My family and I just got home from five days at the South Dakota State Fair. We love going to the event each year, where we have a chance to showcase our seedstock, network with industry friends and peers, and camp with four generations of our growing extended family.
Upon arriving home, I posted a few photos on Facebook of myself and my kids at the fair. I heard a “ding” on my computer and assumed it was a comment from a friend on my photos; instead, it was a private message, which read:
“Just read your article at BEEF Magazine. It's disturbing that you consider yourself logical. And it's even more disturbing that you are raising children and contributing to our gene pool. Animals are not meant to be massed produced and farmed for mass consumption. Please educate yourself for the sake of your family and their future. Just because you were raised that way and how you identify your heritage and livelihoods does not mean it is justified or ethical. Go work at a slaughter house. I did. And I saw the steers shipped to market, every year, covered in their own feces, thirsty and terrified. I was a 10 year-old little girl, and I knew at my core it was evil. Justify this treatment and industry and you could justify Nazi holocaust trains. God will judge this. I hope your children see what you choose to ignore. Your line of thinking is what is wrong with the world.”
I mean, wow. How do you respond to that? Comments like these are pretty typical in my line of work, and I hardly ever bother to respond. Just like the political election has been extremely polarizing on social and economic issues this cycle, I don’t expect to change the minds of the vegan crowd, nor should they expect to change mine, in conversations about animal agriculture.
Sure, I don’t like being criticized for procreating, but what bothers me the most is that activists continue to compare meat production to Nazi Germany. At the core, I do not believe an animal’s life is equal to a human’s, and I find it disturbing that the vegan crowd can’t differentiate between the soul of a person who during the Holocaust was tortured and murdered for their religious beliefs to an animal that is fed, watered, nurtured and cared for until they can be respectfully harvested to feed and nourish people with beneficial protein and by-products, including life-saving medicines.
Activists want to vilify all ranchers and push livestock to become extinct. Their idea of “compassion” is self-serving and hardly has anything to do with the animals or people themselves. Just read their comments on my blogs that address meat consumption, vegetarians or animal welfare and see for yourself how out of touch with reality they really are.
However, I always tell myself that if an activist needs to take the time to criticize, berate and insult me, then I must be doing something right. Someone asked me once if I felt my blog is just speaking to the choir since the majority of my readership is geared toward active ranchers and industry professionals. To that, I say I hope this blog serves as a catalyst for change and action. By sharing consumer trends, activist shenanigans, regulatory threats, and other outside challenges that could impact our livelihoods, I hope to inspire folks to join me in advocacy efforts to protect the industry, our land and cattle, our right to consume meat and our ability to be profitable in the beef business.
The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of beefmagazine.com or Penton Agriculture.
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