April 16, 2013 by Carrie Mess
This might be kind of disjointed, I have a lot of thoughts about this topic and they don’t all flow together easily. Currently several states are looking at legislation that would help protect farmers from undercover videos being shot on their farms by animal rights activists. The proposed laws have been given the name “Ag Gag Bills” by the people who oppose them. As a farmer myself you may expect that I am for these protections but I’m not. If this ticks off some of my other farm friends, I am sorry, but hear me out.
Consumers today aren’t the same as the consumers of yesterday. People want to be connected to their food, even the gristly and bloody parts. I know two of my friends, Megan and Jenny have both faced scrutiny over blog posts that shared some graphic photos of an animal turning into the meat we eat. The problem is that the heat they faced wasn’t from their customers, instead it was from members of our industry who haven’t figured out that people are demanding transparency from farm to fork.
So why in the world are farmers fighting so hard to keep cameras out of their barns? We have reached a point where hiding our practices is the last thing in the world we need to do. If we can’t give reasonable explanations for our practices to the people who buy our products then I think we need to look at our practices. I’m not saying that we have to cave into the demands of animal rights activists by any means. This isn’t about the small percentage of people that seem to make the most noise, it’s about the moms and dads that want to know more about how the meat they are about to purchase was cared for while it was an animal.
Now here is where any animal right activists reading this stop smiling. I do believe that anyone who films abuse on a farm and holds onto that footage until they can release it on youtube rather than turning it over to the police should also be charged as animal abusers. No one should profit off of abuse in any way.
If there is abuse happening in our barns and we are unaware of it, outlawing video isn’t the way to fix the problem. What message do our customers hear from us in the media when we are fighting to push bills like this through? I don’t have anything to hide, do you?
Want to see what it looks like when logic and answers are applied to an animal “abuse” video? I dissected one HERE, please take a minute to read it.