Pork Industry Angry Over HSUS, USDA Lawsuit Settlement Talks

Randall Weiseman Livestock, Pork

Pork producers want USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack to exhaust all legal options against a lawsuit filed by the Humane Society of the United States. Delegates from both the National Pork Board and the National Pork Industry Council voted to pressure Vilsack to seek all legal options against the lawsuit.

At issue is a 2012 lawsuit HSUS filed against the sale of intellectual property; the slogan “Pork. The Other White Meat.” and the accompanying pork chop icon. The sale, worth roughly $35 million, was approved by USDA in 2006. HSUS claims the sale was unlawful. The 2012 lawsuit was thrown out of court but gained new life thanks to an appeal court last year.

Secretary Vilsack a couple of weeks ago during testimony to the House Agriculture Committee said USDA, along with the Justice Department, were in settlement talks with HSUS. Vilsack told the committee the settlement talks were “a decision made in concert with the industry.” However, neither the National Pork Board nor the National Pork Producers Council has been included in the talks and neither approve of any potential settlement at this time.