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Candid Cameras on Factory Farms

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12 Responses to “Candid Cameras on Factory Farms”

  1. Larry Sailer says:

    Again a very good story. Even if we did have a camera in every barn, there would be doubters and this footage would give dishonest people footage to twist to their own advantage. We must continue to educate about how we care more than anyone about our animals!

    • Michele Payn-Knoper says:

      Education is going to be critical and folks are going to have to be creative in how they do that. Thanks for stopping by.

  2. I completely agree that even under the best of circumstances, if farmers do everything right and completely by the book, the general public would look at some activities that occur on a farm and simply shake their heads. Most people only have one set of experiences with animals – that of their loving family pets. These pets are pampered, cooked for, welcomed into the home, loved on, and treated like surrogate children. (Disclaimer: I have three dogs and “animal abuse” in my family is relocating one from my bed to his own bed on the floor.) If they are hurt they are carried to the car, treated at the vet, or taken to a hospital for blood tests, X-rays, and sometimes very expensive surgeries. These pets join their owners on outings to Petsmart, picking out their favorite squeaky toys and getting treated to more aisles of different kinds of food than most people on the planet have available to them.

    So how can farmers who care for hundreds, often thousands of very large animals, share their realities so these two worlds can be bridged? In the immortal words of Aretha Franklin, the answer is R-E-S-P-E-C-T. What Michele describes when she revived the cow was clearly a sign of care and respect for the animal. What all farmers MUST do is demonstrate not only proper animal husbandry practices, but help explain to others who don’t understand farming that their actions are done out of great respect for the animals in their care.

    And by all means, if abuse is real, every farmer should take the responsibility to stop it. Period. No excuses. Only then will the general public see our commitment to making sure the animals in our care are respected and taken care of.

    • Michele Payn-Knoper says:

      Your perspective on the fact that people have one set of experiences with animals (that of their loving family pets). My cow is not your dog. However, respect (and your comment makes me feel like dancing for some reason) is the common link. Farmers have great respect for animals or they wouldn’t be in the business. We have not done a good enough job translating our actions to others. Explaining what we do is going to be critical and if we wait, there are many out there who will be glad to explain it for us.

  3. Heather Lilienthal says:

    Great post, Michele.

  4. Chuck Jolley says:

    I agree with Michael. But let me add this. Part of educating the public means showing them what needs to be done – the unpleasant parts as well as the ‘pretty’ parts. It will all be shown on video sooner or later. We’re all better off to get ahead of it because kneeing your downed cow to help rouse her and keep her alive might show up on a PETA tape with audio ‘explaining’ the terrible thing you’re doing. Your explanation will be far better for the industry. Bottom line: almost everyone has a still or video camera in their pocket and internet access just a few steps away. Transparency is the norm whether you control it or not.

    • Michele Payn-Knoper says:

      Chuck, that’s why I went ahead and wrote this post. It’s not especially pleasant, but it is reality. Educating the public must start off with activities that are a little more digestible to people who only have their pets as a frame of reference. I do agree we have to have these tough conversations in a PROACTIVE manner because you are correct; PETA, HSUS, et al will be glad to ‘explain’ what we do.

      I struggle with the whole transparency thing. What EXACTLY does that mean? Aren’t we transparent if ag is out there talking and being authentic? It’s a term that’s thrown around more and more, as though we’re not transparent. And by the way, I wished I was kneeing the to get her up; it was actually to keep her heart going. Not a great day, but one that serves a valuable lesson. And that’s very transparent.

  5. Zack says:

    It’s definitely a tough call … Images speak for themselves. If the public saw something they didn’t agree with any number of negative reactions could be conjured up … which, could result in their discontentment being positioned towards the farmer.

  6. Max says:

    With all the food scares we have had maybe it is a good idea that we know more about what goes on in the farm and food industries.

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