One of the biggest problems both the Ag industry and the animal rights’ groups deal with is a lack of trust. They don’t think we have an ounce of compassion, and our side feels they will go to any lengths to make us look bad. Let’s face it, we don’t trust each other to do the right things, and that starts where our core beliefs are based from. But when neither side will give on things like the use of animals for food, what do we do?
Well, for starters, we can take a look at our own industry and critically think about the decisions that we make. Now I’ve discussed some of these before so I won’t go back over all of them, but NO NEEDLESS SUFFERING. Enough said.
But the one that I’d like to address here is our trusting of the anti-ag folks. Unfortunately it isn’t always in our best interest to be all that trusting. They say that when we deny access to facilities we must be hiding something. We, as an industry, have been burned by radicals from the other side who fully feel the ends justify the means. I know we need to start a dialogue with these folks, but to what extent? Do you, like me, feel that you distrust them and while they might love animals, they don’t feel as warm and fuzzy about us in Ag?
I found a bit of an answer to that in an unlikely place, Popular Science, in their August edition, page 58. Within an article called “Science Confirms the Obvious “is a smaller article called”Environmentalists Can Be Smug Jerks”. It asked the question, if going green translates into “more redeeming behavior overall”. Subjects were exposed to green products, and were found to be more charitable, a halo effect. But when someone purchased one of these products, it seemed to be a license for hypocrisy. After a purchase they were more likely to lie or steal. It would seem that buying green gives people a sense of moral capital (aka a superiority complex). Does this kind of attitude sound familiar? I touched a bit on this in the blog “who cares”.
Now admittedly I’m making the stretch to apply this same thinking to animal rights. But it’s a parallel that looks to me, to fit. But why the attitude? In a recent discussion with an animal rescue proponent, I got put down, talked down to and more or less beat up for supporting Ag, even though they had no idea where I stood on any ag issue. I know they say they love animals, but they don’t always treat their fellow man very well. We shouldn’t be making the same mistake. Treat them with the respect that all people deserve, but cover ourselves where the trust issue is concerned.