Cyndi's Two Cents

Know thine enemy

Thirty years ago I was a 28-year farm broadcaster covering the World Pork Expo in Des Moines, Iowa when a women in a pig costume shoved a whipped cream pie in the face of Iowa’s Pork Queen in a protest staged by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) which at the time claimed more than 350,000 members.  Today, PETA claims a membership of 6.5 million. 

Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), the wealthiest animal rights activist organization on the planet does not participate in public demonstrations where members throw fake blood at celebrities wearing fur coats or dress in lettuce leaves to promote a vegan diet.  HSUS focuses on changing laws and corporate policies.  It fights in boardrooms and courtrooms, politicians’ offices, and public squares. 

Although PETA and HSUS operate differently, both, along with ASPCA and even more radical groups like the Animal Defense League, Animal Liberation League and Mercy For Animals, are using the hot button issue of the day – climate change – to spread their message. 

Many companies, big and small, local, and multi-national, are also implementing policies aimed at reducing their carbon footprint. 

Many companies are softly selling the concept of moving away from animal products.  Others – specifically many of the companies producing a product to mimic meat – are focused on displacing meat in American diets.   For the most part, they make no bones about it—this is about ending animal agriculture.

Case in point:  Impossible Foods Founder Pat Brown has said “My company’s goal is to wipe out the animal farming industry and take them down.”

You cannot get much more direct than that.

Beyond Meat claims that by shifting from animal to plant-based meat, they can address four growing global issues:  human health, climate change, constraints on natural resources and animal welfare.

Last month, New Jersey Senator Cory Booker was appointed to the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry.  The vegan lawmaker received the HSUS Humanitarian of the Year Award for his political work in 2017.  He has been vocal in his belief that modern animal agriculture has a negative impact on the environment.

There are those who say that animal agriculture will never go away, but that the industry is going to have to change because the next generation is concerned about the environment and animal welfare. 

If you, as a livestock farmer are not currently concerned about the environment and animal welfare then you should not be involved in livestock production.

I believe that most livestock farmers in this country are working daily to be good stewards of the land, air, water, and livestock.  I believe that we share a common goal of providing a safe and wholesome food supply while caring for and handling our livestock with the welfare of all as a top priority.

I also know a few bad actors.  We all do.  Exercise cautious when using phrases like “All farmers implement good animal welfare practices, or all farmers are good stewards of the land and water.”  Because that is not true! I believe those bad actors pose a greater threat to the future of animal agriculture than all of the vegan lawmakers and animal rights groups combined.

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