Debunking animal activists

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Debunking animal activists

I just came across this article about an event in Ohio:

Sutton-Vermeulen will focus on the myths and misinformation from animal rights groups that are out of touch with today’s agriculture and putting our food supply at risk. He is well-know for working with non-governmental groups to help them become animal agriculture activists.

The June 19 workshop is open to all interested people who want to be spokespersons for animal agriculture and its importance to our country. Threats are coming from the Humane Society of the United States that they are coming to Ohio with a program to restrict sound, approved livestock practices. Such restrictions, if imposed, would reduce our food supply and increase the cost.

So, it sounds like he’ll be talking about how we animal rights activists don’t know about how animals are raised on farms. Maybe he’ll explain how well the animals are treated on farms and that animal protection groups just don’t know this, but everything is already plenty good for the animals.

But, actually, here’s the big threat: “HSUS wants certain animals to be able to stand up, lie down, turn around and spread their limbs without touching another animal or any part of their enclosure.” This is the threat to our “safe and affordable food supply.”

Based on the results from California’s vote on Proposition 2, I would think that many people think that animals deserve to be able to stand up, turn around, and spread their limbs. Many people probably think that animals already have this amount of space, even though they are wrong.

So, this event is really training in smokescreening the way animals are treated on these “farms.” I wonder what sorts of excuses he’ll be making for why we need to cram animals so tightly that they can’t stand up or turn around, let alone ever see the sun or engage in any natural, instinctive behaviours.


4 Comments

JaegerMaister

May 29, 2009 at 9:42 am

You are right! HSUS’s success with passing legislation is grounded by convincing the public of what is “reasonable” animal welfare. It is very easy to convince the public of this when talking about battery cages or gestation crates. The challenge to the industry is two fold, convince the public that we are policing ourselves to stop the most egregious acts and secondly to promote all the good benefits animal ag has for the community and the world.

In the end though, it is not about what HSUS believes and it is not about what animal agriculture believes it is about what the consumer believes. That is why we are training people to be agricultural activists, to convince the consumer and to stand up for agriculture.

I hope that the emphasis of this talk is to tell the good side of animal agriculture and how to humanize the producers not the animals with the public. I should be interesting, wish I could go.

Glenn

May 29, 2009 at 10:47 am

I think that the talk will be more about how to promote large, intensive agriculture instead of farming that allows for animals to have any degree of freedom or engage in natural, instinctive behaviours. Obviously, requirements that have any of the animals’ interests at heart are seen as a threat, even though many small farms allow their animals to stand up, turn around, and stretch their wings.

You don’t need to engage in any sort of “humanization” of the animals involved to see that this is the right thing to do.

JaegerMaister

June 1, 2009 at 2:39 pm

Humanization of the animals is where this debate began! I think that animal ag has to do a better job of telling the production story and gaining the consumers empathy for the producer, not the animal. I think that is a key tactic for us to be successful in promoting animal agriculture and combating what the consumer sees as “reasonable” treatment of livestock. Now, don’t get me wrong, the consumer is always right and I am not advocating any kind of undue welfare for our livestock. I am simply describing a marketing strategy to combat your marketing strategy.

I think the workshop is going to teach farmers and producers how to communicate the production story so that consumers can connect with the people who produce their food.

I’m sure there will be press about it on June 20 so we’ll have to wait until then to see who was right!

Becci

June 3, 2009 at 3:36 pm

They’re probably going to be talking about how “research” shows that battery cage hens are actually happier and safer than birds that don’t spend their entire lives crammed next to 5 or 6 other chickens. Sigh.

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