Amanda Nolz

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September 2, 2010
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HSUS closes doors to ranchers on public meeting

"Want to find out how you can help animals? The Humane Society of the U.S. (HSUS) invites our members, supporters and other animal advocates to a grassroots meeting to discuss current issues affecting animals. If you are concerned about local animal issues or just interested in creating a more compassionate South Dakota, you should attend this informative meeting to learn how you can take action for animals. Remember to bring your ideas, concerns, and questions, and don't forget to invite your friends. RSVP today to lend your hand and make a difference for the animals in South Dakota! Please tell all your friends. Hope to see you there!"

The above invitation was sent out by HSUS, which currently has a full-time staff member located in South Dakota. The proposed meeting was to be held on Aug. 25, 2010 at Oh My Cupcakes, a locally-owned shop in downtown Sioux Falls, SD. Interestingly enough, when several agriculture groups and producers responded to the invite and sent in their RSVPs, they were surprised to learn that they were quickly uninvited to the event.

Darci Adams, the HSUS state director for South Dakota, sent out an e-mail to anyone with ties to the agriculture industry that read, "Perhaps you've been misinformed, but this is not a public event. This is a private gathering for members of HSUS and supporters who want to get involved in our work to alleviate animal cruelty."

Adams offered to meet with the farmers and ranchers at a "separate, more appropriate setting." The soap opera might have ended then until the owner of Oh My Cupcakes suddenly canceled the meeting entirely after a conversation with South Dakota Pork Producers Council Program and Communications Director Stacy Sorlien, who explained the mission statement of the HSUS to her.

"The owner of Oh My Cupcakes thought she wasn't given accurate information about the HSUS, and she was surprised to learn that people were uninvited to come to her shop and attend the meeting," said Sorlien, who spoke with her the week of the meeting. "She is a very spiritual individual who simply wants to bring joy to her customers through her sweet treats and cupcakes."

Although Oh My Cupcakes didn't intend to fall into a political land-mine, that's certainly where the business ended up. When it was announced that the location would be the site for the HSUS meeting, Sorlien said the state's pork producers were very confused, especially because they had worked with the cupcake store in their recent Taste of Elegance event, a culinary competition designed to inspire innovative and exciting ways to menu pork.

"When HSUS set up the meeting, the owner automatically assumed that the group was associated with a local shelter," explained Sorlien. "Through a quick phone call, I was able to explain to her the difference. She felt duped by the organization, and she is a proud supporter of local agriculture. She buys local eggs and milk to be used to make her cupcakes. That's how HSUS receives so much support. They put on their cute television commercials and they use their name to confuse consumers. There truly is a difference between a local shelter and HSUS."

Sorlien said that several producers called in before the meeting date to share their displeasure with the Oh My Cupcakes store for planning to host the event. She said while some were friendly calls, others were incredibly accusatory and told the owner that HSUS is messing with their livelihood. Though true, Sorlien reminded producers that it's important to educate others; acting cruelly could send the wrong message about farmers and ranchers.

"For producers to call in and be angry is totally sending the wrong message," said Sorlien. "Oh My Cupcakes weren't given all the information, but HSUS isn't going to just come out and say their true agenda. It's up to us to educate others. HSUS has hired on a full-time person in South Dakota. They are on our doorstep, and that has producers all over the state in an uproar because it's messing with their business. It's different when you hear (about) other states than when they are in your own state. Producers are becoming more aware of the issues."

Keeping in mind the ballot initiatives HSUS has pushed through in other states, it will be critical for producers in South Dakota to keep an eye on the battles that lie ahead.

"Want to find out how you can help animals? The Humane Society of the U.S. (HSUS) invites our members, supporters and other animal advocates to a grassroots meeting to discuss current issues affecting animals. If you are concerned about local animal issues or just interested in creating a more compassionate South Dakota, you should attend this informative meeting to learn how you can take action for animals. Remember to bring your ideas, concerns, and questions, and don't forget to invite your friends. RSVP today to lend your hand and make a difference for the animals in South Dakota! Please tell all your friends. Hope to see you there!"

The above invitation was sent out by HSUS, which currently has a full-time staff member located in South Dakota. The proposed meeting was to be held on Aug. 25, 2010 at Oh My Cupcakes, a locally-owned shop in downtown Sioux Falls, SD. Interestingly enough, when several agriculture groups and producers responded to the invite and sent in their RSVPs, they were surprised to learn that they were quickly uninvited to the event.

Darci Adams, the HSUS state director for South Dakota, sent out an e-mail to anyone with ties to the agriculture industry that read, "Perhaps you've been misinformed, but this is not a public event. This is a private gathering for members of HSUS and supporters who want to get involved in our work to alleviate animal cruelty."

Adams offered to meet with the farmers and ranchers at a "separate, more appropriate setting." The soap opera might have ended then until the owner of Oh My Cupcakes suddenly canceled the meeting entirely after a conversation with South Dakota Pork Producers Council Program and Communications Director Stacy Sorlien, who explained the mission statement of the HSUS to her.

"The owner of Oh My Cupcakes thought she wasn't given accurate information about the HSUS, and she was surprised to learn that people were uninvited to come to her shop and attend the meeting," said Sorlien, who spoke with her the week of the meeting. "She is a very spiritual individual who simply wants to bring joy to her customers through her sweet treats and cupcakes."

Although Oh My Cupcakes didn't intend to fall into a political land-mine, that's certainly where the business ended up. When it was announced that the location would be the site for the HSUS meeting, Sorlien said the state's pork producers were very confused, especially because they had worked with the cupcake store in their recent Taste of Elegance event, a culinary competition designed to inspire innovative and exciting ways to menu pork.

"When HSUS set up the meeting, the owner automatically assumed that the group was associated with a local shelter," explained Sorlien. "Through a quick phone call, I was able to explain to her the difference. She felt duped by the organization, and she is a proud supporter of local agriculture. She buys local eggs and milk to be used to make her cupcakes. That's how HSUS receives so much support. They put on their cute television commercials and they use their name to confuse consumers. There truly is a difference between a local shelter and HSUS."

Sorlien said that several producers called in before the meeting date to share their displeasure with the Oh My Cupcakes store for planning to host the event. She said while some were friendly calls, others were incredibly accusatory and told the owner that HSUS is messing with their livelihood. Though true, Sorlien reminded producers that it's important to educate others; acting cruelly could send the wrong message about farmers and ranchers.

"For producers to call in and be angry is totally sending the wrong message," said Sorlien. "Oh My Cupcakes weren't given all the information, but HSUS isn't going to just come out and say their true agenda. It's up to us to educate others. HSUS has hired on a full-time person in South Dakota. They are on our doorstep, and that has producers all over the state in an uproar because it's messing with their business. It's different when you hear (about) other states than when they are in your own state. Producers are becoming more aware of the issues."

Keeping in mind the ballot initiatives HSUS has pushed through in other states, it will be critical for producers in South Dakota to keep an eye on the battles that lie ahead.


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Tri-State Livestock News Updated Aug 14, 2012 03:52PM Published Sep 2, 2010 12:35PM Copyright 2010 Tri-State Livestock News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.