Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Taking an Inside Look at Animal Agriculture

I don't know why all of a sudden, but in the last week I have been alerted to a few articles, campaigns and TV shows that are raising questions about America's animal agriculture sector.  It all started last week when Dairy Carrie alerted me about Panera Bread Company's new EZ Chicken campaign.

This fear campaign sadly portrays farmers who use antibiotics as lazy.  My Farmer puts in long, hard days 24/7/365 to ensure the best environment for our pigs.  We conduct proper antibiotics use in our hogs to keep our livestock healthy.  Afterall, healthy animals provide healthy food.  Antibiotics help prevent and control disease.  And did you know, the FDA doesn't allow meat to be sold with traces of antibiotics above strict safety limits.  FDA and the US Food Safety and Inspection Service have regulations that requires specific withdrawl times, or a set number of days that must pass between the last antibiotic treatment and the animal entering the food supply.  This ensures the drugs have sufficiently cleared an animal's system.  The Panera Bread campaign, along with many others, tout being antibiotic free.  The thing is, no meat in the US food system has antibiotics in it - so technically, all meat is antibiotic free.

Then this week a friend of mine alerted to me about the New York Times article, "Can We See Our Hypocrisy to Animals?" by Nicholas Kristof.  Mr. Kristof believes our descendants will be "mystified" by how we, people of the 21st century, could have been "so oblivious to the unethical treatment of animals."  The well being of the pigs on our farm is a very high priority of ours.  My Farmer and I are constantly exploring new ways to raise our animals in the best way that ensures our hogs to be healthy and content.  The housing we raise our pigs in is well ventilated, the perfect temperature, well lit, clean and scientifically designed to meet the needs for temperature, light, water and food for our animals.

My Farmer doing his daily hog chores
He is standing next to the "food court" that our pigs eat at
And now, I have been made aware of a National Geographic episode of Inside: Secret America titled:  Animal Undercover that will be airing tomorrow night at 9 p.m. CST.  I don't know too much, since it hasn't aired yet, but what I do know from the overview given on National Geographic's Inside: Secret America website is this:  National Geographic meets with two covert animal activists (their words, not mine) who lead hidden camera exposes in slaughterhouses, farms and research labs who are pushing for stricter enforcement of animal cruelty laws.  I'm not sure what National Geographic's view will be on what these animal activists share with them, but I can only imagine...

I for one am proud to be a 5th generation farmer who, like the name of my blog says, raises corn, soybeans, pigs and kids on My Farmer's and my North Central Iowa farm.  We work hard everyday to ensure the best well being for our livestock.  Join me and share your voice in the discussion with these campaigns, articles and stories.  I'm proud to report that due to feedback already from Panera's EZ Chicken campaign, some aspects of the campaign have already been taken down or cancelled.  But we still need to share the "inside" story of animal agriculture with them, the New York Times and tomorrow night with National Geographic!


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  2. Thanks for letting me know about the NatGeo program tomorrow night. We need to alert as many farmers and ranchers as possible about this because from the previews I saw, we animal folks are at a disadvantage for the way we're portrayed.

    I'm going to do a blog post so my followers will know that the program is slanted towards the animal rights folks. Fortunately, I live in Utah, where Ag Gag supposedly keeps the lid on secret videos.

    If you want to video our place, fine, just let me know you're doing so. That way I can explain why there's a puddle in front of the sheep feeder, why there's a lamb with a splint on her leg, why there are lambs with missing ears. Why it looks like our animal pens need cleaning, and lastly, why there are weeds in our hoop houses and other gardens. Farms aren't perfect, folks.

    1. They did interview some people at the Animal Agriculture Alliance so I guess we'll see tonight how everyone's view points are portrayed. Iowa has an Ag Protection bill as well.

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