Seems like every year animal rights activist choose a different food animal production front to attack, and this year it’s been pork producers and gestation stalls. Kay Johnson Smith, president & CEO of the Animal Ag Alliance explains that when the activist back off from this, it will only be to target something else:
“The activist groups have been extremely aggressive in going after the pork industry this year. They are targeting the customers of pork producers including the retailers and restaurants. In particular those that are publically traded and have brand name recognition. They are targeting them because these companies’ names are their image, and to be affiliated with anything negative is detrimental. The unfortunate part is many of these restaurants are making decisions without understanding how the food supply works, why gestation stalls are used and why we have evolved to that over the years. It really is for the benefit of the hogs themselves.
Within the companies the communications managers are not necessarily talking to the procurement people and its created a troublesome situation.
Carolina pork producers can follow the lead of a company like Smithfield. They have recently done a number of videos to show the beginnings of the lives of the pigs that they raise all the way to how they become food products. Transparency is the key and the more the public understands how we raise animals and why we use the systems that we do, the more supportive they will be. We must show them that we are dedicated to the health and welfare of our animals.
The activists are in an industry of conflict and they don’t want these issues to go away. Today its gestation stalls and tomorrow it will be something else. The undercover videos and pictures that they display are not representative of US farmers to day. It’s not modern farming but they bring in millions of dollars to these organizations who turn around and use them in campaigns against farmers.
I would encourage the public to come to our website www.animalagalliance.org. We have a tremendous amount of resources, white papers, and talking points on all of these hot button issues. We also track legislation and have a lot of other materials.”
President & CEO of the Animal Ag Alliance Kay Johnson Smith.