WASHINGTON – The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) said recent legal action taken by The Humane Society of the United States is another “scare tactic” aimed at forcing NPPC to back off its opposition to the activist group’s Egg Bill and its campaign against gestation crates.

The HSUS announced on July 11, plans to sue 51 pig confinement operations in Iowa, North Carolina and Oklahoma for what the group claims were unreported releases of the hazardous pollutant ammonia. Many of those receiving notice are affiliated with the leaders and spokespersons of the NPPC.

"HSUS’s action obviously is another scare tactic to get NPPC to back off its opposition to the HSUS Egg Bill and to the animal-rights group’s truth-twisting campaign against family farmers who use individual sow housing," NPPC said in an e-mailed statement.

"In addition to not telling the truth about how hog farmers raise and care for their animals, HSUS now is lying about hog farmers' stewardship of the environment, which is exemplary," NPPC said. "We also wonder why a so-called animal welfare group is sticking its nose in environmental issues."

Although the HSUS claims it recognizes there are farmers who are attentive to animal welfare and environmental issues, it added some of the wealthiest pork-producing companies apparently refuse to comply with a critical federal law for public health protection.

The notice letters are required under the federal Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act before litigation can start, according to that statute’s citizen suit provisions.

NPPC said the Environmental Protection Agency is still evaluating air emissions data gathered from livestock and poultry operations to better understand emissions rates, which can vary widely from farm to farm.

"It is important to point out that HSUS is not alleging environmental harm but rather paperwork violations of EPA’s emissions reporting rule," NPPC said. "Additionally, it is worth noting that when the reporting rule went into effect in 2009 there was widespread confusion about it, with some states refusing to accept reports, one state claiming EPA notices to report emissions were an Internet hoax and EPA’s Region 4 office initially telling producers and states there was no reporting requirement.”