A lawsuit has been filed by The Humane Society of the United States, along with an independent pig farmer, charging the National Pork Board with striking an unlawful closed doors deal with a D.C. lobbying organization when they bought the famed "Pork: The Other White Meat" slogan back in 2006. The deal slates $60 million in pork producers' money collected under marketing pretenses, to instead go to industry lobbying, posing a threat to animal welfare and small farmers.
“The National Pork Producers Council has a failed track record when it comes to representing family farmers and preventing animal cruelty,” said Joe Maxwell, director of rural development and outreach at The HSUS and a Missouri pig farmer. “While we can’t force NPPC to care about animals or family farmers, through this lawsuit we can work to stop our money from being unlawfully funneled straight to its lobbyists who work against us.”
Each U.S. pork producer must pay into the 'check-off' program, but these funds are solely to be used for promotional and research purposes, not lobbying. The complaint does not challenge the constitutionality of this program, just the gross misuse of the federally-compelled check-off payments towards lobbyists.
The NPPC lobbies against animal welfare legislation, no matter the industry. They are currently lobbying against the Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments of 2012, which would improve treatment of egg-laying hens, and is actually backed by egg farmers and egg industry groups. The NPCC also advocates against the banning on gestation crates, even though they are already banned in nine states and being phased out by many major pork producers and food companies.