On February 19, the Humane Society of the United States released an undercover video of a hog farm. Video is one of the most powerful tools used by animal rights groups. Combined with the credibility that a national news outlet holds, this story is likely to evoke strong emotions and response by viewers. Also, consumer print outlets are likely to do follow up stories, bringing the issue front and center to millions of consumers across the U.S.
The Center for Food Integrity encourages producers and leaders in the food system to proactively engage in values-based discussions about modern production methods. It is important that the animal agriculture community talks openly and honestly about animal well-being and many programs used to ensure livestock is raised in a humane way.
One additional tool provided by CFI is the Animal Care Review Panel. Made up of animal-welfare experts, the panel has examined the video and communicated their findings to the public. Using the information provided by the experts, as well as your own experiences, we encourage you to view the segment and provide a different perspective by discussing the ethical and scientifically-verified practices you use on your farm each and every day to ensure excellent animal care and food safety.
CFI Values-Based Messaging Platform
Below are values-based statements that you can use as you engage in discussions or answer questions about the undercover video. CFI can help you tailor this information to your particular state or operation.
- Animal abuse in any form is unacceptable. The actions of a few “bad actors” in no way reflect the high standards demonstrated daily by a vast majority of America’s farmers and ranchers. I am committed to providing for the well-being of my animals and providing consumers a safe, abundant and affordable supply of food. In fact, I’ve committed my life to it.
- Agriculture is my life’s calling, and I am dedicated to producing food that is safe, nutritious and affordable. I take great pride in knowing that consumers can go to their local grocery store or restaurant and purchase food that is safe and wholesome for their family.
- My farm is family oriented, and I care deeply about how it is operated. The production practices I use are ethically grounded, scientifically verified, and economically viable. They allow me to do what’s right for the animal, while maximizing efficiency and meeting the growing demand for food.
- I understand that contemporary agriculture doesn’t look like it did in the past. But we’re like many other industries that have had to become more efficient to survive. Can you think of any business in the United States that has not changed significantly in the last 50 years? Livestock farmers have changed, often times in order to provide better care for their animals and remain competitive with other states and other countries. And they have done so responsibly.
- Many animal rights groups use extreme cases to make damaging and emotionally charged generalizations to oppose contemporary animal agriculture. It is important to consider facts as well as emotion. I have a moral obligation to provide for the well-being of my farm animals, and I rely on veterinarians and science to provide guidance on best practices for their care.
- Animal agriculture is the lifeblood of my hometown and many other rural communities in this state. Rural communities help maintain a viable economy by creating jobs, supporting local businesses, contributing to the tax base and keeping young producers on the farm. Banning proven animal husbandry practices could negatively impact animal agriculture’s important role in local communities like mine by forcing some operations into other states or putting them out of business.
- Farmers have an ethical obligation to ensure food safety on the farm. Regulations and inspections by U.S. Government agencies at the plants have resulted in one of the world’s safest food supplies.
- Today’s farmers strive to provide the best possible care for their animals. In many cases, raising animals indoors allows for year-round comfort in heated or cooled barns. It also gives farmers the opportunity to do a better job of monitoring the health of animals and provide for individual animal needs. This higher level of control, where outdoor variables are eliminated, has resulted in improved animal health.
- Not only is it the farmer’s obligation to provide our herds with excellent care, but those who witness animal abuse also have the moral and ethical obligation to disclose it as soon as it’s seen, rather than waiting weeks or even months to do so.
- Fortunately, cases of animal abuse on the farm are rare. Those who take part in such abhorrent behavior should be held accountable and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
More messaging can be found on this site’s “Tools to Engage” tab. If you have questions or need further assistance, please contact Abby (White) Strawder at firstname.lastname@example.org; or contact the CFI Help Desk at 1-877-402-4CFI (4234).