Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Hell yes, I'm mad.

This morning, in what in my opinion is an act of sheer desperation, a "undercover video" showing some indefensible animal abuse on a farm in Ohio (allegedly) was released. The timing couldn't have been better for HSUS. With just over a month left to collect nearly 1/2 a million signatures for their ballot initiative, they are woefully short (like, less than half) and in desperate need of a boost. Will this video play to the heart strings of the uneducated consumer, or will people employ some critical thinking skills when it comes to this type of release. When was it shot? Why not take it immediately to the proper authorities, rather than try the farmer in the court of public opinion? Figure that last one out for yourself.

When a release like this occurs, it is imperative that ALL of agriculture stand with a common voice and condemn the actions. Not just cattle folks, or dairymen, or vets. ALL OF US. From apples to potatoes and corn to cucumbers, this should enrage us all. This is a direct attack on agriculture, farming, our families, and our way of life. We need to realize, these people are out to destroy everything we do on a daily basis. I don't care what crop you raise, you need to take the time to talk to anyone who will listen and help dispel this garbage. And this doesn't just go for the animal care issues. Whether it's the EPA trying to ban Atrazine (corn guys take note), labor issues (fruit folks like me aren't real happy with this), or animal care issues, we all have a vested interest, and we need to take the time to stand up and say it. Enough is enough. Period.

What is shown in those videos is sickening, indenfensiable, and inexcusable. However, calling for a ban on farms or farming practices is ridiculous. A few years ago, when I was still in high school, a teacher was caught having, well, "inappropriate" relationships with a few young ladies at the school. This guy was a pervert, and was kicked out of school and punished. But at any point did people suggest closing schools? How about male teachers for male students and female for female only classrooms? Are you nuts? This would have never happened. So why are we demonizing an entire industry over a very few bad actors.

Farmers everywhere should be angry and upset over these events, and they need to show it. It's time to stop quietly driving the tractor and waiting for someone else to fix your problems. It's time to step up, or be stepped on.


  1. Kudos on a wonderful article!

    Yes, as a rancher who cares for my livestock I am tired of having the "general public" assume I handle my livestock in this matter. I am fed up with HUSU force feeding the masses miss information and making the Independent family farm/ranchers out to be bad guys.

    Thank you for your voice, I support your efforts, I am off my tractor, out of my pastures and standing here ready to help in anyway I can. The Haven Family has proudly and Independently farmed and ranched in the United States since 1853 (on record).

    Thank You,
    Annie Haven
    Haven Livestock Producers
    Authentic Haven Brand

  2. All incredibly excellent points in your Blog, Jeff. All farmers need to stand up and be accounted, and condemn the kind of behavior that I witnessed in the "Mercy for Animals" produced video released today (5/26/10). Many farmers by nature, I believe, tend to be introverted and focused on their operations and have not had to deal with these type of issues in the past. Farmers used to be respected for what they did, and that was producing our food, not only to feed the neighborhood, but the whole world. Farmers are now less than 2% of the US population growing most of the food for our country as well as feeding an increasingly hungry world. Use this as a call to action. Farmers, contact your member organization, demand some media training so you can get the skills to tell your neighbors the good you do, the care you take of your land, your animals (if you are involved in animal agriculture sectors) and the benefits of rural agriculture that farming preserves for its citizens. Your neighbors will believe you if you stand up and explain the truth, and make the world your neighbor.

  3. The Huffington Post has an interesting take on this.


  4. Oops. Forgot the URL:


  5. Excellent article. I agree that there is likely no coincidence in the timing of release for this video, one thing needs to be clear, not only should farmers loudly proclaim their disgust with the actions of these individuals, they need to take action themselves in stopping these acts in the future. I find it very hard to believe that there were no other farmers in this area that knew about this despicable cruelty, and yet not one of them went to the authorities? Come on folks, if an AR has the guts to wire up and go onto a farm and witness this (assuming that really did happen and this wasn't, heaven forbid, staged), then why the heck can't a neighboring farmer call the cops or whoever to get this stopped?! Yes, educate the public on how the vast majority operates, but don't ever turn a cold shoulder if you ever witness something like this or you are just as responsible as those delivering the blows!

  6. Dairy and meat are an unnecessary dietary phenomenon perpetuated by slick marketing and a co-dependent society stuck in tradition. The very act of raising dairy cows is cruel...the very act of slaughtering animals for meat is cruel...

    As a former vegetable and fruit farmer, I can say that no, farmers of veggies and fruit need not stand with dairy farmers and meat producers. This group mentality is necessary to counter a movement underway to show this industry for what it is and to change the mindset of a nation born into "meat and potatoes" as a form of nutrition. I understand your livelihood demands a tolerance of this cruelty...but my conscious does not allow it.

    I find your pretentious comments to which you first denounce the abhorrent acts shown in the video while then denouncing what you see as the reasons for the video's release (in order to keep your collective energized) as further proof that you don't get it. And while others who share your livelihood may support your thoughts, those of us who don't can see the for what they are. Your industry begins and ends in cruelty that only ends when you change your definition of what cruelty is.

  7. To each his own, Tom, but meat and dairy are, proven by sound science, just as important to a balanced diet as are fruits, vegetables and grains. Everything in moderation, and should you choose to be a vegetarian or even a vegan then that is your choice. All consumers are entitled to choose and should base their decisions on sound scientific fact, and not one person's emotional tirade.

  8. I'm a reporter with the Columbus Free Press, Free Speech Radio News, Op Ed News, and WCRS Columbus, working on stories about---please hear me out---possible alliances between animal welfare(organic, free-range, cage-free...etc) and animal rights (vegans)to find viable alternatives to factory farming.

    This is not a debate about whether people should eat meat, eggs, or drink cow's milk. My focus is factory farming.

    Tom Over