Thursday, July 05, 2007

Mr. Bill Gates, Chairman
1 Microsoft Way
Redmond, WA 98052

Dear Mr. Gates:

The members and friends of the Alliance for the Future of Agriculture in Nebraska (A-FAN) are writing to express our deep concern regarding the relationship that has been forged between Microsoft and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) through Microsoft’s i’m Initiative and to encourage Microsoft to end this relationship.

The i’m Initiative is an admirable program providing financial support to non-profit organizations for the betterment of a number of different causes, including humanitarian efforts. Allowing the HSUS to benefit financially from this initiative runs contrary to the very foundation of this Microsoft effort. The HSUS is not the national organization for local animal shelters and it is not what it appears to be on the surface.

The HSUS is the nation’s largest animal rights activist group and carries a dangerous and radical agenda that if proliferated, will not only directly harm farm families and rural communities in our state, but families across America and food consumers everywhere. This vegan-led organization spends millions annually attacking farm and ranch families through legislative, legal and other initiatives to eliminate veterinarian approved animal husbandry practices used by farmers to raise the food that feeds Nebraskans, Americans and the rest of the world.

Less than a year ago, at the HSUS’ Taking Action for Animals conference, Wayne Pacelle, HSUS President vowed to redouble the animal rights group’s efforts against animal agriculture. Later in the year the organization’s Vice President of Farm Animal Welfare, declared that the organization’s long-term goal for the egg laying and broiler chicken industry is, “to get rid of the industry”.

The United States is blessed to have a system of food production where the average consumer spends roughly 10 percent of their disposable income on food, allowing them to enjoy a standard of living unsurpassed anywhere in the world. Nebraska is deeply rooted in agriculture and the well-being of farmers and ranchers plays a tremendous role in the well being of all Nebraskans. Nebraska farm families are extremely proud of the their ability to take care of their animals and take great pride in providing a safe and affordable food supply improving the lives and livelihoods of people everywhere. The HSUS’ actions jeopardize the security of our country’s food production system and the well being of families and consumers whom depend upon it.

We trust Microsoft would not knowingly support such a radical organization and extremist agenda. As an organization and as individuals we are asking you to please end Microsoft’s relationship with HSUS. Furthermore, we encourage you to consider replacing HSUS with another entity that would work toward ensuring a viable and affordable food supply for our country and world. There are many that exist to promote this important cause and we would be more than willing to share candidates for this effort.

We appreciate your attention to this matter and would welcome the opportunity to visit with you or a representative of the Microsoft Corporation to discuss this matter further or answer any questions that you may have. Our country was founded on agriculture and is vibrant because of it. It is important that we never forget.

Trent Loos

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