Animal rights groups around the nation have gone on attack against livestock production facilities all over the country, and livestock farmers have begun to fight back through social media and direct interaction with consumers.
One of the more recent videos put out to the public by the group Mercy for Animals is available on YouTube. It’s graphic and very offensive in nature:
Emily Meredith is the Communications Director for the Animal Agriculture Alliance, and she says what you’re seeing in videos like this isn’t the whole picture.
She said the Animal Ag Alliance is a “non-profit, broad based coalition of everyone in the animal ag food chain.” The chain includes “farmers, ranchers, producer organizations, and veterinarians.” She said the goal of the organization is to speak “with a unified voice, to the media and public about top of mind issues, which includes animal rights.”
The Alliance feels the real motivation for these videos are more bottom line oriented. Meredith said “they’re trying to use these videos to fundraise. They’re also trying to scare the American consumer into believing that their meat and eggs are not being produced humanely, which drives their vegan agenda.”
Dal Grooms is a spokeswoman for the Iowa Cattleman’s Association, and spoke to Fox News. She said these activists aren’t in it for the animals benefit. “Who cares more about the livestock? The farmers who own it and make sure it’s healthy, or people that kind of stop in for a bit, and then move on to their next victim? They’re trying to put livestock farmers out of business, and they’re trying to raise money too.”
Meredith said the food production chain has checks and balances in place to ensure that animals are treated humanely. “There are animal welfare programs in place in each sector of the livestock industry, and buyers want to insure that farmers are following these guidelines. If farmers are abusing animals, they’re not going to stay in business long because no one will buy product from them.”
According to msn.com, “the meat and poultry industries have begun to push back against animal activists by trying to get bills passed against shooting undercover video in production facilities.” Humane Society of the USA California Director Jennifer Fearing said, “I wish the cattlemen actually wanted to stop the cruelty instead of the documenting of cruelty.” Meredith said there’s more to it than that:
Meredith said farmers haven’t been vigilant in following sound hiring practices when they look for help around the farm. “They’re farmers, not private investigators,” she said. “A lot of these families haven’t been following up and checking references, so they end up hiring someone who’s seeking to destroy their way of life.”
“At the Alliance, we’ve encouraged farmers to do your diligence. Check references. Make people apply for work in writing, don’t just hire on a handshake,” said Meredith. “A lot of farmers now make employees sign agreements that if they see abuse, they’ll report it immediately to the owner or to the authorities.
Meredith said there are signs that can help a farmer determine if a worker is there for hidden purposes. “This person will be in areas they’re not supposed to be in. They’ll be on the farm after hours in some way. There may be complaints from other workers that they aren’t following proper procedures,” she said. “In most cases, when the farmer starts asking questions, that activist is gone.”