PETA & False Animal Cruelty Videos

In a recent article, PETA was accused of backing a false video of animal cruelty.  The video takes place on a small farm where 25-30 cows are milked (by the way, this is a consistent theme for PETA, targeting small old farms).  The funny thing is, that PETA has no idea what is animal cruelty and what is natural effects from life on animals.

In the video they recently submitted to authorities, the cows, typically clean from manure and feces, were run through a manure containment area and covered themselves in manure.  The video called out the farmer for mistreating his animals and for sores on the cows feet.  Farmers who run their cows through foot baths regularly still fight these same issues.  Unless your ready to sign up and be there the moment the cow poops, expect their to be some challenges with keeping them in manure free facilities.  But that is not the issue at hand.  The issue is, PETA is on a PR campaign that is far from the truth and is yet to be disciplined by the Justice department for their wrongful acts. 

Read the story, watch the video, then tell me what you think!  I really would appreciate and respect all opinions shared.  Thanks!

Article:  PETA Accuses Dairy Farmer of Animal Cruelty.

Common Ground on Animal Welfare

Today, I’m sharing with you a link that I found to be a great article about bridging the gap between those for animal welfare laws and those against it. Proposition 2 passed into law will allow egg-laying chickens to be able to spread their wings in the cages. To some this is great news, to others, it may not be. Consider those in poverty in this country, is it fair that the poor now need to pay higher costs for eggs at the grocery store? Why would the cost go up? Well, if farmers can no longer produce as many eggs in a specific area, the egg production will go down. If you remember from economics class, that as supply goes down, so long as demand stays the same, the price will go up. So, the middle class requested better animal welfare, but the poor suffer. I’m not against Proposition 2, however, I feel like we should take care of our own people above and beyond the care of our animals. This goes back to my last post… how much would you be willing to pay for your food? Should pigs and cows all have access to sunshine, rain, grass, etc? How much more would you be willing to pay to make that happen?

One thing we all forget is our willingness to follow through on what we say. For instance, we all want better welfare for the animals… but am I now willing to pay 20% or 40% or even 100% more for my food to allow that to happen? Is it still good to have strict animal welfare laws, but farmers can no longer feed all the people in the world? There is a delicate balance. I think this article talks about that a little bit. We all need to be mindful of how our thoughts and actions will impact those who are less fortunate than we are. What is more important to you: every mouth fed or comfortable animals? Can we have both? I think we can, but it doesn’t seem like that will happen anytime soon.

What ideas do you have for helping our society find a middle ground? Please leave your comments!

Here is the article: Finding Middle Ground on Animal Welfare

What would you be willing to pay for your food?

Here is a link to another article about someone trying to raise awareness about large animal confinement operations.

You currently pay around $3-$6 a pound for your meat at a grocery store. What would you be willing to pay if farms could no longer efficiently generate enough food for the world through confinement? Please comment. I’m very interested to hear your thoughts! Would you be willing to pay $9-$10 per pound for meat? Or would you stop eating meat?

Manitoba Pigs Confined

5 Steps to Survive an Undercover Video for Farmers

1. Prepare. Assume someone is video-taping your farm all the time. If you wait to prepare until you are notified there is a video, you will be less likely to survive, according to research from the Center for Food Integrity.
2. Develop a solid track record for animal care. Be sure that you can demonstrate this was an exception, not the rule. Training, assessments, audits and documentation are critical. Also, participate in industry programs and build strong relationships with your veterinarian.
3. Accept responsibility.It’s critical that you immediately accept responsibility. Do not blame others.
Increase transparency. Welcome a review by customers, experts and others who can help you restore credibility. Invite media for follow-up. 4. Explore additional opportunities for on-going digital transparency, such as installing a video camera in the barn and making it available online to watch 24 hours a day.
5. Demonstrate and communicate an understanding of the ethical obligation to provide for the well-being of farm animals. Let the public know you are committed to doing what’s right. Demonstrate that your commitment goes beyond economic interest.

This information is taken directly from the Agweb Website. Check out the link for the full article!

Survive an undercover farm video

Do Livestock Need Shelter?

In the following link, Should Laws Require Shelter for Livestock?, people in NY state discuss the need for shelter for livestock.

A Follow up question to my title: should we pay to build shelter for wild animals, probably coming from higher taxes?

Bison, cattle, horses, and other livestock have been around since before man. Since when did they need man made shelter to protect them from the cold? For wild animals, only the strong survive, for domesticated animals it’s cruel if one animal dies!

To put this story in a different perspective though, farmers and ranchers depend on livestock to earn a living. Because of that fact, farmers and ranchers are going to do everything economically possible to ensure healthy and comfortable animals.

I completely agree with Ammerman’s quote at the end of the article:

More and more as each generation goes by, people are becoming further removed from farming and the ways of farm life. So when somebody who has no experience with farming comes out and says this is the way you should run your farm, this is how you should run your business, that could be very difficult for some farmers to understand.

I think that quote is very true about today… Only 1% of the population farms while the other 99% tries to tell them how to do it.

Have you ever considered why these questions are only being raised now, in 2014? It’s like Ammerman said, more and more people are further removed from agriculture each day.
I think people need to become more educated before they speak…that’s why I started this blog! I hope it’s helping 99% of you better understand the 1% of farmers.

Feel free to leave your comments!

Free Range Poultry: What you need to know

By now you probably have seen “Free Range” labeling on some poultry products in your grocery stores.  Free Range products are marked up in comparison to the traditional products, sometimes to twice the price!  Have you ever purchased any of this high priced meat?  If so, after reading this, it may be the last time you pay the extra money for meat.

The definition of Free Range according the the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture), is a type of animal husbandry where the animals are allowed to roam freely outdoors for part of the day.  The details of this is left up to the poultry producers.

On our family farm, which would be considered by today’s standards as a factory farm, at one point raised Free Range turkeys.  We raised around 30,000 turkeys in a single barn, keep in mind that each barn was the size of about two football fields.  In order to qualify for the Free Range standards, we simply opened the doors at the end of the barn and fenced in a very small area. So we had 30,000 birds who could utilize this small area if they wanted to be outside.  Crazy, and ridiculous I know.  However, we met the qualifications for Free Range poultry.

Through this experience though, I realized, that we were providing the most comfortable environment for the turkeys inside the barn.  Only about four to five birds ever went outside at any given time.  Most times, none were outside at all.  Don’t you think that they would spend their time where it was most comfortable and least stressful?  Well they did, and it was inside the barns.

Inside our poultry barns, which were not state of the art by any means (they have since been updated to state of the art facilities), the environment was strictly controlled in order to provide the most comfortable environment possible for the birds.  The barns were also clean and disease free to ensure the health of the birds.  If you were not aware, animal comfort is directly connected to the profitability of the farm.  I will blog about this more in depth in a future post.  If the temperature would somehow get too hot or too cold, an alarm would be triggered to call our cell phones so we could resolve the problem immediately.  We made sure that the birds were comfortable and stress free.

Outside the barns, the temperatures could fluctuate greatly and there was exposure to high winds at times.  There should be no surprise as to why the birds chose to stay inside.

So lets get back to the prices of Free Range products.  What exactly are you paying extra for?  Do you find this to be more humane?  I’d encourage you to talk to a farmer and ask him/her about how important animal comfort is to them.  The media likes to find videos of unsustainable farms that represent the worst of the farming industry.  Don’t be so easily fooled.  Spend a little time with a farmer and learn the truth.

Today we no longer raise Free Range turkeys. The company that sold the Free Range birds was unsustainable due to the high prices that most consumers cannot afford. We now raise broiler chickens in state of the art facilities. These facilities have water cooled air intake panels and tunnel ventilation. Between each flock the barns are cleaned and disinfected completely. Our family farm or factory farm raises chickens with the highest level of animal comfort. I would like to point out that we are not the only farm like this. If one farm pushes the envelope, they all do to stay competitive and deliver quality meat to consumers.

Feel free to leave your comments.  If you have questions I’d be happy to answer them.  Thanks for reading.