With the warmer days of spring and summer, many folks are on the road traveling to camp, going to concerts or other fun outings. No matter where you live in the country, one commonality we all see while driving on major interstates and highways is billboard advertisements. Animal rights activists have strategically placed billboards, just in time for the major traveling season, and their campaigns have gotten some attention in the press recently.
One such billboard (pictured right) includes images of dogs, cats, rabbits, horses, chickens, cattle, pigs and ducks. The message reads, “All animals want to live. Where do you draw the line?”
A meme going around the internet splits livestock from the pets and says, “Bout right there.” The internet meme has gone viral recently, drumming up a lot comments from people discussing whether it’s ethical to have some animals as pets and use some for food.
I really like what agricultural advocates and Kansas farmers, the Peterson Farm Brothers, have to say on the issue. Here is their response to the billboard:
The Petersons write, “This post has been making the rounds lately. Vegans argue that ‘all animals want to live.’ The reason all of these animals get to live is because humans desire their meat, milk, or companionship. If we took away any of those demands, the numbers of these animals would severely decline, meaning that less animals would get to live! For every person who wants a dog or a cat as a companion, a horse to ride, a burger, a glass of milk, a leather jacket, an animal gets to live! If you want these animals to live, then you can't constantly petition to remove the demand for their lives.
“So, where should the line be drawn? The reason we use some of these animals for food, some of them for transportation, and some of them for companionship, is because that's what each of them are best suited for. You can't have a cow in the house as a pet. And why would you eat a tiny little cat, when a steer makes 1,000 hamburgers (that taste much better)? The line is drawn differently for each culture depending on their tastes, how much money they make, what is available, etc. But it usually follows what each animal is best suited for.”
The Peterson Brothers then linked to a blog post explaining to consumers why we raise animals for food, and I think their blog post is worth sharing. Check it out here.
A second billboard was placed by PETA in the hopes of appealing to fans at the Indianapolis 500, where for the last 80 years, race car drivers celebrate their victories with a quart of milk.
Of course, PETA has a beef with this congratulatory milk toast, so they placed a billboard along the route to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway that reads, "Think before you drink. Cow’s milk is for calves, not drivers or other humans.”
According to Jeremy Brillian, WTHR reporter, a PETA representative claimed that the dairy industry is "cruel to cows and that there's nothing healthy about drinking baby food of another species.”
Read more here about the milk tradition and how race fans are responding to PETA’s billboard campaign.
If you’re involved in a local or state cattlemen’s group, it might be time to use some checkoff dollars to post some billboards in high traffic areas for the summer months. While it might be hard to measure the impact, it’s nice to balance out the conversation and the things consumers will read as they head to their next summer adventure on the road.
The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of beefmagazine.com or Penton Agriculture.
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