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13 June 2010 - It's the Right Thing To Do

All of us in agriculture know that abusing livestock is wrong; just like we know robbing a bank or shooting someone is wrong. But, unfortunately, abuse happens. In the case of livestock or poultry abuse, it can quickly make its way to a television screen because members of animal rights groups love to get a job on a livestock or poultry farm and then shoot undercover video until they catch someone abusing a bird or an animal. Then it gets over-the-top exposure on YouTube, network news and cable news.

I have been involved in television since 1956; I currently produce and co-host a weekly television show, After all these years there is an element in TV that really bothers me. I can fill the screen with an incident and create the illusion that's all that's happening. Let's take the situation of an individual case of animal abuse caught on camera. Fill the TV screen with that scene and you create the impression that animal abuse happens on every livestock and poultry farm in America. We know that is not the case and that's why we must find those rare instances and stop them before they make TV news.

One of the arguments we use to refute charges of widespread animal abuse is "We treat animals well because it is good business sense." In a recent issue of Hoard's Dairyman magazine, an editorial entitled ‘It's the Right Thing to Do' suggests a different approach that I want to share with you because to me, it makes a lot of sense.

Quoting the editorial.. "There's an animal care message that all of us in our industry must start putting first and foremost. It simply is this . . . WE PROVIDE GOOD CARE FOR OUR ANIMALS BECAUSE IT IS THE RIGHT THING TO DO. We all know that providing good care for our animals does indeed make good business sense. But we have to understand that consumers may not feel reassured about the care our animals get when the message they receive is based on economics. With few exceptions, they could care less about the margins at your farms. And, for that matter, they may not really care what the ‘science' of animal care says."

The editorial concludes, "We must communicate to everyone who will listen that we provide good care for our cattle because it is the right thing to do. That's the way we should run our farms. That's the message consumers need to get, loud and clear." I fully agree with Hoard's Dairyman. Let's do it with all of our agricultural practices because It's the Right Thing to Do.

My thought on Samuelson Sez.