Folks, ever since this COVID-19 pandemic was hurled upon us as a nation, we’ve experienced a whirlwind of changes and a shift in the dynamics of the beef cattle business.
Everything is so fast paced now that new developments seem to happen by the hour.
In recent weeks, our attention has been focused on things like packing plant closures, the Defense Production Act being invoked to reopen and keep processing moving, producers forced to euthanize hogs and chickens, calls to investigate corruption in the meat business and Trump’s order for the Department of Justice to look into the Big Four, a petition to reinstate mandatory Country of Origin Labeling circling social media, and an attentive press eager to hear from producers on all of these arising issues and topics.
And while these evolving issues and stories continue to take shape and consume our attention, we have lost sight of the true external threats that are getting stronger with each passing day. These threats aim to put us out of business and eliminate meat, dairy and eggs from the menu.
Even as this pandemic rages on, activist groups are continuing their work and are achieving small and large victories. And it seems nobody is really paying attention.
In recent weeks, I’ve blogged about what these bad actors have been up to. Without question, they have been busy chipping away at our freedoms to own and use livestock and animals in food, medicine, research and more. I’ll continue to add to a growing list of “activities” these groups have been engaged in while we’ve been otherwise distracted.
Here’s eight examples to illustrate what I mean:
1. These groups have targeted U.S. meat producers and their federal aid support, claiming that only plant-based farmers who produce sustainable, climate friendly food should receive anything in the stimulus package.
2. They’ve worked to ban the use of animals in the ongoing research to develop COVID-19 treatments and vaccines.
3. They’ve recently invested in cheap stocks in high-end clothing companies in the hopes of banning wool and fur in the future.
4. They’ve pushed to successfully ban horse carriage businesses in Chicago.
5. They’ve capitalized on this COVID-19 crisis by writing editorials that blame this pandemic on food animal production and eating meat. Read this editorial that appeared on KETV Omaha to see what I mean.
6. Additionally, PETA recently purchased stocks in Tyson, Sanderson Farms, Maple Leaf Foods, Oscar Meyer’s parent company Kraft Heinz, WH Group (owner of Smithfield) and Hormel Foods.
“In the midst of all these slaughterhouse closures across the country because workers are infected with the coronavirus, PETA has bought stock in six major companies that own slaughterhouses,” said PETA senior campaigner Amber Canavan, in an interview with ABC6 News in Rochester, Minn. “We’re buying so we can speak directly to the heads of the companies in their shareholder meetings.”
Canavan added, “We’re saying there’s a better way. We can grow plants, eat plants, and do away with many of the health problems, the worker problems, and the environmental problems just by transitioning to producing and eating healthy vegan foods instead.”
7. Direct Action Everywhere (DXE) — a group that trespasses onto farms to capture “gotcha” footage as part of their Cancel Ag Campaign — has protested outside of packing plants as they reopened, calling them “breeding grounds for pandemic disease.”
Note, this group routinely harasses me on social media, often commenting or trying to debate me on photos with my children. This crosses a line for this mom, and I have a zero-tolerance policy for messing with my family when it comes to activists engaging on my Facebook page.
8. Karner Blue Capital (KBC), an investment advisory company, recently launched an “animal impact fund” comprised of 100+ publicly traded companies leading in animal welfare.
A familiar name to most of you — Wayne Pacelle (formerly HSUS CEO) now serves as a partner with KBC. It won’t come as a shock to you that he’s infusing his animal rights views in this company, as well.
In an interview with EIN Presswire, Pacelle said, “People alert to animal suffering make conscious food choices, buy products not tested on animals, and take other actions to minimize any harm they might do to animals. But, for some people, when it comes to how they put capital to work in the markets, they’ve not had a diversified, animal-friendly option. Now they have that option.”
KBC’s portfolio of endorsed companies includes Beyond Meat, Adidas, Vanda Pharmaceuticals and Tesla.
Of these choices, KBC explains, “Beyond Meat, Inc. offers consumers plant-based alternatives to beef, pork, and chicken and has secured a place on the menus of many of the nation’s best-known quick-serve restaurants so that consumers have an easier pathway to eating with conscience.
“Adidas is moving away from leather offerings and increasingly using ocean plastic and other recycled materials to make its athletic shoes. Last year, it made 11 million pairs of shoes from ocean plastic.
“Vanda Pharmaceuticals has sued the Food and Drug Administration for requiring outdated and inhumane animal testing protocols for risk assessment for new drugs. Pharma companies account for more than 90% of animals used in safety and efficacy testing.
“Tesla, a pioneer in electric vehicles, also offers customers vegan interiors for its cars and warning systems for car owners when internal temperatures become dangerous for dogs in the car.”
The old saying, “never waste a crisis” really seems to apply here. There are many battles to fight when it comes to securing our futures in this industry, and I certainly don’t want to allow these fringe extremists to reshape animal agriculture while we are busy fighting to stay in business.
If you’re not fired up about these extremists, it’s time to wake up to these nefarious characters who thrive on dismantling the American livestock production system.
I’ll continue to keep an eye on what these groups are focusing on, and I’ll provide updates as needed. Keep charging forward, everybody! We are in this together!
The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of beefmagazine.com or Farm Progress.