If you subscribe to Newsweek and you enjoy reading creative fiction, check out page 71 in this week’s issue (dated April 14th). It’s a full-page ad from the Humane Farming Association. This group really doesn’t like veal, and it’s not above lying to make a point (and raise money). Yesterday our Director of Research FedExed a letter to Newsweek’s top brass, demanding to know how such a clearly false and misleading advocacy ad made it past the due diligence of the magazine’s lawyers. We documented a half-dozen glaring falsehoods—and that was just the “low hanging fruit.”

I would be keenly interested in learning whether Newsweek ever asked the Humane Farming Association to substantiate [its] claims—and if so, what sort of evidence the group provided that could have satisfied the attorneys performing due diligence prior to publication. The only explanation I can imagine is that perhaps someone on your central advertising staff is so blindly sympathetic to the cause of animal “rights” that he or she was willfully blind to an obviously false and deceptive ad.
In the many years I have been studying the animal protection movement, I have never encountered a more baseless, dishonest, and disingenuous advertisement than the one you published this week. Newsweek owes a sincere apology (or at least a proper explanation) to veal farmers, to members of the public who choose to eat veal, and to its readers in general.

Click here to read the rest of our letter to Newsweekwith all the details.
Why make such a fuss about the Humane Farming Association’s fascination with tarring and feathering veal farmers? The group has a long history of fudging, faking, and phonying. In 2000, the Humane Farming Association distributed copies of a five-minute “hidden camera” video to reporters, claiming that it documented illegal animal abuse at a meat processing plant in the state of Washington. But the Washington Department of Agriculture determined that the original (200-minute-long) video actually showed workers behaving appropriately. The video’s final cut, wrote investigators, was heavily “edited to delete workers’ actions to correct problems.”

In other words, the Humane Farming Association doctored its footage to show slaughterhouse employees in the worst light possible. The state’s lead prosecutor investigating the meat producer ended up concluding that the group “manufactured the evidence in order to fulfill their own agendas.” But it appears that this stinging public rebuke never slowed the Humane Farming Association down. Its latest advertising demonstrates that animal rights activists — even publicly discredited ones — will stop at nothing to force their worldview on the rest of us.