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Animal Rights on Wrong Track

South Dakota Farm Bureau leader worries about their recent victories.

At many of Dakotafest's livestock exhibits, the focus was on keeping farming animals comfortable.

Low stress cattle handling equipment and hoop barns for feeding cattle attracted a lot of attention.

Scott VanderWal, president of the South Dakota Farm Bureau and a cattle feeder, says animal welfare is becoming a key political issue for the livestock industry.

Animal rights advocates have won several victories lately. Several states passed laws banning swine gestation crates. Some packers and retailers have specified minimum space and production practices for their suppliers.

VanderWal says the groups have a hidden agenda - they don't believe people should eat meat or use other animal products.

Their strategy seems to be to force changes state by state and company by company.

"Each victory is a first down for them," he says.

He expects animal rights groups to raise issues in the Dakotas in the future.

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