How should the pork industry respond to the recent flurry of food company calls for the elimination of gestation stalls?
In an interview with Brownfield at World Pork Expo in Des Moines, communications professor Dr. Wes Jamison, who has studied the animal rights movement for the past 20 years, offered this advice to producers of pork—and other meat producers as well.
“The right approach for me would be to advise everyone out there in agriculture to come together in their various commodity groups and ask ourselves, ‘what are the absolute non-negotiables—not the ones that we want to defend—but the ones we must defend’,” Jamison says.
Jamison says there has to be clarity on which production procedures are “absolutely necessary for the permanent profitability of the pork industry.
“The ones that aren’t (necessary), then I think I would advise pork farmers to begin thinking through, with their commodity groups, ‘how do we transition, in the long haul, to profitability in other systems?”
But Jamison says negotiation with the Humane Society of the United States is out of the question.
“No, absolutely not—negotiating with animal rights activists is like Austria negotiating with Hitler,” he says. “I think everybody understands now that the animal welfare groups and rights groups want an end to all animal agriculture.
“What we don’t want to do is negotiate away our right to raise animals for human consumption,” Jamison adds.
Jamison is an associate professor of communications at Palm Beach Atlantic University in Florida. He has been a frequent speaker at ag and livestock meetings around the U.S. in recent years.