The topic of animal welfare and animal rights is hot right now. It seems everywhere I turn, someone is talking about how cruel ranchers are, how livestock are poorly mistreated and how another celebrity is endorsing a vegan diet. Today, I’ve rounded up four items within the animal rights sphere that I think ranchers should know about.
1. “Don’t Eat Anything With A Face”
This debate discussed the benefits of including meat in the diet or not.
About the debate: “According to a 2009 poll, around 1% of American adults reported eating no animal products. In 2011 that number rose to 2.5%--more than double, but still dwarfed by the 48% who reported eating meat, fish or poultry at all of their meals. In this country, most of us are blessed with an abundance of food and food choices. So taking into account our health, the environment and ethical concerns, which diet is best? Are we or aren't we meant to be carnivores?”
The debate features comments from Neal Bernard, clinical research and author of “21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart;” Gene Baur, president and co-founder of Farm Sanctuary; Chris Masterjohn, nutritional sciences research and blogger of “The Daily Lipid;” Joel Salatin, farmer and author.
Subscribe now to Cow-Calf Weekly to get the latest industry research and information in your inbox every Friday!
2. Wayne Pacelle vs. Trent Loos
Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) CEO Wayne Pacelle recently faced Trent Loos, a rancher and radio personality in a debate on ag gag laws.
About the debate: “During the Fall Forum of the National Conference of State Legislators, the Task Force on Agriculture invited Wayne Pacelle, CEO of the HSUS, and Trent Loos, a sixth generation livestock producer from Nebraska, to speak about the "ag gag" laws being introduced throughout the country.”
3.HSUS Buys Multimillionaire Rapper A Free Lunch. Seriously.
In case you were duped by the smooth-talking Pacelle in the debate above, here is news that shows exactly where HSUS’ priorities lie when it comes to animal welfare.
As reported by HumaneWatch.org, “Rap artist Jay Z and his wife Beyoncé made some headlines recently. The pair announced that they are going vegan for a month. Which is fine if that’s what they would like to do. But the reply from HSUS has been a bit, well, eye-rolling.
“HSUS latched onto the news by buying the rapper a free meal at Candle 79 in New York City, which serves organic vegan food. How hip. But does Jay Z really need a free meal? His net worth is estimated at $475 million.
“HSUS is heavily engaged in holiday fundraising, this year focusing on the story of a dog with a wheelchair. A more honest marketing campaign would include the disclaimer that your gift won’t help animals at all—it’ll buy vegan food for a rich guy.”
4. Dairy Farmer Opines “Sometimes We Are Mean To Our Cows”
“I love my cows and that means sometimes I have to be mean to them,” explains Carrie Mess, a dairy farmer who pens a blog titled, “Dairy Carrie.”
This blog post has gone viral on the internet this week. I think Mess does a good job of explaining the not so picture-perfect aspect of animal handling. Her honesty and personal revelations will earn her credibility not just with the livestock crowd, but with consumers, too.
Here is an excerpt from her blog post:
“Undercover animal rights videos like to show cows being yelled at and hit, having cattle prods used on them, being drug along the ground or being lifted with skid loaders or other heavy equipment. I will fully admit that I have done every one of those things.
"A down cow is a dead cow. You have to get a cow on her feet if she is going to live. Time is of the essence. She absolutely has to get up.
"When we have a down cow the first thing we do is ask her to get up like Hubs did in the video. If she doesn’t try to get up with that we know we have to try harder. As evident by their lack of talons, fangs and upper teeth, a cow is a prey animal. Prey animals operate on the fight or flight mentality, preferring flight whenever possible. A cow doesn’t want to fight with the scary thing, a cow wants to get away from the scary thing. In order to get away from the scary thing a cow has to get up! When asking and gentle encouragement doesn’t work, I make myself scary to a cow. I yell and holler. I act aggressive. I smack harder.”
What did you think about these items that are making the rounds on the Internet this December? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
You might also like: