Friday, September 16, 2011

Looking Into Not-Too-Distant Future, Joel Salatin Sees the Spectre of Animal Rights Haunting Small Farms

CAF readers, this is a piece I found online from Good Housekeeping. I'm posting it because I'm interested in your thoughts and your experiences on the subject. Please feel free to leave a comment below, let me know if you agree with Joel or think he's worried about the wrong scene?

Believe it or not, there's a food issue lurking out there beyond food rights and food safety. Joel Salatin, the Virginia farmer-author-activist is worried that that next issue is animal rights. He's already seeing evidence of it at Polyface Farm, his own farm in the Shenandoah foothills. During a tour of his farm Saturday for 150 attendees as part of a fundraiser for the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund, Salatin said he's been reported to his local animal control officials by area residents who have had concerns about the treatment of his cattle.

In one case, someone reported him because one of his steers was limping. In another case, he was reported because his cattle were "mobbing"--hanging out close to each other as a herd in a new pasture. In each instance, "We had to spend two days with local vets explaining what we do"...and he was off the hook.

His view of animal rights as an emerging issue for owners of sustainable farms rates a chapter in his upcoming book, Folks, This Ain't Normal: A Farmer's Advice for Happier Hens, Healthier People, and a Better World. It's due out in early October.

During the Saturday farm tour, Salatin wondered aloud what other problems the animal rights people might find at his farm. He pointed out how, during recent heavy rains, the chickens (who stay outside in mobile structures) got pretty wet, which isn't unusual. "We have days when our chickens are out here in the rain and cold and shivering. I know there are people who would like to go out and buy them L.L. Bean dog pillows."

Joel Salatin explains the workings of Polyface Farm on Saturday, as FTCLDF attendees, and chickens, look on. Might the animal rights folks be better off focusing their attention more on CAFO's and other factory farm practices? They already have, of course, but Salatin speaks to a more ideological tendency.

The problem is a theme of his book: "We live in extremely abnormal times..." And one expression: "In our communities, we have more and more animal rightists."

Among other issues he previewed that come up in the new book:

* The outsized attention being given by government and corporations to food safety, and the disparate approaches between his farm and factory producers. Salatin says he shuts down his operation for two 21-day periods each year, to allow all pathogens to die off. Factory farm operations, of course, refuse to build in such shutdowns because of the loss of income inherent. "They use bleach and drugs and fumigants of various sorts, to try to break the natural cycle," Salatin stated.

* The societal orientation toward removing all risk. "You can't have freedom without risk," he said. He discussed after the tour his challenges conforming with the new food safety standards of a huge food services company like Sysco. He's wanted Sysco to include his food in cafeterias at the University of Virginia, where demand from students for locally-produced food is strong. But so-called safety standards continuously have become so onerous, he's been unable to convince the company to examine his operation. For example, Sysco and others demand delivery by refrigerated truck. Salatin uses large coolers. He monitors food temperatures, and says he maintains constant refrigerated temperatures throughout deliveries, but the big corporations tend to be locked into one way of doing things.

* The growing influence of Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund. He said the organization has intervened three different times on his farm's behalf to head off unwarranted regulatory interference. "Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund has clout," he stated.

As a measure of the support for FTCLDF, the organization raised more than $150,000 from the Saturday farm tour and other fund-raising efforts. And membership has passed the 2,000 mark.
***
Wayne Craig, one of the Wisconsin farmers who lost his raw milk case, as I described in my post last week, told me Saturday, at the FTCLDF event, that the judge made a serious factual error. His farm uses its Grade A license to sell a significant portion, about 90 per cent, of its milk output to a processor. The judge indicated he was ruling against Craig in large measure because he exclusively distributes raw milk to herdshare members. The Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund has filed a motion for reconsideration based on the discrepancy.

***

The enlightened discussion about food safety and illness going on here is in stark contrast to what generally occurs in the mass media. The mass media tend to apply fearmongering of the sort they use for child kidnappings--you never know when the boogeyman will get you. The latest example comes from a major article in the October issue of Good Housekeeping, "Why Your Food Isn't Safe". The feature includes a full page given over to 20 photos of children and adults who died from tainted food--hamburgers, peanut butter, pizza, oysters, spinach. So mysterious is the affliction that four of the 20 died from "unknown" food...though there's no indication how the authorities can be so sure the deaths were even caused by tainted food. Somehow, raw dairy escapes even a mention in the article--don't know how that happened.

sourced from thecompletepatient.com

36 Comments:

OpenID edgwickfarm said...

I can see Joel's point. We did our first on farm pig butcher last weekend with the goal of a quick humane less stressful process for the two pigs (rather than being put in a truck for the first time and hauled four hours to the nearest slaughterhouse). One of our neighbors called the police.

September 16, 2011 at 1:13 PM  
Blogger coley said...

It is frustrating indeed. I think he is right on the money.I know of a lot of people that have "good" intentions but in the end cause more problems. My opinion,which may be wrong who knows, is that so long as the animals have access to shelter with clean bedding,access to fresh food and water, and an area to exercise should be good. People are seeing animals more as companions than as animals. Animals have pecking orders and sometimes the establishment of them could get feisty. So when Joel got in trouble for his cows trying to establish their pecking order, I am sorry but that is ridiculous. It is one thing if there is pushing and shoving going on and another if it is a duel to the death.People can get so worried that these animals are being maltreated that they neglect to see some of these behaviors are natural instincts. So yes I agree with Joel.....

September 16, 2011 at 1:23 PM  
Blogger Tara said...

I've luckily not seen much of this attitude in my area. I don't know if it's because we have a long history of raising livestock here or what (just about everyone is tied to it somehow), but people here seem to mostly understand how it works. I'm deeply grateful for this, because if I start to see this kind of thinking prevail here, I will LOSE IT. I love my animals and do my best to do right by them, but they are livestock, not pets. Chickens, cows, pigs, goats, etc. act like what they are - not like humans, and not like domestic pets.

I must admit, I am always amused/annoyed when I see Craigslist ads that say "Rooster, Free to Good Home - not for eating!" Or rabbit breeders that won't sell to people who want them for meat - that's just irresponsible, as far as I'm concerned.

September 16, 2011 at 1:40 PM  
Blogger onesilentwinter said...

it is hard to know how to approach this subject. being a new farmer is see what i observed as a non farmer as cruelty or neglect completely different now, yet i do have concerns.

what still boggles my mind though is how we have rules restricting animal cruelty whether on a farm or in our home yet we are allowed to purposely harm chimps, the practice of breeding to inflict pain on them sometimes up to thirty years over and over again is just to me a complete act of savagery.

September 16, 2011 at 1:51 PM  
Blogger bree said...

I think the term "animal rights" is being replaced by "animal welfare". The welfare of animals concerns us all, farmer and non-farmer alike. Farm animals are not pets and when neighbors and towns people see them as pets then there is an education process that needs to take place. What an opportunity to involve your neighbors in your farm! Ending the practices of factory farming are in everyone's interest. I think that is the goal for us all. I recommend reading "The Bond" written by Wayne Pacelle, President of Humane Society of the United States. He discusses these issues rationally and intelligently.

September 16, 2011 at 2:03 PM  
Blogger Karen L. said...

Well Jenna, we should have known it would come to this when stores started selling cutesy outfits for dogs and cats. Now it seems every four legged (or two legged) farm animal is to be treated like a child, brother, sister, etc. Meanwhile, humans are mistreating other humans (particularly kids .... and not just physically but mentally too) and often getting away with it because we are too involved in "animal rights". An animal has the right to be properly cared for and to be able to act like it's breed whether that be cow, chicken, pig, etc. A decent farmer knows how to do that. Most likely food is safer from a local small farm that from the "corporate farms". A small farmer knows his animals. Jon Katz often sends out messages about small farmers. How do we stop this runaway train that is forcing farmers out???

September 16, 2011 at 2:39 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

I've had animal control officers called on me by a neighbor in Vermont who though rabbit cages were cruel and too small and that my sheep and goat were laying in their deep bedding in the late fall because "I was too lazy to clean pens" the neighbor knew nothing about the deep-bedding method, and that I was intentionally letting the hay pile up.

I get emails all the time telling me how to take care of my animals, most of them are helpful. Just this past week the help I got with training Jasper has been amazing, and one reader who trains sheepdogs might come here tomorrow. I welcome all advice and help, but when the "how dare you" emails come in, I just delete them now.

I am growing uncomfortable as Joel though. I used to be an animal activist, and now I get threatening emails and slander from them.

September 16, 2011 at 3:36 PM  
Blogger Rhonda Hoffman said...

Interesting...I buy raw milk from a local farmer and get my meat from http://www.cranedancefarm.com/ which is an Animal Welfare approved farm AND one of the farm owners (Jill) was at Polyface for a stint. I personally feel that people have become SOOOO disconnected from their food that they don't know that what is "good" is bad (I STILL laugh at the day at the farmers market, a "potential" customer asked Jill if she had turkey bacon like in the store because they are "healthier") and they think what is really BAD is good (i.e. fat free, sugar free, etc;) We have become a TRULY misinformed society (misinformed on MANY levels;) Keep up the GREAT work Jenna...one day I may just have to make the 15 hr drive for one of your workshops;)

September 16, 2011 at 3:52 PM  
Blogger Kathy P. said...

I think the problem is just ignorance on the part of the public in general. They'd probably heard that Joel is this "radical" guy so when they visited the farm, anything they found unfamiliar was probably suspicious. People buying fresh veggies from our local FoodShed have been known to complain that the lettuce was "bad", because the leaves were turning "brown". In fact the lettuce was perfectly fresh, and an heirloom variety that was red/green. Tourists in the Adirondacks have called town offices asking what time they let the bears out, or to report that they just saw some deer - so they must have escaped from the zoo. Unfortunately, most people are so detached from nature, animals, and the reality of natural processes that everything seems strange to them. Nature deficit disorder.

September 16, 2011 at 4:17 PM  
Blogger Noël McNeil said...

It scares me to think that the opinion of someone who knows nothing about farming and taking care of livestock could actually matter enough to get the farmer "in trouble". And what's worse is, that instead of talking to the farmer first to see why things are the way they are, conclusions are made and then immediately after, a phone call. Lets pray that those who are in authority will be level headed and intelligent enough to realize truth from ignorance.

Jenna- keep up the great work. I love to read your blog and you are doing a fabulouse job!

September 16, 2011 at 4:21 PM  
Blogger bree said...

Rhonda,
You've got it right when you talk about how disconnected people have become from their food. When all of what they know comes from television, people are just plain misinformed. Of course the uglyness of factory farms would never make it to prime time TV and that's too bad since that's how most people get their information. TV is used only for selling things not for education but that's another story. I don't think small farms have anything to worry about from the animal welfare organizations. I am an amimal advocate and I understand the issues and goals of animal welfare. What is taking place on small farms is very encouraging to me. I think Jenna provides her audience with much needed information about everything involved in raising animals for consumption.

September 16, 2011 at 4:22 PM  
Blogger Flartus said...

I agree with several others that folks have become disconnected from the animals they eat, and want to think they're all doe-eyed cows and pigs with sparkling personalities.

In addition, I think a lot of the "animal rights" movement has been hijacked--what used to be focused on saving animals from torture in laboratories is now a vegetarian/vegan movement that thinks all animals should live an earthly paradise in equality with mankind.

Sorry folks, but there is prey and there is predator--go talk to God about that little arrangement. And it's not a clean world out there in nature, either. How many predators in the wild actually worry about their prey's happiness before they eat it? Heck, even the chickens will kill each other for food or mates.

It all comes down to ignorance. And that is a perpetual disease we'll have to live with forever.

September 16, 2011 at 4:22 PM  
OpenID jessieimproved said...

I am all for letting animal exhibit their natural behavior. Sometimes it might not be pretty, but it's important to the well being of the animals and the species as a whole. I think we should intervene to prevent unnecessary suffering, and slaughter humanely, but not treat livestock as pets. That being said, I think Joel's concern is partly just an extension of the blanket regulation of the food industry, and most people's ignorance of farming and food production. If any of the people complaining to you about your animals ever saw an industrial beef cattle operation or a slaughterhouse, they would probably close their mouths.

September 16, 2011 at 4:25 PM  
OpenID barntalkblog said...

(Long comment ahead!)

I think this game of tug-of-war in between farmers and animal rights activists is long from over. The main issue is that many of these "animal rights activists" are undereducated about what really happens at farms/agribusinesses. Sadly, they are directing their complaints to the wrong group of people. Farmers generally know what they are doing. If a farmer, like you, Jenna, does the deep-bedding system, it is triggered by these "activists" because they are simply not educated about it. They accuse the people who are knowledgeable about animal husbandry and don't accuse the people that aren't.

I have a difficult time listening to someone who claims to know more than me on a subject pertaining to animals. What I particularly have a hard time listening to is "Yes, yes, you have a goat, but I studied them for a week in school" or "I have read more books about it than you, so I know more" types. Experience matters to me. If you have never taken care of said species, how can I trust you have the right knowledge?

That's the thing about these "activists." Not every single chicken in the world can have a vest when it molts. Guess what? Chickens have been molting for thousands of years without jackets, and they are okay.

@ Tara- I do admit to believing my goat is really a "pet" sometimes. It's not really the right thing, but I have to sometimes put myself on his level because he has no herd, just me. I've taken him down enough that to him I am "Herd Queen" and I can get close and cuddle and then he won't be aggressive towards with me.

-Autumn

September 16, 2011 at 4:49 PM  
Blogger haylie said...

I think there's an extremely unfortunate tendency in the animal rights community towards anthropocentrism. "If I were that chicken, I would be cold and wet and miserable!" Folks, you aren't that chicken. The chicken is fine. I think animal rights are unbelievably important, but the only ethical way to think through these issues is to think about the needs of the animals as animals, and not to project our own human needs and desires. Temple Grandin, for instance, is terrific at this.

September 16, 2011 at 4:50 PM  
Blogger Jess said...

I'd rather my neigbor had raised chickens than the kids they did...

There was a zoning issue here where a young lady bought 10 acres with a house and barn and boarded a horse along with her own. A new neighbor kept calling the police and reporting her that the city told her she could keep the horses if she could prove horses or mules have been kept on the property prior to the city incorporating, some 20-25 years ago. She finally had enough of the neighbor and city and sold the place.

Good luck!

September 16, 2011 at 5:05 PM  
Blogger Whiffletree Farm said...

People haven't seen the origin of their food for two generations now so when they do, they don't like it. It's two points for industrialized food every time someone calls the cops on a farmer who is raising his/her own food and slaughtering it because it's right under their nose. There is still a lot of disconnect between farm and plate in America.

September 16, 2011 at 5:07 PM  
Blogger USMCmom said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

September 16, 2011 at 5:41 PM  
Blogger Tara said...

@Karen L - THANK YOU for making the point about humans abusing other humans. That was the first thing that came to my mind when I read this, but I opted not to stray too far from the topic at hand. When we prove that we really give two sh*ts about the poor, and racial issues, and class disadvantages, and abused women and children, THEN maybe we can spend some time on animal's rights.

@Autumn - I hear you, I have goats too, and I admit to thinking of them as rather large dogs. It's something in their nature, I think. :)

September 16, 2011 at 6:09 PM  
Blogger Big Sky Chicken Ranch and Victory Garden said...

I agree with Whiffletree Farm - for at least two generations now, we have been disconnected from our food sources. Even before that - mid 20th century advertisers were luring the modern housewife with promises of technologically-aided, civilized life that was far, far away from farm drudgery.
When my man enthusiastically posted a picture on Facechook, of me plucking our first meat chicken, we had to take it down within hours. Members of our own family thought it was "disgusting". We were stunned. We worked SO hard to raise those chickens with love and respect....how could someone say it was disgusting? After giving it some serious thought, I realized that seeing the head and feet still attached really creeps some folks out. Not enough disconnect - haha!

Very interesting, modern times we live in: hyper-sensitivity about animals combined with the ability to share an abundance of images via the internet.

It will be interesting to see how the City of Oakland works out it's livestock laws. The bay area has some vegan-activists who want the City of Oakland to outlaw urban livestock meant for food. Groups like the East Bay Urban Agriculture Alliance are organizing and supporting bay area farmers in their right to raise and humanely process non-factory meat.

Jenna, thanks for bringing up this rich topic!

September 16, 2011 at 6:10 PM  
Blogger Tara said...

@Haylie - perfectly stated!

September 16, 2011 at 6:11 PM  
Blogger Zelda said...

Joel has always made sarcastic remarks about people uncomfortable with his animals' treatment, including their slaughter. I remember him laughing because some buyers' kids who would line up to watch chickens being slaughtered at his farm while "their parents sat in their cars listening to NPR." (his words) He's got a lot on the ball, but he's also very judgmental about anyone not of his ilk. Now he's saying "animal rightists" want to buy chickens L.L. Bean sweaters...he obviously has a problem with the Volvo-driving, public-radio listening set -- who, ironically, probably are some of his best customers because they're smart enough to want locally produced, healthy food. I think as long as animal control officers understand the difference between treatment of pets and meat animals, everything's OK. It's not like he's been ticketed or fined for anything. There's just some squishy people out there who don't quite "get" how food is produced. But he sure loves to bang on this drum (and part of his customer base), taking a very elitist, "you're too soft" attitude. Kinda silly.

September 16, 2011 at 6:13 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

Haylie! perfect!

September 16, 2011 at 6:17 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

Zelda, I have picked up on this too. But I am beginning to understand why. The people who have called the police on me aren't the people in pickups, it's the people with bumber stickers and totebags in sport sedans and VWs.

That said, I also have bumper stickers, listen to NPR, and drove a Subaru till it died on me. I am one of the EXACT people he is laughing at!

I think he's just tired of being hassled.

September 16, 2011 at 6:25 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Wow! What an interesting discussion and some great comments.I agree that "animal rights" and "animal welfare" are treated as interchangeable but have different intentions. Anyone who lives and works with animals should be concerned with their welfare. At the very least, any animal producer should be concerned with their animal's well-being because not to do so makes poor economic sense. On the other hand, the most stringent animal rights advocates do not beleive in consuming honey because it involves stealing from and exploiting the efforts of bees. These same people do not seem to realize that, without bees and beekeepers, most of the produce we all enjoy would not be available. I have explained the reciprocal relationship between beekeepers and bees to the uninitiated by saying that we provide the bees with the equivalent of a furnished condo (hive bodies with wax frames) so their job is a bit easier. Responsible beekeepers take the extra honey but always leave enough for the bees to eat for the winter. Sounds kind of like a community to me - working together.
I also agree with the statements that much of this controversy is due to the divorcing of our culture from the food supply. People can drive by and see what happens at your farm but factory farms are tucked away from view as if they know they are doing something wrong so people don't see them. There is a Perdue farm about two miles from my house and one day I ran up the drive to the chicken houses just out of some morbid curiosity. I ran at least a mile back into the deep woods and came to an open area with 5 warehouses. The chickens had recently been taken away but the stench was horrendous - feces, feathers and bleach mixed together in a nauseating cocktail. Even with the stench of bleach, the houses were filthy with feathers everywhere and buzzards prowling all around. I ran home as fast as I could, showered for about 30 mintues and then went out and stood amongst my chickens grazing and eating bugs and thanked God for the opportunity to raise my animals the way He intended. What bothers me most about factory farming is what bothers me most about humans in general - just because we can do something doesn't mean we should. Just because you can raise thousands of chickens in a metal building so they never see or feel sunlight or eat a natural diet and we can make a maximal profit and supply the average American with cheap food does not mean it is the right thing to do. Until people care more about doing things according to a natural order, we will continue to have these problems.
I also agree that Joel has his guard up against a certain demographic but I think it is justified based on treatment he has received. I love reading his work as he makes so much sense although "typical" society thinks he is crazy. I'm glad he continues to allow his fans and his detractors to tour his farm and see his methods. If more people see how a farm can really function with nature rather than against it, these kind of problems will fade away. Thanks for all the insight everyone!

September 16, 2011 at 9:16 PM  
Blogger redbird said...

Haylie, love Temple Grandin’s approach.
Some people are so removed from the source of their food or deem all meat consumption as cruelty that this type of situation is inevitable. Luckily nothing usually seems to come of charges of neglect and abuse.

September 16, 2011 at 9:38 PM  
Blogger Paula said...

I think I am glad that I have access to pastured chicken eggs, and I buy them at over $5 a doz.

I think I am glad that I have half a pastured-raised hog in the freezer that my husband and I drove an hour and a half to go get.

I know I am glad that the three frozen chickens in the freezer are the three 'pullets' that I took to a friend's forty acres for finishing because I couldn't keep roosters in my town, and roosters they were. And I learned how to slaughter them- humanely. Until that day, they had a pretty good life, I'll tell you.

I think I'm glad of being conscious of the difference in pasture-raised animals and factory-farmed animals, and I'm even gladder that I CAN AFFORD TO PAY FOR THE PASTURED ANIMALS because let's face it: animals will continue to be raised in factories as long as people can't or won't pay for them to be raised differently. And as long as I can afford to, I'll be spending extra for humanely raised dinners because I'm an omnivore, dammit.

Finally, I think I will donate some money to the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund!

September 16, 2011 at 10:43 PM  
OpenID Tami said...

In my opinion, lots of this type of over regulation or over reaction to stuff is just a normal system of checks and balances gone awry. People with all different levels of knowledge and experience about things will feel totally different about any given topic. What's important to do is try to educate ourselves about something or a situation before we go off about it...good or bad. Where human emotion is concerend, you are going to have every level of reaction across the spectrum. Fear based reaction can be misdirected and misunderstood. Peace.

September 16, 2011 at 10:51 PM  
Blogger Glyndalyn said...

We have not seen much of this in Middle TN. We have a farming heritage here but so does New England. A lot folks think their food comes from the grocery. Hope the government does not get involved because everything they touch turns to !@#%&.

September 16, 2011 at 11:03 PM  
Blogger bree said...

Dawn. Thank you for a thoughtful post. I enjoyed it.

September 16, 2011 at 11:05 PM  
Blogger bree said...

Zelda, your post gives me a lot of background into Joel. He must realize as you do that those he ridicules are his best customers. I sense an abundance of animosity here for people like me. I am not a farmer but I live by farmers. I drive a Jetta. I am a member of HSUS and our local Humane Society. I listen to NPR and shop at Bean. I also buy and grow organic veggies and humanely raised meat locally. My neighbors see me as an outsider. There is such a divide and probably always will be. It's been a good discussion.

September 16, 2011 at 11:23 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

I'll get to hear Joel speak next Sunday at the Fair in PA, looking forward to meeting him if I get the chance.

Bree, I've got the same stations and bean boots as you do. I think he's just tired of the righteous getting on his back when he feels he is doing what is right.

Still a great farmer, and leader in a different approach to the whole system.

September 17, 2011 at 7:29 AM  
Blogger Mindy said...

This is going to happen, especially to farmers like Salatin. He's perhaps the best known small farmer in the country and, because of that, there are a lot of eyes (especially from parties interested in the welfare and care of animals) on his operation. Those unfamiliar with his pastured animal techniques might find chickens shivering to be cause for concern. Not sure exactly how it went down, but Salatin and his crew should have taken that opportunity to explain their methods and reasons for raising the animals the way they do. Education here is key. Most people haven't grown up caring for livestock and don't understand how chickens, pigs, cattle are different from the dogs and cats we share our homes with.

I run up against a lot of animal welfare types criticizing me for slaughtering and eating pigs. Most of them eat meat. It's a strange time for food producers, to be sure. But when someone bothers to criticize me, I take the opportunity to share my experience and my methodologies. While you can't make everyone see your point of view at least I know that I tried to impart some "country" wisdom on the uninitiated.

September 17, 2011 at 11:45 AM  
Blogger TnTConnect said...

It is totally rediculous that we can kill unborn babies, rape, murder and pillage our cities, towns and villages...but God forbid a cow limp or a chicken get wet.

I would like to understand how a phone call can get so out of control. I know my vet would completely stand up for us and tell animal welfare to jump in a lake.

I am a born and raised city girl. Seeing some of the farming operation was a little squeemish for me (such as dehorning or having to arm a cow to help her calve). However, I ALWAYS knew that these things were done in the best interest of our animals and I actually help with those procedures.

I think the best cure for this is more public knowledge. More farm tours (not less), we need to show the public what is going on AND explain why. Education is the key...IMHO.

September 17, 2011 at 6:48 PM  
Blogger katiegirl said...

I think an important thing for us (those who raise animals for consumption) to remember is we need to take opportunities to educate others around us about the hows and whys of raising livestock. If we lose our tempers and give people attitudes because they question our practices, we're just giving them more "fuel" for their fire.

These people who are unfamiliar with animal production need to get educated, not ridiculed. It's a great opportunity to teach people about the differences between small scale animal production (which is most times very "open" for people to see) and commercial scale animal ag (which people rarely EVER see).

It may be frustrating to have people ask what we consider to be "stupid" questions, but remember that we weren't born knowing everything either! Think of it as a great opportunity to educate people so they learn a little more about the "good" type of animal production!

September 19, 2011 at 8:29 AM  
Blogger Heidi said...

Hey Jenna - you may have missed this kerfuffle/latest article from James McWilliams. It speaks very clearly to your point.

http://www.theatlantic.com/life/archive/2011/09/the-locavore-movements-mistake-deregulating-animal-slaughter/244897/

This was my response:

http://ittybittyfarminthecity.blogspot.com/2011/09/open-letter-to-james-mcwilliams-on.html

September 19, 2011 at 10:20 PM  

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