

In the unending effort to balance natural resource access and management conflicts upon the West’s rangelands, nearly every group has been willing to come to the table and put their “money where their mouth is”. Ranchers, sportsmen, and environmental groups, all have accepted the need for, and have made, mitigating contributions. The wild horse advocates howling now have never done anything but ask for more, probably because it has all been free—they’ve not even had to stand the emotional price of seeing animals mummified alive due to starvation and drought.

Limited sale authority of excess wild horses will give the BLM the tool for which they have always expressed a need, in order to return the wild horse herds to levels which will allow for a balance between healthy native plant communities and forage and water in amounts proper for a horse.

Preston Wright, Deeth, NV.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Hi Trent,

I think people need to read their Bibles like they were meant to be read. Literally, completely and in context.

Romans 14:20, is not the profound eco-ecumenical doctrine. If these people would read the entire portion of Paul's letter to the, then, new church in Rome, they would realize that Paul was teaching the Jewish converts not to condemn the gentile converts for not following the Mosaic law (circumcision, kosher meat, worshipping on Saturday), and teaching the gentile converts not to condemn the Jewish converts for not eating unclean meat, etc.etc. (Romans 14:17,20)

The point Paul was trying to express was that God loved them so much, (not that any of us have ever deserved it), He, in our form, became the only acceptable restitution for our disobedience. He taught that we should reciprocate God's compassion to all of mankind instead of bickering over petty details. Go figure...

My advice to these people is to get right with Jehovah and stop taking scripture out of context to promote ignorant, selfish agendas. I resent people misrepresenting my faith, as much we resent vego-yuppies slandering our agricultural livelihood.

They would do good to pay special attention to 14:4, "Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth..."

Now, in my brief existence, I have only met two people that disrespect and neglect the land and critters. Two out of hundreds. It's a dirty shame that people like those two give us such a bad wrap. I hope they get it together, because there is so much good they could accomplish.

As for me, I'm just gonna take care of what God has given me, and do what He says.
("Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men." Romans 12:17,18)

I don't want to sound too sanctimonious, because I'm just as human as anybody else. I just know that God loved me enough to die for me, and while I'm not in any way perfect, He unquestionably is.

Thanks Trent, for representing us earthy folks accurately.

Sincerely,
Jared Lloyd
Livestock Producer
Molina, Colorado

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Mr. Loos,

Looks like Scully is on the right track, but doesn't have his facts straight either, much like your misinformation on BSE from the 22 November BSE refresher.

Some relevant correlations from your commentary : The Devil'sWork? {Your commentary}{Recently, I was on a panel discussing the future of food production in theUnited States. One of the other panel members was a representative of theUnited Methodist Church, of which I happen to be a member, and she said,"Modern agriculture is the devil's work." }

I could see how Scully could come to that conclusion: "Do not tear down thework of God for the sake of food" (Romans 14:20).

{"News reports following each new "mad-cow" scare - of calves fed a swill of blood and excrement, of downed animals unable even to walk to their death -give the merest glimpse of all the moral shortcuts and man-made miseries of the factory farm. Moral concern has surrendered entirely to economic calculation, leaving no limit to the hurt and privation that "growers" arewilling to inflict upon animals to keep costs down and profits up." }

Maybe a bit of additional color for his readers, but true none the less.

Humane and sustainable production systems do not require confinement livestock, pharmaceuticals, or chemicals to be profitable. Propagandists do however require support from the companies who produce these toxins to continue the dissemination of a doctrine for corporate agriculture.

{I believe God gave humans the intelligence to improve our lives.} You are entitled to your beliefs, but this is hypocritical as the churches for it is the arrogance of humans who think they can consume and control nature through chemistry that bring on the diseases.

{Now that you have the facts, how does it set with you that a portion of the money you put in the collection plate on Sunday is working against you on anational level?}

Facts?: defined as something objectively verified. I am struggling to identify just which points you are referring to as facts. Propaganda is propaganda regardless of the source.

Livestock producer and farmer,

Rick Hopkins Missouri

Friday, October 29, 2004

Humane USA Presidential
2004

Candidate Questionnaire
Candidate: JOHN KERRY
Staff Contact: LUIS NAVARRO
Phone: (202) 548-6800 E-mail: lnavarro@johnkerry.com

The President of the United States has a major impact on public policies that affect the
lives of animals. The Animal Welfare Act, Humane Slaughter Act, Horse Protection Act,
and a long list of other federal laws need proper enforcement if their original purposes are
to be fulfilled. The president also shapes how Congress views new legislative proposals
to protect animals from cruelty and abuse. For more information on animal protection
issues, check our web site at Humaneusa.org (Humane USA). National animal protection
organizations can also provide information at: HSUS.org (Humane Society of the United
States), Fund.org, (Fund for Animals), farmsanctuary.org (Farm Sanctuary), ASPCA.org
(American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), ddal.org (Doris Day
Animal League), and AHA.org (American Humane Association).

General Questions:

What actions have you taken affecting the welfare of animals in the past? Please
include actions taken at the local, state, or federal levels.

In 1995, I lead a successful effort to halt taxpayer subsidies for the mink industry. I have
fought for and secured an increase in funding for existing animal protection laws,
including the Animal Welfare Act and the Humane Slaughter Act in recent years. I
spearheaded efforts to address the plight of seven captive polar bears, owned by the
Suarez Brothers Circus, which travels throughout Central America. I have cosponsored
almost every piece of animal protection legislation - including measures to combat
cockfighting, bear baiting, canned hunts, puppy mills, the bear parts trade, the exotic pet
trade, steel-jawed leghold traps, and the abuse of "downed" livestock.
There is an important bond between humans and animals. How should that bond
impact federal policy?

I think that federal policy is important to protect animals, both wild and domestic, such as
restricting the use of steel-jawed leghold traps and shutting down puppy mills.
Are there any programs or issues of importance to you that you would take the
initiative on after you are elected?

As President, I would continue my efforts to strengthen enforcement of the Animal
Welfare Act and the Humane Slaughter Act. The United States Department of
Agriculture is charged with enforcing the Acts; however, they simply do not have the
resources to adequately get the job done. I find it disturbing that there are only about 100
inspectors nationwide to enforce the Animal Welfare Act - - overseeing not only zoos and
circuses, but puppy mills, laboratories, and animals transported by commercial airlines.
More resources are desperately needed and under a Kerry Administration, dedicating the
necessary resources would be a priority.

Do you have any pets that have made an impact on you personally?

I have always had pets in my life and there are a few that I remember very fondly.
When I was serving on a swiftboat in Vietnam, my crewmates and I had a dog we called
VC. We all took care of him, and he stayed with us and loved riding on the swiftboat
deck. I think he provided all of us with a link to home and a few moments of peace and
tranquility during a dangerous time. One day as our swiftboat was heading up a river, a
mine exploded hard under our boat. After picking ourselves up, we discovered VC was
MIA. Several minutes of frantic search followed after which we thought we'd lost him.
We were relieved when another boat called asking if we were missing a dog. It turns out
VC was catapulted from the deck of our boat and landed confused, but unhurt, on the
deck of another boat in our patrol.

I also fondly remember a parakeet in college, Dodi Faustus. Dodi was a smart bird who
learned a few words of French and Italian, but not smart enough to avoid having to be
rescued from a tree once. My daughters and I had a Golden Retriever named Winston.
Today, Teresa and I have a German Shepherd named Cym and a yellow parakeet.
Executive Actions

As president, would you take any of the following executive actions?

• Halt the use of cruel and indiscriminate steel-jawed leghold traps for commerce or
recreation on national wildlife refuges? _X_ yes ____ no

• Make enforcement of the federal law (Section 26 of the Animal Welfare Act)
against animal fighting a priority within the USDA? _X_ yes ___ no

• Provide adequate funding for enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act, Horse
Protection Act, and Humane Slaughter Act? _X_ yes ___ no

• Establish a national Humane Farming Commission to examine animal welfare
issues in American agriculture? _X_ yes ____ no

• Take strong stands against commercial whaling at the International Whaling
Commission meeting, including a ban on Makah whaling? ___ yes _X_ no

NOTE: I have consistently opposed commercial whaling. At the same time the
U.S. commitment to Native Americans must be honored. I strongly prefer that
there be no lethal takes of whales occur, but I also support Native American treaty
rights. I will be following the current litigation regarding the Makah case closely.
• Support the long-standing U.S. position at the Convention on the International
Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) again the
international trade in ivory? _X_ yes ____ no

Federal Legislation

The following issues are being debated in Congress. We’d like to know your stance on
these important animal protection issues.

CRUELTY

Puppy Mills. While millions of healthy and adoptable animals are euthanized for lack of
enough suitable homes, the commercial dog breeding industry continues to produce
millions of dogs in substandard environments, on operations commonly referred to as
"puppy mills," for the pet trade. Legislation in Congress would create a "3 strikes and
you're out" policy to shut down chronic violators of the Animal Welfare Act and to
establish new rules to stop overbreeding of dogs and the breeding of the animals before
they can safely breed.

WILL YOU SUPPORT ENACTMENT OF LEGISLATION TO ADDRESS
CHRONIC ANIMAL WELFARE PROBLEMS ASSOCIATED WITH PUPPY
MILLS? _X_ yes ___ no

Animal fighting. Dogfighting and cockfighting are massive underground industries, with
millions of dogs and birds bred for fighting and placed in pits to fight to the death. While
the Congress banned any interstate transport or imports or exports of animals for fights,
penalties remain weak and insufficient to deter animal fighting enthusiasts.

WILL YOU SUPPORT ADOPTION OF FELONY-LEVEL PENALTIES FOR
VIOLATIONS OF THE FEDERAL ANIMAL FIGHTING LAW? _X_ yes ___ no

Laboratory Animals. Of all of the animals used in research, 95% of them are mice, rats,
and birds. Though they feel pain just as other warm-blooded animals do, these animals
are not covered by the humane care standards established under the Animal Welfare Act.
WILL YOU SUPPORT THE INCLUSION OF BIRDS, RATS, AND MICE IN
ANIMAL WELFARE ACT ENFORCEMENT? _X_ yes ___ no

WILDLIFE

Canned Hunts. During the last 25 years, a practice known as "canned hunting" has
become increasingly common. Proprietors of canned hunts offer trophy hunters the
opportunity the opportunity to shoot exotic mammals in fenced areas. Typically, the
hunts are guaranteed, and the hunter does not pay if he does not shoot the animals.
WILL YOU SUPPORT ENACTMENT OF LEGISLATION TO RESTRICT
CANNED HUNTS? _X_ yes ___ no

Exotic Animals. There are millions of animals – from Gambian rats to giant lizards –
that are caught in the wild for the purpose of selling them into the commercial pet trade.
Mortality rates are typically very high for animals subjected to traumatic capture,
transported long distances often in entirely deficient housing, and afforded inadequate
food and veterinary care throughout the process. Once here in the United States, these
exotic animals can pass on diseases to native wildlife and to people. Only domestic
animals, such as cats, dogs, and horses, make suitable pets.

WILL YOU SUPPORT ENACTMENT OF LEGISLATION TO HALT THE
TRADE IN WILD ANIMALS FOR THE PET TRADE? _X_ yes ___ no

Animal Damage Control. Wildlife Services (WS), a U.S. Department of Agriculture
program previously known as Animal Damage Control, spends more than $10 million
annually to kill predators as a de facto subsidy for ranchers and other resource users in
the West. WS hunters and trappers kill more than 100,000 coyotes, black bears, mountain
lions, and foxes each year with steel traps, poisons, and firearms. This program wastes
tax dollars and exacts an enormous toll on wildlife.

WILL YOU SUPPORT STIPULATING THAT NO TAXPAYER FUNDS BE USED
TO KILL WILDLIFE, OFTEN ON PUBLIC LANDS, FOR THE BENEFIT OF
PRIVATE RANCHERS? _X_ yes ___ no

Bear Baiting. Setting out food to lure bears to a site so that hunters can easily shoot the
animals while they are feeding is an unsporting and inhumane practice. And setting out
bait piles – consisting of jelly doughnuts, rotting fruits and vegetables, and animal
carcasses -- habituates bears to human food sources, causing the bears to lose their
wariness of people and to foster dangerous encounters between the animals and people.
WILL YOU SUPPORT LEGISLATION IN CONGRESS TO HALT ANY HUMAN
FEEDING OF BEARS ON FEDERAL LANDS? _X_ yes ___ no

Marine Mammals. The Marine Mammal Protection Act protects seals, whales, dolphins,
polar bears and other marine mammals from commercial or recreational exploitation.
WILL YOU OPPOSE EFFORTS TO AMEND THE MARINE MAMMAL
PROTECTION ACT TO ALLOW TROPHY HUNTING OF POLAR BEARS OR
LIBERALIZE THE RULES REGARDING THE TAKING OF OTHER MARINE
MAMMALS? _X_ yes ___ no

FARM ANIMALS

Forced Molting. The practice of starving egg-laying hens as a routine husbandry practice
in order to shock their systems into another egg laying cycle is called "forced molting."
This inhumane practice substantially increases the risk of salmonella infection in hens,
and this poses a risk for consumers who purchase salmonella-infected eggs. McDonald’s
and other fast-food giants no longer purchase eggs from producers who force-molt their
hens.

WILL YOU SUPPORT EFFORTS TO PROHIBIT FEDERAL FUNDS FROM
BEING USED IN THE NATIONAL SCHOOL BREAKFAST AND LUNCH
PROGRAMS FOR THE PURCHASE OF EGGS PRODUCED AT FACILITIES
THAT "FORCE MOLT?" _X_ yes ___ no

Antibiotic Overuse. Large commercial agribusiness operations administer massive
amounts of antibiotics at sub-therapeutic levels to farm animals so the animals can be
raised in large numbers and in close confinement. The administering of antibiotics in feed
and water when animals are not sick promotes the growth of antibiotic resistant bacteria,
and over time is rendering antibiotics less effective in combating serious health problems
in people and animals.

DO YOU SUPPORT ENACTMENT OF LEGISLATION TO
CURB THE OVERUSE OF ANTIBIOTICS ON INDUSTRIAL FARMS? _X_ yes
___ no

Please return your completed questionnaire to: Humane USA, P.O. Box 19224,
Washington, D. C. 20036, or humaneusa@humaneusa.org

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Searching for a “cause”

Returning from the Animal Rights 2003 Conference in Washington DC, I now have a much better understanding of the people involved in this movement. The majority are good people who are “looking for a cause.” They love the idea of “nature” but they don’t understand it and they have no concept of the role that humans play in the balance of nature. The rest are business-minded leaders that are making big money and creating a tremendous following but, in my opinion, are hypocrites.

Karen Davis, founder of United Poultry Concerns was the most prevalent speaker on the program, addressing the group twelve times during the 5-day conference. Her mission is absolute animal liberation and she has a tremendous love for chickens. Her love for these birds is so intense that, in reference to the terrible loss of life in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Davis said, “the deaths of thousands of people” actually “reduced the amount of pain and suffering in the world since they wouldn’t be around to eat more chicken.”

Davis believes that science is just an “economic formula to shut her up” and not animal husbandry. She suggests that animals can’t speak so we have to speak for them. I disagree strongly on this issue. Animals will definitely let you know if they are stressed or uncomfortable. Their performance suffers and the quality of the food produced is compromised. Ultimately that is where the dialogue ends because those in “the movement” believe that animals are our friends and relatives, not our food. This movement is not about providing a better environment or implementing better animal husbandry techniques, it is about abolishing animal agriculture.

During her presentation emphasizing compassion and caring, someone’s cell phone rang and she snapped at the person to “turn that thing off.” Later in the day, a young lady was present with her disabled son in a wheel chair and he would occasionally make involuntary vocalizations. Davis rudely told the mother to remove that kid from the room. What level of hypocrisy allows you to preach about advocating for animals when you have zero compassion for human beings?

Davis has a history of violent outbursts. She assaulted a friend of mine for photographing one of her demonstrations. He filed charges against her but was forced to drop them when she recruited four animal rights activists to lie under oath and say that he swung at her first. What a tremendous role model Davis is. Fortunately, she represents the exception rather than the norm in this movement.

I don’t want to generalize every animal rights activist in the same manner that they pigeon-hole us as “factory farmers.” The leaders of the animal rights movement tend to take the mistakes made on one operation and lead people to believe that all farmers are guilty of these intentional cruelties and environmentally detrimental management practices. Unlike the radical leaders of this event, most of the “twenty-something” females in attendance just need to feel like they are doing something to make the world a better place.

I believe my presence and dialogue with many of them can open the door to future discussions and the opportunity to present some realities about food production. Attending an event like this causes both sides of the movement to associate a face with their perceived “nemesis” and realize that the “other side” is made up of people too. Since most of the people involved in the movement just want something to live for, they are acting based on what they hear and read about the most and our side of the “story” is NOT being made readily available to them. If they read about land stewardship awards and family farm success stories as often as they read about lagoon spills and overcrowding, they would at least be open to the suggestion that not all of the apples in the barrel are bad. If we don’t tell our own story, the only reading material they will have to base their decision on will come from those who want to abolish animal agriculture and that is not a chance we want to take.

Trent Loos is a 6th generation United States farmer, host of daily radio show Loos Tales and founder of Faces of Agriculture, non-profit organization putting the human element back into the production of food. Get more information at www.FacesOfAg.com or email Trent at trent@loostales.com.


Friday, October 15, 2004


Wild Loos Chase Posted by Hello
Today's agriculture in yesterday's rural U.S.

By Jeff Caldwell written for the High Plains Journal

Crop and livestock has long been a staple in the lore of the rural U.S., especially in the Midwest and High Plains.

But, times have changed, and so have the means of crop and livestock producers for getting their job done: Putting food on the plates of millions of Americans. At the same time, many urbanites remain steeped in the action of escaping the city in favor of finding a quieter existence in the countryside. Nothing in a city, however, can prepare urban sprawlers for some of the byproducts of today's food production.

Today's large tractors and field equipment are capable of kicking up a cloud of dust in the field. Today's livestock operations, whether open-air or enclosed, are capable of emitting an odor, and with just the right wind gust, that odor can carry itself directly into the path of your nostrils.
And now, long gone, it seems, are the days of passive acceptance of this dust and odor. In last week's Journal, you read a story about a family hog operation that has been targeted by activist groups because of its size and the alleged negative effects it has on the environment. Regardless to what extent the owners and operators of this farm go to meet and exceed the requirements set forth by law protecting air and groundwater, they still come under fire for the way they operate, even as the food they produce does not come close to meeting the needs of the American consumer.

There's a small sign along I-70, between Manhattan and Topeka, Kan., sponsored by the Kansas Agri-Women and Kansas Farm Bureau, stating that every U.S. farmer produces enough food for 128 consumers. Even in the last decade, the number of those fed by each farmer has climbed. Every time I drive by this sign (this time of year to watch the sometimes frustrating K-State Wildcats football team), I'm reminded of the importance of our industry.

Yet, to many, a disconnect exists today, one that prompts stern speech and action against the very men and women who work each day to produce our nation's food and fiber.

We no longer live in a world where we can subsist without large-scale crop and livestock operations. With fewer producers, skyrocketing urban populations and the corresponding demand for food this continues to create, it is no longer possible for the few remaining farmers and ranchers in this country to provide food for everyone's table by producing at the level of their parents and grandparents. As a result, large operations have become a necessity. The more people who move to areas where subsistence comes from the shelves of a grocery store, the fewer there are producing that subsistence. How else can they make a living themselves without shortening margins and producing on a larger scale in concert with their natural environment?

The next time you see a newspaper ad or hear a radio spot from an environmental group purporting to be in favor of "family farms" and against "corporate farms," think first about the demographic changes that have forced large livestock operations and farms into being. Our society's growth has forced farmers and ranchers to produce more efficiently. In most cases, the primary way to accomplish this efficiency is growth. It's a business decision. Perhaps if more Americans, like a century ago, lived on the farm and raised a handful of hogs and chickens each themselves, we could subsist without large operations. But, as the growing housing subdivisions on the edges of every city across the Midwest and High Plains indicate, farmers and ranchers already have their hands full.

And, the next time you happen to drive by a large feedlot, hog farm or packing plant, don't curse the odor. Instead, thank your lucky stars the men and women who keep those operations open are making it possible for you to have that paunch above your belt.

Jeff Caldwell can be reached by phone at 515-280-5405, or by e-mail at jcaldwell@mchsi.com.Date: 10/5/04

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Christian or not

Frequently I have been encountering the concept that no “Christian minded” person would be involved modern agriculture. Here, once again, Matthew Scully, in promoting his own book, is attempting to tie foi gras (of which consumption was just outlawed in California) to all other types of meat and egg production and suggest that they “are not, in God’s view, proper treatment of the animals.” This is one area where we had better all understand how to address it and start today.

What are you thoughts? Send to me trent@loostales.com

From Dallas News

Matthew Scully: Factory farm meat not on menu for Feast of St. Francis

In the week leading up to today's Feast of St. Francis, it fell to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to decide whether the sale and production of foie gras should be terminated in California on the grounds of cruelty to animals. At first, the governor called the proposal another "silly" example of a legislature with too much time on its hands. But then Wednesday he signed the bill into law, apparently finding that the cruelty questions are not so easily shrugged off.

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, leader of the Catholic Church's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, was asked recently to weigh in on these very questions. “Certainly, a sort of industrial use of creatures, so that geese are fed in such a way as to produce as large a liver as possible, or hens live so packed together that they become just caricatures of birds, this degrading of living creatures to a commodity seems to me in fact to contradict the relationship of mutuality that comes across in the Bible."

“Sometimes the most radical thing is to be confronted by one's own standards, and if the cardinal is correct here, then we've got some real problems. Across America and the world, millions of our companions in creation are locked away in industrial "mass-confinement" farms, never feeling soil or sunshine. If they ever see pasture land, it is only from trucks hauling them to industrial abattoirs that kill at a hellish pace of thousands per hour.”

“It was said of St. Francis that "he walked the earth like the pardon of God." What would this man make of our factory farms, and what Christian in his presence would dare defend them?”

Tuesday, September 21, 2004


Houston E. Mull 1st Annual Memorial Scholarship Cattle Drive Nov. 6th, 2004 Posted by Hello
The Robin Mull Family Posted by Hello

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Quoted from your last e-mail...

"By comparison, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is a $41 million nonprofit with 740,000 members, People forthe Ethical Treatment of Animals is a $24 million nonprofit with 800,000members, and the Fund for Animals is an $8 million-a-year nonprofit with200,000 members. Among HSUS adversaries, the $1.7 million U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance and Foundation has 35,000 members."Altered Quote shoud read...

By comparison, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Humans is a $41 million nonprofit with 740,000 members, People forthe Ethical Treatment of Humans is a $24 million nonprofit with 800,000members, and the Fund for Humans is an $8 million-a-year nonprofit with 200,000 members. Among HSUS adversaries, the $1.7 million U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance and Foundation has 35,000 members.

It occures to me that if we spent as much time providing this much attention to health and well being of each other, animals would benefit due to agreater understanding of symbiotic relationships.

The problem with that is...

1. People have greater needs and it takes much more money to take care of them cutting profits.

2. People can speak out against cruelty, animals just duck and run. It seems to me that the lack of attention to "humans in need" is in effect,cruelty to humans in the form of neglect.So let all of those 1,835,000 members each donate $5.50/year each to the Humanity cookie jar. That's over 10 million a year. $10,092,500 to be exact. My families grocery bill is $600/mo. Divided by $10,092,500 = 16820.83 months or 1,401 and 3/4 years.or$600 x 12 = $7200 x 1500 families of 4 (6000 people)= $10,800,000.It is my opinion that focusing on humanity instead of animals is the key to crime reduction and family dysfunction and reduced psychological illness in America.

The money saved from the monitoring and policing of those issueswould easily feed and house a few animals as well.

Robert W. Fasl

Friday, August 06, 2004

REMINDER
Your E-Mails are Needed Now
Amendments to New Jersey Humane Standards under Heavy Fire
Activists Campaign for Frivolous Lawsuits and Against Animal Well-Being

In 2003, New Jersey adopted humane standards for farm animals that were supported by the agriculture community. In early 2004, the New Jersey Department of Agriculture proposed amendments to further clarify the standards benefiting animals, farmers and consumers. These amendments, and the original legislation, have come under heavy fire from New York-based Farm Sanctuary and other animal rights activists.

The item is so high on the activist organization’s priority list that it appears as the second clickable item on the former Animal Liberation Front “spokesgroup’s” website. On the page meant to address the standards, Farm Sanctuary rails against veal production, forced molting for layers and using gestation crates for sows, but the fanatical group does not address one specific objection to an amendment.

The extremist organization has targeted these amendments because the clarifications made in the amendments would help farmers avoid frivolous lawsuits. Ironically, the amendments the Farm Sanctuary is fighting against would also benefit animals.

The fanatical group’s actions have raised questions. Does the group value lawsuits more than animal well-being? What state will the group target next? Is Farm Sanctuary violating its tax-exempt status by spending an inordinate amount of its contributions on lobbying?
The Farm Sanctuary campaign has resulted in thousands of letters against the amendments coming from all corners of the USA and all over the world. The Animal Agriculture Alliance has sent an e-mail to the New Jersey State Veterinarian supporting the amendments. The Alliance encourages all its members to write e-mails or letters expressing their support for the amendments to thwart dangerous precedents being set.

The commentary period ends August 6, 2004. A copy of the Alliance’s e-mail to the New Jersey State Veterinarian is attached. Please modify it and e-mail your version to state.veterinarian@ag.state.nj.us. A copy of the Alliance’s July 23, 2004 Action Alert and its e-mail is available in the members section of the Alliance website at www.animalagalliance.org. To view the proposed rule amendments visit www.state.nj.us/agriculture/rule28a.htm. If you have any questions, please contact Philip Lobo at jplobo@animalagalliance.org.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Your article struck a nerve.

I farm. I am not totally opposed to DRA. People who have lived in a farm setting for 30 or 40 years, certainly have the right to a vote. When you speak of the dairy farms, you never speak of the numbers of cattle, the environmental impact and if it is corporate farming?

All you have to do is drive through Iowa; three miles out, of a hog unit, you can begin to smell the stinch.

I farm; we had 100 sows, 50 beef cows/calf operation. Small, yes. But, very much "putting the human element back into food"; as you put it. I am not sure what your argument is. People should have a say,what is constructed in their backyard, whether its local people or out of state people, doesn't matter.

With a dairy operation, or hog units, or turkey farms, or whatever, this is an environmental impact. It isn't the same thing, as when someone moves into town, and sets up a grocery store. The "farms" impact the area environmentally; the grocery store is a service, you can either buy there or not buy there. South Dakota is so rural. Every corporate industry would love to use it as a dump site. Nebraska had to fight to retain its land from a proposed dump site. Some years back, a company wanted to move in and mine uranium. We need to have a say in what happens in our neighborhood, it is the land of the free and the brave. South Dakota laws are pretty liberal, compared to some states. Our taxes, no state income tax, no personal property tax, is very inviting, not to mention our low paying labor laws.

There is still plenty of opportunity, with respect to others.

Marilyn Kokesh
SD
Who Produces your Food?

I was severly dismayed at the the action taken by the Brookings County Commision last night were we saw emotion and rhetoric win out oversound science and logic in a special exemption request for a Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation.

My question is how can ordinary citizens be more knowledgeable onlivestock emmisions, water quality and manure management than the South Dakota Department of Natural Resources and industry professionals? What good are regualtions and ordinances when decisions are made on a whim foremotional and political reasons? I doubt the Brookings police would stop anindividual for going the speed limit and taking extra precatution in asensitive area such as a school zone. Then why would a county commisiondeny a request when all regulations and ordinances are met or exceeded?

South Dakota is an agricultural state. The largest business in thestate far and wide is agriculture. The production of food and fiber. The reason people have time and energy to worry about property values, traffic issues and how much rain constitutes a 100 year event is because we have the safest most abundant food supply in the world. We spend the least amount onfood per capita than any developed nation in the world. If we think we havea crisis depending on foreign nations for our energy needs, take a moment and think what it would be like to be at the mercy of those same countriesfor 65% of our countries nutritional needs.

If we continue to stiffle animal agriculture in the fashion witnessed last night, the 'backyard' where the new dairy is placed will not be yours and will very possibly be outside the United States borders.

Sincerely,
Tim Bickett
Winfred SD

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Trent.

I have been receiving your emails since Iowa Pork Congress this winter and enjoy many of your comments.

I feel I must let you know about the sorry state of our own pig industry, following legislation changes some time ago the sow stall and sow tether were banned as methods of holding sows.
Since 1996 I have been involved in US pig production where the sow stall is the most common form of sow accommodation, I have not seen one case a vice known as vulva biting which as a male I would imagine has to be painful.

During the last few weeks I have worked in a couple of UK farms where the sows are housed in "welfare approved" straw based, group housing [six per group] not confined in any way and allowed to interact with their pen mates. In a study using pure percentages 60% of vulvas were bitten or torn a common method for sows to bully others. In group of six all feed together it is not uncommon to find 4 equal sized, one monster and one poor small bullied sow [I wonder who gets all the cake]

On the same farm fattening pigs are reared in straw based finishing pens, cleaned religiously daily and fresh straw bedding given, compared to most fully slatted US finishing systems the pigs are filthy, the rat a disease ridden species at best loves the atmosphere especially during winter, its warm, food is plentiful how long before the next Black Plague.

Please do not let your own industry go down this welfare friendly, low profit [oh yes and disgusting to work in] route.

Regards
John J. Williams

Monday, July 19, 2004

 
Your letter is needed 

While I certainly don’t view this any different than you, unbelievably we now have states defining, by law, proper animal husbandry techniques. If each of us doesn’t take 5 minutes to write a letter in support of reasonable guidelines, we will wake up one day and wonder, “Why are the law enforcement officials charging me with unreasonable animal neglect charges?” Sound extreme? It is happening.
 
So I applaud the New Jersey Dept of Agriculture for proactively setting the standard now. But this is where you come in. PLEASE take 5 minutes today to write a short statement in support of the proposed Amendments.
 
Proposed Rule Amendment: N.J.A.C. 2:8-1.2, 2.2, 2.6, 5.5, 7.2, 7.6, 8.1 and 8.6
Here is quick look at some of the components…
 
As originally written, all of these definitions were overly restrictive and, therefore, are proposed for amendment to more properly address the holistic well-being of the animal.
 
"Routine husbandry practices" is being amended to recognize those “techniques commonly taught by veterinary schools, land grant colleges, and agricultural extension agents for the benefit of animals, the livestock industry, animal handlers and the public health and which are employed to raise, keep, care, treat, market and transport livestock, including, but not limited to, techniques involved with physical restraint; animal handling; animal identification; animal training; manure management; restricted feeding; restricted watering; restricted exercising; animal housing techniques; reproductive techniques; implantation; vaccination; and use of fencing materials, as long as all other State and Federal laws governing these practices are followed.” This definition is proposed for amendment to more accurately reflect the Department’s intent with respect to these practices.
 
Link here to read entire thing if you wish.
http://www.state.nj.us/agriculture/rule28a.htm
 
Submit comments by August 6, 2004 to:
Dr. Nancy E. Halpern, Director, Division of Animal HealthNew Jersey Department of AgriculturePO Box 330Trenton, NJ 08625-0330
email: state.veterinarian@ag.state.nj.us
 
Dear Dr. Halpern,
 
As a 6th generation farmer, every single day of my life has involved farm animals. I want to write you in support of the proposed amendments for animal handling.
 
Since 1862 and the creation of the Land Grant college program, we have spent millions of dollars on research by experts in animal husbandry to determine the best management practices for the well-being of these animals. It very encouraging to see a state government recognize and endorse the guidelines that the true experts have determined should be followed.
 
Sincerely,
Trent Loos
P.O. Box 545
Loup City, NE 68853

Monday, June 21, 2004

New Mexico Sportspersons Take Notice

New Mexico Game and Fish Public Input


The New Mexico Game and Fish are accepting comments on trapping regulations from the general public as they consider changes to there current laws. Unfortunately an organization called the Animal Protection Institute has been mass mailing and posting incorrect inflammatory accusations against traps in an effort to inundate the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish with letters to restrict trapping. The accusations include words such as body crushing traps, and also speak about damage inflicted on animals attempting to free themselves. Claims are made that a "study", to which they do not give further reference, stated that for every animal caught ten nontarget animals are also captured. Organizations like this need to be stopped and their message corrected to reveal the true aspects of trapping. It only takes a 4-3 vote for the Game and Fish to pass amendments to the current trapping regulations. We need to help the New Mexico trappers fight the Animal Protection Institute and the message they are sending. I spoke with Jeff Lehmer the President of the New Mexico trappers to see what can be done to help them and he felt that at this point it is a political and numbers game. He felt that the more people we could get to show up at the July 21 meeting in Albuquerque, and the more people that wrote to the Department of Game and Fish expressing the true nature of trapping the better their chances were to defeat any anti-trapping legislation. They could also use information from studies that will refute the information presented by the API group. Below is a list of the Fish and Game commissioners as well as an email to the Division Chief. Please help New Mexico in their fight.

Paula Hamilton , Chair Person , FTA Pro-Active Committee



Mr. Kirkpatrick, Division Chief
New Mexico Department of Game and Fish
P.O. Box 25112
Santa Fe, NM 87504
ATTN: Wildlife Management Division
RJKirkpatrick@state.nm.us



Guy Riordan, Chairman
9514 Kandace Drive NW
Albuquerque, NM 87114

Alfredo Montoya, Vice-Chairman
P.O. Box 856
San Juan Pueblo, NM 87566

David Henderson
P.O. Box 9314
Santa Fe, NM 87504

Jennifer Atchley Montoya
4010 Oleta Drive Apt. A
Las Cruces, NM 88001

Peter Pino
026 Chamisa Drive
Zia Pueblo, NM 87053-6035

Tom Arvas
7905 Spain Northeast
Albuquerque, NM 87109

Leo Sims
P.O. Box 2630
Hobbs, NM 88241-2630

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Column written by Rachel Buzzetti, Executive Director Nevada Cattlemen

NEVADA CATTLEMEN'S ASSOCIATION
JULY 2004

This past month I was honored and privileged to represent Nevada on the 25th
Annual Young Cattlemen's Conference Tour hosted by NCBA. Prior to the trip
I asked many who had gone before me, what to expect and what I would learn?
I had high expectations and I must admit my expectations were met, plus
some. It was a phenomenal experience for a native Nevadan who had grown up
in the cow/calf business.

During the trip we were exposed to all segments of the industry, from a pure
bred operation, feedlot, and packing plant; to a hide tannery, purveyor,
foodservice operation and retailer. Young Cattlemen were able to observe and
ask questions during each visit. I have to admit that the 120,000 head
feedlot in Kansas was pretty impressive.

Lastly, we toured the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) and later flew to
Washington, D.C. to lobby our Congressional leaders and governmental
agencies. After speaking with the traders that work at CME, I learned they
all have backgrounds in agriculture or are still active in a particular part
of the beef industry. In my travels for NCA I always hear the complaint,
"Those traders shouldn't be trading cattle or playing in the futures because
they don't know anything about our business." Well, I am here to say, each
of them had experience in agriculture or the beef industry.

I appreciated each operations candidacy and sincerity in answering
questions posed by the group because there were some tough questions asked.
I recognized early on in the trip that this industry is huge and it doesn't
stop when we sell our calves in the fall. I also noticed a lack of trust
between the different segments. This is not news but I had never
experienced it first hand. However, I do feel strongly that this industry
functions somewhat like a wheel and without all of the spokes we are unable
to function efficiently.


Words cannot explain the enthusiasm and excitement I share for being part of
the cattle industry. After traveling on just about every form of
transportation imaginable and sleeping in a different hotel each night I
became well acquainted with cattlemen from different segments of the
industry as well as different parts of the country. These young men and
women come from vast backgrounds and I learned a lot from each of them.

>From my perspective this tour is paramount to many of the things we do in
the cattle industry to educate. While on the tour, I was asked some
questions by a curious woman at an airport. After briefly explaining the
tour she said, "Shouldn't you be putting on one of those tours for people
like me?" I said yes, "However it is important to educate young leaders
within our industry so that they will possess the tools to educate people
like yourself."

I can't stress enough the importance of young people being involved because
as the spokes of the wheel turn and generations evolve the younger
generation must step up to the plate. It will be their turn to prove their
leadership both within their segment of the industry but also on a larger
scale. The beef industry needs young leaders and I think this tour
presented a magnificent opportunity for young people to go back home and
become leaders in their state. I am very proud to be one of them.

Have a Happy Fourth of July!

Rachel Buzzetti
Executive Director

Nevada Beef Council
P.O. Box 310
Elko NV 89803
775-738-5776
nca@nevadabeef.org

Monday, June 14, 2004

LOOS LIPS from June 14, 2004

Drop Paul Harvey

For years Paul Harvey has been subtly telling the animal rights story. On April 28, 2003, he praised PETA and Ingred Newkirk for her work. Last week, on June 9, 2004, he went overboard. Click here to link to Loos Tales with the whole story. ADM continues to sponsor this closet animal rights zealot and I am officially calling for that to come to a screeching halt this week with your help.

Send email to info@admworld.com and put "Drop Paul Harvey" in the subject line.

Click on date to listen.

June 14, 2004 - Paul Harvey, Laurie Bauston, Harold Brown, Jim Mason & Howard Lyman. "The Rest Of The Story"? DON'T BET ON IT!

If you don't have time to listen to Loos Tales, here is what he highly recommended schools to present.

Peaceable Kingdom link here.

Don't just say, "that is terrible!" ACT TODAY. Forward this to everyone.

Monday, June 07, 2004

June 4, 2004

PETA Launches Attacks on FFA

Last month, FFA and local agricultural education programs were
publicly denounced by a representative of People for the Ethical Treatment of
Animals (PETA) in connection with several instances of alleged animal
abuse reported recently in the media. By attempting to associate
responsibility for the abuse with FFA, PETA has called for eliminating
the use of animals in schools and in school-sponsored programs.

The attacks were made in an op-ed letter from PETA's education
manager, Jacqueline Domac, printed in the May 23, 2004, edition of The Sun News
of Myrtle Beach, S.C., and posted on the newspaper's website,
MyrtleBeachOnline.com. (A copy of the article is attached.) It was
also posted for a time on PETA's website as an "action alert," but that
appears to have been withdrawn. Excerpts from the article may begin to
appear in other publications.

Ms. Domac also sent correspondence on behalf of PETA to National FFA
Advisor Larry Case, calling for a halt to the use of animals in
agricultural education programs in local schools. Dr. Case has
responded to Ms. Domac, taking issue with PETA's contentions and
characterizations.

PETA's article demonstrates significant misunderstanding of FFA and
agricultural education. Recognizing that these allegations and
misrepresentations may cause concern for state and local programs, we
are providing this alert along with some points to consider in
response.

We suggest this information be forwarded to teachers, state FFA
officers, members, alumni, sponsors and others as appropriate. The
most effective voices to respond in print and online will be drawn from the
local community. We hope this information will help inform those
responses.

Please forward any print articles or electronic postings regarding
this issue to Bill Stagg, National FFA Organization, P.O. Box 68960,
Indianapolis, IN 46268-0960, fax: 317-802-6061, e-mail: bstagg@ffa.org

I. Points in Response to the PETA Article

1. PETA and the FFA have a fundamental
disagreement about the role of animals as a source of food, fiber and nutrition.
PETA opposes this role outright, and that bias is reflected in its
distorted view of agricultural education programs and the experiences FFA
members receive studying animal science in local schools. While FFA respects
the right of PETA to express its opinions, it should do so without
demeaning or misrepresenting the outstanding work done by 11,000 agricultural
education teachers and FFA advisors in providing leadership, personal
growth and career development opportunities to nearly a million
students in 8,000 schools throughout the nation.

2. The National FFA Organization's position on the mistreatment of animals is clear-it does not condone or tolerate abuse or mistreatment of animals in any form in our activities, programs or competitions. The organization actively supports the training and education of FFA members and advisors in the proper ethical behavior
for livestock competitions and in the application of sound and humane
principles of animal husbandry.

3. Contrary to PETA's assertions, FFA believes that providing students with hands-on opportunities to study and work with livestock animals creates greater sensitivity to their health and well-being, not less. PETA offers no evidence to suggest the millions
of students who have participated in agricultural education are more inclined to harm animals. Quite the opposite, we believe our students are less likely to mistreat animals because they have first-hand knowledge and have acquired skills regarding their care.

4. The use of livestock in local schools is neither dictated nor mandated by national FFA programs. School farms and livestock facilities are managed by local agricultural education teachers responsible to the local school system and administration.

5. Ms. Domac's attempts to associate responsibility for instances of animal abuse with the FFA organization and its student members, and to suggest that these events are somehow a direct result of school-based agricultural education programs, are erroneous and dismaying. Her comments portraying FFA as "inherently discriminatory" and her references to "violent FFA programs" are inaccurate, misleading and inflammatory. The attacks on FFA reveal she has little understanding of how local, state and national FFA entities are funded, or how agricultural education teachers and FFA programs are directly accountable to local school systems.

6. The youths involved in the Yakima, Wash., incident of animal abuse were not FFA members or agricultural education students, and no involvement by FFA or agriculture students has been demonstrated or suggested by authorities. Nor are FFA members
responsible for the events in Florida. PETA's article seeks to create
an impression that FFA and agriculture students were involved in attacks
on the animals.

7. PETA's characterization of FFA as "inherently discriminatory since its inception" is inaccurate. FFA was formed in 1928 to meet the needs of what was, at that time, a male, rural farming student population. African-Americans were not barred from membership by the national organization; however, reflecting the discrimination
present in public education at the time, 17 states, primarily in the south, excluded African-Americans from FFA membership. The New Farmers of America (NFA) organization was created to provide agricultural education opportunities to these students. FFA and NFA were merged in 1965, incorporating two outstanding legacies of quality and
contribution to education.

As agricultural education and FFA programs were broadened to address more careers in agriculture, women were formally admitted to national membership in 1969. Despite PETA's suggestions of sinister overtones, FFA is proud of its heritage and the way it has evolved to address the educational needs of all students interested in careers in agriculture, regardless of gender, race, creed or geographic location.

8. Funding for FFA on local, state and national levels comes primarily from members' dues, sales of supplies and merchandise to members, and program fees paid by students and chapters.

FFA and agricultural education are fortunate to receive donations from individuals and from companies, both large and small, through the National FFA Foundation, state FFA foundations and local community sponsors. Funding support comes from companies engaged in a host of industries-automotive, farm equipment, crop protection, food processing,
apparel, banking, retail, recreational, association, educational, philanthropic, pet care, grocery, landscaping, horticultural and advertising, to name a few. These collective funds make available important educational opportunities and award programs-at no cost to taxpayers-that provide incentives for FFA members to further their education and career development. Not surprisingly, FFA receives no funding or support from PETA.

9. As an integral part of agricultural education, FFA programs and activities are administered by teachers hired by, and accountable to, local school boards and administrators. They are not accountable to state FFA associations or the National FFA
Organization. In addition, FFA is not limited to rural education. Some of the
largest FFA chapters and memberships are in suburban and urban schools.

10. PETA's assertions that FFA members who work with animals in schools are "desensitized" and more prone to commit acts of violence against animals are unsupported and contradicted by experience.FFA members and agriculture students are taught to care properly for animals by understanding their biology, health and nutritional needs. There is every reason to believe that familiarizing students with the care and feeding of animals, whether livestock or pets, develops
skills and promotes greater sensitivity to an animal's well-being.

11. FFA agrees that agriculture programs in local schools must provide adequately for the security and health of animals in their care. These responsibilities rest with teachers and administrators in those schools, and if health threats or acts of
violence against animals increase, so, too, must the security and oversight of the facilities.

12. For 75 years, agricultural education and FFA have helped millions of young people become sound stewards of the land and our natural resources. Providing a safe and abundant food supply is one of our highest national priorities, and teaching FFA members how to lead and manage the industry of agriculture has been a vital and
proper role for public education. Having hands-on access to plants and animals in the school setting has proven highly effective in the education of students.

Friday, May 28, 2004

Congratulations for Illinois effort:

From the Illinois Pork Producers Association.

Governor Announces Sales Tax Proposal 'No Longer Under Consideration'

The agricultural community is very pleased to see that the proposal to eliminate the agricultural sales tax exemption for feed, seed, fertilizer and chemicals is no longer under consideration. The Governor announced today that he was no longer pursuing the proposal to eliminate the exemption that was announced during the Governor’s Budget Address. The administration has received considerable information from the agricultural community and support from members of both sides of the aisle in the General Assembly to maintain the current ag input sales tax exemptions. There is a clear recognition by all involved parties that this proposal would have had massive implications on farmers and Illinois agri-business.

We are waiting to see the final budget package and are very thankful that the proposal to eliminate the agricultural sales tax exemption for feed, seed, fertilizer and chemicals is not a part of the final budget. We appreciate the commitments made by the Senate Republican Caucus, the Senate Democrat Caucus, numerous members of the House of Representatives, coupled with the Governor’s announcement, that the sales tax will not be a part of the final budget plan.

"We would like to thank all the members of the General Assembly who supported agriculture on this and thank the Governor and his staff for their willingness to discuss the potential impact of the original proposal," said leaders of the agricultural community.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers“Growing Communities…One Farmer at a Time”
Contact: Aaron Putze, APR
515-225-5414 - cell 515-975-4168
aputze@supportiowasfarmers.org
www.supportiowasfarmers.org

EIP REPORT IGNORES THE FACTS AND DOES A DISSERVICE TO IOWA FARM FAMILIES THAT RAISE LIVESTOCK

WEST DES MOINES, IA – May 20, 2004 – Information released May 19 by the Washington D.C.-based Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) critical of Iowa’s livestock farmers ignores the facts and twists reality. It also does a disservice to the vast majority of farm families that care for their families, neighbors, communities and environment, according to the Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers (CSIF).

CSIF is a not-for-profit group formed to help families stay viable on the farm and in their communities by assisting them in managing the rules and regulations covering animal agriculture.

In EIP’s own report titled “Threatening Iowa’s Future,” the group alleged that livestock farmers put profit ahead of environmental stewardship and blamed state officials for allowing it to happen. Members of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement – including a beekeeper from southwest Iowa– joined the EIP in making claims that farm families raising livestock were not sufficiently regulated and used production practices that threatened air and water quality.

“The carelessness of EIP’s assertions makes it obvious that they are not from Iowa because they do not know how farm families live, work and raise livestock,” said Kendra Gilbert, a sixth-generation farmer from Nashua. “As a livestock producer, I do everything I can to protect the health of my family and neighbors, comply with some of the nation’s most stringent regulations and take great pride in creating jobs and economic benefits for my community.”

Gilbert said the EIP report ignored multiple rounds of regulations passed by the Iowa Legislature since 1995 covering everything from the siting and construction of animal facilities to the storage and application of animal nutrients.

For example, manure management plans filed and paid for by livestock farmers detail where and how much animal nutrients can be used and must be updated annually. Those that apply manure to cropland must be certified to operate state-of-the-art equipment that injects manure six inches underground, reducing odor and protecting water quality.

Using animal nutrients is beneficial to both the environment and the nation’s economy. Nearly 2,400 head of hogs can provide sufficient nutrients to eliminate the need for applying conventional nitrogen on 250 acres of cropland. “Livestock provides farmers with a natural fertilizer that degrades naturally and reduces our dependence on foreign sources of energy,” Gilbert said. “That’s good for farmers, good for the environment and good for Iowa.”

In their report, EIP says that pollution from livestock facilities is generating high nitrate levels in water sources.

Not true, according to Randy Pleima. As general manager of Mahaska Rural Water Systems Inc., Pleima monitors the quality of the water he distributes. Since 1996, nitrate levels have dropped from 1.5 parts per million to .2 (EPA suggests 10 ppm or lower) as overall water quality has improved. Asked why, Pleima doesn’t hesitate. “I think better farming practices being used by farmers is the biggest reason,” including the construction of state-of-the-art livestock facilities and knifing animal nutrients into the ground.

The CSIF questioned the EIP’s motives. One of EIP’s most critical sources of funding is the Rockefeller Family Fund (RFF). According to the Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF), the RFF has assets of more than $56 million and funds dozens of organizations including those critical of specific kinds of farms and farming practices.

Recipients of RFF funding, according to the CCF, include ICCI ($30,000 in 2001) and the Environmental Working Group (nearly $400,000 in 2000-2001). And, from 1998-2000, the EIP contributed $130,000 to Waterkeeper Alliance, a group headed by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. that has rallied against livestock farmers around the nation, including Iowa, and threatened to sue farmers out of business. “We have the attorneys now who have money and they know what they’re doing,” says Kennedy. “They are the best in the country and we are going to put an end to this (pork) industry.”
“Research conducted last year found that nearly 80 percent of Iowans not directly involved in agriculture hold a positive view of animal production in the state,” said Tim Niess, CSIF Executive Director. “Farm families look forward to continuing to build upon this strong consumer support while protecting the environment and providing jobs for nearly 140,000 Iowans.”


-30-

The CSIF was launched May 11, 2004. Its mission is to grow Iowa communities one farmer at a time. Six prominent farm groups founded the organization: Iowa Cattlemen’s Association, Iowa Corn Growers Association; Iowa Farm Bureau, Iowa Pork Producers Association, Iowa Poultry Association and Iowa Soybean Association. For more information about the CSIF, the importance of livestock production and the truth behind activist groups operating in Iowa, log on to www.supportiowasfarmers.org.

May, 2004

Animal Agriculture: At Home in Iowa


1. Iowa’s livestock farmers contribute more than $5 billion to Iowa’s
$91 billion economy (measured in Gross State Product). That means animal agriculture is responsible for nearly 5 percent of the state’s economy.
"Economic Importance of Iowa's Cattle Industry", Dr. John Lawrence, ISU Professor, Dr. Daniel Otto, ISU Professor, 2000,
"The Economic Importance of the Iowa Pork Industry", Dr. Daniel Otto, ISU Professor, Dr. James Kliebenstein, ISU Professor, 2000.


2. Nearly 140,000 Iowans are directly and indirectly employed because of livestock production. This is equal to nearly 7 percent of the state’s workforce (1.93 million workers) and nearly the populations of Ft. Dodge, Ottumwa, Iowa City and Cedar Falls…combined!
"Economic Importance of Iowa's Cattle Industry", Dr. John Lawrence, ISU Professor, Dr. Daniel Otto, ISU Professor, 2000,
"The Economic Importance of the Iowa Pork Industry", Dr. Daniel Otto, ISU Professor, Dr. James Kliebenstein, ISU Professor, 2000.


3. The cattle and pork industry collectively provide over $3 billion in personal income to working Iowans.
"Economic Importance of Iowa's Cattle Industry", Dr. John Lawrence, ISU Professor, Dr. Daniel Otto, ISU Professor, 2000,
"The Economic Importance of the Iowa Pork Industry", Dr. Daniel Otto, ISU Professor, Dr. James Kliebenstein, ISU Professor, 2000.


4. Livestock production provides more than $77 million in county/local government revenues and more than $400 million in state government revenue resources.
"Economic Importance of Iowa's Cattle Industry", Dr. John Lawrence, ISU Professor, Dr. Daniel Otto, ISU Professor, 2000;
"The Economic Importance of the Iowa Pork Industry", Dr. Daniel Otto, ISU Professor, Dr. James Kliebenstein, ISU Professor, 2000;
Regional Economic Models, Incorporated (REMI), Version 5.2, 2003.


5. Livestock and poultry consume 33 percent of Iowa’s annual corn crop (650 million of
2 billion bushels).
1997 Census of Agriculture, USDA; Analysis conducted by Dr. John Lawrence, ISU Professor, 2003;
Analysis conducted by Dave Miller, IFBF Director of Commodities, 2003.


6. Livestock and poultry consume 26 percent of Iowa’s annual soybean crop (130 million of 500 million bushels).
1997 Census of Agriculture, USDA; Analysis conducted by Dr. John Lawrence, ISU Professor, 2003;
Analysis conducted by Dave Miller, IFBF Director of Commodities, 2003.


- continued on next page -






7. Iowa’s pork industry supports 87,000 jobs while Iowa’s cattle industry supports 49,900 jobs.
"Economic Importance of Iowa's Cattle Industry", Dr. John Lawrence, ISU Professor, Dr. Daniel Otto, ISU Professor, 2000,
"The Economic Importance of the Iowa Pork Industry", Dr. Daniel Otto, ISU Professor, Dr. James Kliebenstein, ISU Professor, 2000.


8. There is a significant correlation between the 54 percent decline in Iowa’s cattle inventory in the last 30 years and the decline in rural k-12 school enrollment in the last 20 years.
National Agriculture Statistics Service (NASS), http://www.usda.gov/nass/; "Iowa's Counties: Selected Population Trends,
Vital Statistics and Socioeconomic Data", 1990 – 2001; Microsoft Excel, Office 2000.


9. Simply doubling Iowa’s January 1 cattle on feed (from 955,000 to 1.9 million) would add $33 million to Iowa’s annual corn crop and create over 3,200 new jobs in Iowa!
National Agriculture Statistics Service (NASS), http://www.usda.gov/nass/;
Regional Economic Models, Incorporated (REMI), Version 5.2, 2003





For more information, log on to www.supportiowasfarmers.org


















Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers
Growing Communities… One Farmer at a Time


Wednesday, May 19, 2004

The following was written by Darcy LaTourette, Wichita, KS who is a conservative with a ranching background and writes political commentary in her spare time.

Ted Turner is opening a restaurant in Wichita. As enticing as the menu at Ted’s Montana Grill may be, the man behind the restaurant is as unpalatable as they come.

Jane Fonda’s ex husband, for those of you who have forgotten, is the man who, at a speech to Brown University graduates in 2001, praised Fidel Castro, stated that the 9-11 attackers were “brave, at the very least” and that “the reason that the world trade center got hit is because there are a lot of people living in abject poverty out there,” and said that Americans “lack an understanding of a willingness to die for one’s country.”

As heinous and irresponsible as these comments are, one would think that the founder of CNN would have done his homework. The majority of the attackers were from Saudi Arabia, one of the richest nations on the planet, and they were funded by Osama bin Laden, who, last time I checked, hardly qualified as a poverty-stricken man. Lest we forget, Turner’s brainchild, CNN, also contracted with that bastion of religious tolerance Al Jazeera at the beginning of the war in Afghanistan so that CNN could achieve better battlefield coverage of the war. This from a man who called his rival Rupert Murdoch, whose company owns Fox New Channel, a “warmonger.”

As if that weren’t reason enough to turn your stomach, Ted Turner is also the man who in 2001 called Catholics celebrating Ash Wednesday in the CNN newsroom “a bunch of Jesus freaks;” who called Christians “losers” and “bozos” (Citizen Turner: The Rise of An American Tycoon, 1995), and referred to Christianity as “an intolerant religion.” Pardon me, Ted, but as I recall, the majority of terror attacks committed in the world today are committed by Islamic fundamentalists, not Christians.

His liberal peace-loving sensibilities motivated him to ridicule the Pope at a pro-abortion conference in Washington DC, during which he said that if he met the Pontiff, he would tell him to “get with it,” while in the next breath calling the Ten Commandments “obsolete” and saying “if you are only going to have ten rules, I don’t know if (a rule against) adultery should be one of them.” He went on with a vulgar joke concerning Polish soldiers using their feet to clear land mines, asking the audience if they had “ever seen a Polish mine detector.”

Turner also seems to have anti-Semitic views. He is reported as having said, "I have other reasons for disliking him other than he wears full-length coats and is a Jew.” Turner was quoted by the Guardian of London in June 2002 as saying, “The Palestinians are fighting with human suicide bombers, that's all they have. The Israelis ... they've got one of the most powerful military machines in the world. The Palestinians have nothing. So who are the terrorists?” Ever consistent, he argued that poverty and desperation are the root cause of Palestinian suicide bombings.

Ted Turner wants you to eat at his restaurant, but do you know what he really thinks of you? At a speech to a CNN sponsored forum for foreign journalists in 1996, Turner called his fellow Americans ignorant, stating "The United States has got some of the dumbest people in the world. I want you to know that. We know that. It's a disgrace.” (Reuters, May 10, 1996).

According to Reuters, in July of 1997, Ted called for a national vote on replacing Francis Scott Key’s Star Spangled Banner with a “less warlike” anthem, because in his own words, “we believe in democracy and liberty.” In an interview with emagazine.com in February 1999, Turner said, “We can't even get this country to pay the back dues that we legally owe the United Nations. We're doing a lot of things wrong. The United States is withdrawing from international involvement at a time when we're the only superpower. We can't do that. If we do, it's at our own peril. Basically, if we keep doing dumb, short-sighted, nationalistic things, rather than be thinking what's best for the whole planet and thinking long-term, then we're going to become just as extinct as the dodo.” Turner’s philosophy of environmental management, in his own words, is “just to leave the environment alone and try to get the introduced species out of there. Cattle came from Europe, while bison evolved on the Great Plains, and they're the right animals to be there.” Hear that? Ted wants you to get rid of your cattle and raise buffalo.

Turner claims to be a staunch environmentalist, yet he recently signed a contract to DOUBLE the number of gas wells on his wilderness ranch in New Mexico. This from a man who is vocally opposed to drilling for oil in Alaska…he must not own enough property there!
Ted is also a vocal supporter of population control. The father of five takes a simplistic and simple-minded approach to population control, suggesting that “if every woman in the world voluntarily stepped up and said, 'I'll only have one child,' and if we did that for the next 80 to 100 years, that would reduce the kind of suffering we're having…We could have 10 billion people living below the poverty line, or we could have two billion people living well and having color TVs and an automobile.” His support for population control, and his billion dollar donation to the UN, supported such population control methods in China as a program in which “births must be approved by the government, involuntary sterilization is routine for any woman with two children, and enforcement includes sending officials into the countryside to check on compliance,” according to former enforcer Gao Xia Duan, in testimony before the US House International Relations Committee. Turner’s comment? "People who abhor the China one-child policy are dumb-dumbs, because if China hadn't had that policy, there would be 300 million more people in China right now."

I don’t know about you, but I’ve lost my appetite.

© 2004 D. LaTourette
Wichita, KS


Sunday, May 16, 2004

The following paper received a 100% score for Lanae Koons, student Kansas State University.

Trent Loos, a 6th generation farmer/rancher originally from Quincy, Illinois, is an Agricultural Activist. Mr. Loos was born into the farming and ranching business, with a background in the production of hogs and cattle, a tradition he still continues today. He believes that farming and ranching is the backbone of the country and hopes to see other youth continue this heritage. He did not attend college and believes that not doing so benefited him, so that he did not become the conformist college teaches young minds to be. Four years ago he decided that he wanted to become a spokesman for agriculture, educating those on food and livestock production. He currently has his own radio show, which airs on an average of 100 stations daily and writes columns for 4 papers on a weekly basis.
When asked how he views agriculture, “it’s a way of life, we have long been coached to organize it as a business; however if it were a true business there would be fewer people left due to the absence of monetary gain, one must be aware that provided there is no monetary gain, there is a great sense of family atmosphere, pride and a sense of accomplishment.”
He feels that ethics plays a tremendous role in agriculture, though its perception has changed. In the 1930’s a graduate from Kansas State University would have received their degree in animal husbandry, however today, college graduates are receiving degrees in animal sciences. He feels that we need better spokesmen for our ever changing agriculture industry, an industry that is ever leading to the corporate side. The perception of “for the betterment of animals” is no longer present it seems. When he himself must make ethical decisions he bases that on personal experience and the science that is given from universities such as Kansas State University.
In the future he sees that some decisions are not to implement unnecessary burdens, but to enact laws to protect a vocal minority every resource industry has seen, from fisherman to loggers. Agriculture must stand up so that it does not happen to them. Some activist groups may not think this pertains to them but it pertains to everyone who eats, and that IS everyone. He intends on creating changes that the agricultural industry has waited too long to do. He wants to create a better environment and situation for people and animals alike.
Mr. Loos currently benefits the agricultural sector by motivating people to get involved within the industry, mainly those whom have never thought about running for an office, or by bringing awareness to student campuses. He brings to light issues that are current, and empowers people with the tools and knowledge to get involved in the process in which they are interested in seeing a change.
He works with other trade organizations representing membership groups with a common goal in the agriculture industry. He also works with farmers and ranchers to do what they do best, which is supplying a cheap abundant food supply to the world. It is also felt that the people who are most affected should be the ones to make decisions. On a local level, agriculture needs more “grass roots” representatives to be the decision makers, instead of someone on a national level whom was not raised in agriculture, or has no real understanding of it.
When asked what the biggest international issue is he replied, “ one world, one government; if we want to globalize we must equalize across the board in all societies; the standard of living which the Untied State has strived so hard to obtain will be diminished, so that we can increase the standard for thirds world countries. Why would we build such a great and prosperous nation and then let it diminish for a standard?”
For us, as a country to save rural America; we must quit telling our kids there is no opportunity there. His advice for those entering the work force is to follow your passion. Do not allow others to talk you into going into production if you do not want to. The average age of the farmer is older than a Florida retirement community, which means that many farmers want and desperately need a younger generation to take over their operation. However, so many have been convinced that there is nothing in it to benefit them, they go on to suffice their monetary wants and needs. Follow your passion.

Lanae Koons
12305 Elm Slough Rd.
St. George, KS 66535

"If you want something bad enough, you can make anything happen!"

Thursday, April 29, 2004

April 28, 2004

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Trent Loos
Faces of Agriculture
(970) 481-1389
trent@loostales.com


Illinois budget cuts putting local farm families in jeopardy

Springfield, Ill. – Drivers in the Springfield area can now see a mobile, visual reminder that their state’s largest industry -- and the people responsible for feeding this country -- faces serious jeopardy at the hands of their government leaders.

Faces of Agriculture, a national non-profit organization, has purchased one of 12 rotating billboards on the innovative Gotcha Mobile Media Truck, which travels Springfield’s streets reminding residents of the importance of food production in Illinois.

Agriculture is a multi-billion dollar industry in Illinois that employs one out of four workers statewide, and Faces of Agriculture’s mural displays a farm scene, the group’s Web site (www.facesofag.com) and slogan, “Securing our future in food production.”

“My family has farmed in Illinois since 1852, but that may be coming to an end,” said Trent Loos, Faces of Ag founder. “Consumers need to realize the value of having their food grown right here in Illinois. If we have to rely on imported food someday, the quality and safety of our food supply could be compromised.”

Loos noted that Illinois farmers have traditionally passed their land and their lifestyle to the next generation. However, the ability of future generations to feed the world from Illinois farmland is in danger, thanks to Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s proposed budget cuts, which include dissolving the Illinois Council on Food and Agricultural Research and eliminating tax breaks for farm machinery fuel.

The impact of such cuts could end up eliminating entire farms in Illinois, Loos said, forcing consumers to rely more on imported foods, which are not produced under the quality control standards required by the FDA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Springfield area residents are urged to contact their legislators and Gov. Blagojevich to protect an industry that is a mainstay in the state and essential for U.S. national security.

For more information, visit www.FacesofAg.com or call (970) 481-1389. For more information about Gotcha Mobile Media, contact Rob Tedrow at (217) 753-2000.

-30-

Faces of Agriculture is a non-profit organization with the mission of returning the human element to food production in America.

Sunday, April 25, 2004

This was submitted to me by C.S. Elliott for printing in Loos Lips.

American Farmer

Before heading home the farmer takes one last look at the
green and brown patchwork fields laid out like a quilt
covering mother earth and then directs his gaze toward the
shy and says thank you Lord, for another good day.
A big old yellow dog slowly wags his tail as he waits
impatiently watching for the combine to come home and park in
the lean-to. Soon the wagging tail stops then speeds up as
the combine comes round the bend and into view.
The dog spots the old familiar weathered hand of the farmer
grasping the bar to swing down from the great machine that
plucks food from the earth. After many years of working the
land the farmers hand has taken on the characteristics of the
hard dry soil.

The soil that has become a part of him just like a vital
organ. But now his old tired bones ache from the long days
ride and he stretches his back as he descends the great
machine to place his foot firmly upon the earth. One small
step for man, one giant leap for mankind.
He pats his awaiting companion on the head while
murmuring "We got another field done old boy, now lets go see
what's cooking".

Together they slowly drift towards the kitchen light like a
moth drawn to a flane, they inhale deeply as the door comes
nearer. The smell attacks their nostrils, makes their mouths
water and reminds them how the day is long.
Shedding all his worries with the old worn boots at the back
door the farmer makes his way to the bathroom to wash off
some of the corn dust and sunshine.

Across the supper table he sees his wifes' smiling face, the
nourishing food that he grew and his spirit begins to renew
itself. For with the rooster crow comes a new day and the
opportunity to feed and clothe America. And the farmers feels
the pride in his work and is glad to be an American farmer.
The end.
by C.S. Elliott

Sunday, April 18, 2004

Ken Midkiff has a long history with the Sierra Club. On April 2, 2004 he wrote this fairy tale.

Agribusiness PR pawn points finger at ‘radicals’ (more)
By KEN MIDKIFF

To which Craig Henkel a 4th generation farmer from Nebraska responded. Thank you Craig.

Ken, thanks for your reply!
In the third paragraph of your comments you state
"small farms are perfectly capable of feeding this
nation..." I think you might be right on the button
there, the problem is that the "small farms" that
might feed the U.S. one day, will be from another
country.
Let's look at the rest of the comments...
In the first paragraph it looks as if you've been
digging pretty deep to get some dirt on Trent. Haven't
you ever made a mistake?
In the second paragraph you state that "modern
agriculture" has nothing to do with quality or even
quantity. How do you come up with that? Ever heard of
"supply and demand"?
If you've toured some of the large livestock
operations, did you see animal abuse? Were the animals
fed and watered, with a dry place to live?
I raise livestock and I know that an unhappy,
unhealthy, uncared for animal is an unprofitable one.
There is no room for error when dealing with
livestock, if you abuse or neglect them and their
needs...you pay for it.
You state that small farms make small messes and
large farms make large messes, that is true. But do we
keep track of the small farms and their messes? Do we
make them pay through the nose when an accident
happens? How many small farms have accidents? Are
their enough environmental accidents on small farms to
actually make a greater negative impact on our
environment than the accidents on large scale farms
who are required to clean up the accidents?
"Feeding the World"?? That's such a laugh!!
We've been told how we will need to do that for such a
long time!!
What's the "Green Revolution"?
You grew up on a farm...why and when did you leave?
Why am I not a REAL farmer, you don't even know
anything about me. (I don't toil in a cubicle)
What is BigAg?
Tell me more about "free range".
Antibiotic/hormone-free products???? Didn't you
know that every living organism needs hormones to
function and we all produce our own? Did you know that
a serving of certain vegetables has many times more
hormones in it than implanted beef? Did you know that
there has never been ANY scientific link between use
of antibiotics in food animals and resistance to
antibiotics in humans? Did you know that antibiotic
use in food animals actually makes a safer end
product? What percentage of meat eaten today actually
has had any contact whatsoever with antibiotics? I
would assure you, it's a very small percentage. I know
that the only time I use antibiotics, is when I have a
sick animal. It doesn't happen very often, but when
one does become sick, it is imperative to treat it
right away to completely cure the sickness.
Having to treat an animal is a no-win situation.
First the animal is not feeling well so it's not
eating. That means it is not gaining weight or taking
care of it's young, or producing milk. Second, sorting
a sick animal out of a pen is stressful for all
animals involved. There is risk that an animal could
become injured during sorting or even injure me. Then
there is the expense of the antibiotic and labor
necessary to treat the animal. Keeping the animals
happy and healthy is absolutely necessary, whether in
a large or small operation. Dead or sick animals =
dead or sick operations.
"Locally grown" kinda makes sense to me. The only
problem is that I like orange juice in the morning, it
comes from Florida. My oatmeal was grown in Canada. I
don't know any farmers (small or large) who raise
coffee beans in the U.S..
I am a fourth generation family farmer, is that
sustainable enough for you?
What exactly is a "family farm"?
What is your idea of a perfect farm? Give me some
figures as to...number of acres. number of animals.
What size of tractors could we find on a "family
farm". Maybe we shouldn't have tractors at all? All
hand labor, or maybe horse drawn equipment?
Having come from a farm background, maybe you could
put together somekind of budget so I can see how this
small family farm is going to survive and thrive. If
the numbers look good enough, I will try it!
What are we going to raise, and who is going to
process and package it for us?
Please reply!
Craig Henkel


Friday, April 16, 2004

Allah or Jesus?

This is a true story and the author, Rick Mathes, is a well known leader in prison ministry.


Last month I attended my annual training session that's required for maintaining my state prison security clearance. During the training session there was a presentation by three speakers representing the Roman Catholic, Protestant and Muslim faiths, who explained each of their belief systems.

I was particularly interested in what the Islamic Imam had to say. The Imam gave a great presentation of the basics of Islam, complete with a video.

After the presentations, time was provided for questions and answers.

When it was my turn, I directed my question to the Imam and asked:

"Please, correct me if I'm wrong, but I understand that most Imams and clerics of Islam have declared a holy jihad [Holy war] against the infidels of the world. And, that by killing an infidel, which is a command to all Muslims, they are assured of a place in
heaven.

If that's the case, can you give me the definition of an infidel?"

There was no disagreement with my statements and, without hesitation, he replied, "Non-believers!"

I responded, "So, let me make sure I have this straight. All followers of Allah have been commanded to kill everyone who is not of your faith so they can go to Heaven. Is that correct?"

The expression on his face changed from one of authority and command to that of a little boy who had just gotten caught with his hand in the cookie jar.

He sheepishly replied, "Yes."

I then stated, "Well, sir, I have a real problem trying to imagine Pope John Paul commanding all Catholics to kill those of your faith or Dr. Stanley ordering Protestants to do the same in order to go to Heaven!"

The Imam was speechless.

I continued, "I also have problem with being your friend when you and your brother clerics are telling your followers to kill me. Let me ask you a question.

Would you rather have your Allah who tells you to kill me in order to go to Heaven or my Jesus who tells me to love you because I am going to Heaven and He wants you to be with me?"

You could have heard a pin drop.