let's talk farm animals

Animal activism: Like a charging cow

Guest blog: Adele Buettner, Farm Animal Council Saskatchewan

Most reasonable North Americans have always opposed animal cruelty. But if you had said “welfare” to ranchers and farmers 30 years ago most would have thought you meant a government cheque.  If you had spoken about farm animal care to most retailers, you would have been met with a blank stare.

Animals certainly weren’t being considered by world trade groups or law students back then. And vegan food was unheard of.

Fast forward to 2012 and “animal welfare” and “animal rights” are part of the agri-food dictionary. Retailers now sell “cruelty free” products to a growing niche market, international trade bans on ethical grounds are starting to appear, and kids are being taught that animals have the same rights as they do.

The animal rights movement has grown considerably since the modern-day movement began in the 1960s. In the past ten years the focus has turned to farming.

The growth in animal activism and the impact on public attitudes, laws and the marketplace are due to many factors. The Internet has been a boon to the cause.

These groups really took off with the advent of the Internet making it easier and faster to plan and talk between themselves and their supporters.  And a surf on the Web soon shows how activist groups are reaching out to the public with their distorted information and disparagement campaigns.  The Internet has also become the major way for these groups to raise public donations and support. The Internet and media know no borders, so while most of this negative attention is American in nature, the spill-over is felt here in Canada as well.

Canadian groups are much smaller than their U.S. counterparts. However, money and resources are shared and many of the players and agenda’s are the same.

Animal-use issues are part of a growing wave of anti-agriculture sentiment. Using the guise of “factory farming” animal activists are attaching themselves to related issues such as food safety and global warming. Convincing the public to reduce or avoid meat, milk and eggs takes on a broader appeal when the public comes to believe that there are many reasons to support the agenda.

Canadian Coalition for Farm Animals spokeswoman Stephanie Brown told an activist symposium in 2010 that “humanely raised meat is just one step in the process towards no meat eating.”

But farmers , both those who raise livestock and those who raise crops, are working hard to counter the “meatless” agenda of these groups. And for anyone wanting to learn the truth about farming only need to ask a farmer.

Until the Next Blog



Posted by FFC on January 23rd, 2012 :: Filed under Activism,Vegan,Vegetarian
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