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After spending significant amounts of donor dollars, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) was dealt a significant loss in U.S. District Court on Wednesday. In what was considered to be a futile legal challenge and a very personal attack on U.S. pork producers, a U.S. district judge Wednesday dismissed a lawsuit filed by HSUS over the National Pork Board’s purchase of the “Pork, The Other White Meat” trademark from the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC).
HSUS, which was joined in the suit by a lone Iowa pork producer and the Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, sued the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) – and Secretary Tom Vilsack – over approval of the trademark purchase and the Pork Board’s annual payments to NPPC. HSUS argued that the sale and payments were unlawful since the Pork Board is prohibited from using checkoff dollars to influence legislation. The court dismissed the HSUS case, ruling that the plaintiffs lacked standing and that no one had suffered any injury from the Agriculture Secretary’s actions.
NPPC applauded the Secretary’s willingness to defend the case and pork producers across this country. The Secretary’s actions should send a strong signal to HSUS supporters that frivolous lawsuits will not be tolerated and should not be pursued.
“If I were a donor to HSUS, I would be very disturbed that my money was wasted on yet another expensive lawsuit that had nothing to do with improving the welfare of farm animals,” said NPPC President Randy Spronk, a pork producer from Edgerton, Minn. “This is clearly a vendetta against the U.S. pork industry by the leadership of HSUS, which has made their mission to permanently end animal agriculture very clear. It was frivolous and a waste of the taxpayers’ money and the court’s time. HSUS donors deserve better than that.”