One of the comments that I made to Megan that seemed to surprise her, was the fact that animal agriculture is being driven today by people who have never been on a farm. Her response went along the lines of,” How do we drive the care of animals?” Megan has been upfront about being a vegetarian, and willing to be vocal about it, but my choice to eat meat was my choice. Not everyone is as accepting of our choice of eating meat or our given industry. We absolutely can expect them to get more vocal, more active and to refine their message.
And what will be their message? They obliviously care more than we do. Expect them to claim the high moral ground, and to drive a wedge between us in the industry about what animal care really means. The later has been happening for a number of years with groups like the I-29er’s for Quality of Life, and several groups that claim sustainable Ag is the only future. Farms that have grown larger to improve our quality of life as well as our efficiency are being vilified, by people in the industry as well as by the activist outside of Ag. When I started in the feed business, a dairy with 120 cows, 250 sows, or 1000 cattle was considered big. Not today. Nostalgia is wonderful but it will not feed an exploding population.
There is a great quote that really applies here, and I wish I knew where it originated. “Only a well fed person questions where their food comes from.” When food and affluence are plentiful, many people feel the need for a cause. In this country we have both, and the result is a cause that some are throwing themselves at with a religious fervor. I’ve heard said that more people have died as a result of religious disagreements than in the two world wars. After seeing some of the stuff online about animal rights, I can’t help but believe this to apply to our battle as well.
So who really cares for our animals? We do. There should never be any question left in anyone’s mind about that fact. We need to work on the PR part of that equation, and social media will be a part of that.
There are few web sites that are doing a great job of telling the Ag story and showing the world who really cares for the animals.
Amanda Nolz writes a blog for Beef Daily. Lots of great information and insights into agriculture.
Advocates for Agriculture, started by Troy and Stacy Hadrick, from western South Dakota
A Real Farm Girl. A YouTube video diary of a young lady from South Dakota, as she lives and works a on her family’s farm. http://www.youtube.com/user/therealfarmgirl
Feedstuffs Foodlink. A venture of Feedstuffs magazine.