The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia accusing the National Pork Board (NPB) of cutting an “unlawful backroom deal” with the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) regarding the purchase of the slogan, “Pork: The Other White Meat.”  HSUS said, “The National Pork Producers Council has a failed track record when it comes to representing family farmers and preventing animal cruelty.  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.”  HSUS also claims, “Through months of research, HSUS uncovered glaring legal violations, conflicts of interest, and an exorbitantly over-inflated $60 million price tag associated with the deal. Much of the extraordinarily inflated value of the slogan resulted from 20 years of promotional campaigns funded entirely with pork producers’ own checkoff funds – roughly half a billion dollars.”  NPPC, in a statement, said the lawsuit did not have legal merit and was another attempt by “a radical activist group to severely curtail animal agriculture and take away consumer food choices.”  NPPC added, “This also is the latest bullying tactic by HSUS in its efforts to force NPPC to abandon its position on allowing farmers to choose production practices that are best for the welfare of their animals. Over the past few months, HSUS has threatened NPPC with a Federal Trade Commission complaint; filed notice of its intent to sue a number of hog operations over alleged emissions reporting violations; and charged that NPPC was responsible for the deaths of hogs in barn fires because the organization asked to give input on national fire standards for agricultural facilities. All of the allegations lack merit.”  The NPB purchased the “Pork. The Other White Meat” trademark from the NPPC in 2006.  The suite names Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack as the defendant.  USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service administers programs that facilitate the efficient, fair marketing of U.S. agricultural products, including food, fiber and specialty crops. USDA has oversight of the National Pork Board’s management of the checkoff and how the funds are spent.