4 April 2009 - Animal Agriculture's Battle to Survive Needs Help

At the 100th anniversary convention of the American Feed Industry Association last month, I was asked to address the membership. My assigned topic, "Challenges Facing the Feed Industry in the Next Century".

It was an easy assignment because at the top of my challenge list for the animal feed industry is the challenge from animal rights organizations to eliminate animal agriculture in the United States. If they are successful in doing that, they will in effect, eliminate the feed industry as well; an industry that has served livestock and poultry producers for more than a century.

It was a timely topic because at the meeting, the convention issue of Feedstuffs, the weekly newspaper for agribusiness, had a front page story entitled "Proposition 2 Opens the Door to Push for Veganism"; the article written by Rod Smith stated "California's passage last November of the Ballot Initiative on Farm Animal Housing, Proposition 2, has opened the door for animal rights activists to begin promoting a Vegan Lifestyle for California consumers; that according to a coalition of activist groups. The coalition said it was establishing the Operation Prop 2 Follow-Through Campaign, with the intention to promote a Vegan diet in California. That coalition is led by the Farm Animal Rights Movement, F.A.R.M. It said it wanted to take advantage of the extent to which Proposition 2 made people aware of "Factory Farm Atrocities" and take the awareness to what would be the next level, to provide animals complete protection from those atrocities by urging Californians to become vegetarians; which means not only not consuming food and beverages produced from animals but also not wearing anything produced from animals, such as leather or wool."

If you think this challenge isn't real, think again. When you have organizations like the Humane Society of the United States with $200-million dollars in assets,and one of its grass-roots coordinators recently saying "my goal is the abolition of all animal agriculture", this is a real threat. Add to that, PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and its ability to make headlines and to flood elementary schools with misleading literature about the treatment of animals by farmers and ranchers and you are dealing with well-planned, well-financed campaigns. Those of us who believe in the animal agriculture industry of the United States must come together to find the dollars and speak with one voice to tell consumers the truth. It is time to get involved!

My thoughts on Samuelson Sez.