Here’s a newsflash: animal rights people control the discourse on animal issues. At least that was the message of the recent meeting of the Animal Agriculture Alliance. One speaker, Professor Wes Jamison of Palm Beach Atlantic University, opined that animal advocates drape their message in a cloak of religiosity because people are ignorant about yet receptive to religion and therefore vulnerable to messages couched in piety. Plus religious converts tend to be zealous and donate big bucks.
Bruce Vincent explained that animal advocates thrive on conflict and market fear. He urged attendees to budget money in their business plans to become activists for animal and extractive industries. Vincent is the Executive Director of Provider Pals, a cultural exchange program linking school groups with farmers, ranchers, miners, loggers, oil field workers, commercial fishermen and “others who provide the basics of everyday life.”
Kay Johnson Smith, executive vice president of the Animal Agriculture Alliance believes that if industrial agriculture doesn’t act soon, regulations will be on the horizon. Her solution: Create self-imposed guidelines and follow them. Factory farmers should not squash the discussion; they should take it over. Only through being proactive can the industry stay unregulated.
There’s much more from many other people, which you can read here.
What can we take away from all this? As I see it, this level of consternation would bode well were Big Food not still skating along without any real threat of regulation and protected by laws like AETA. As things stand, such rhetoric augers neither good nor ill; it simply reflects the status quo and the fact that Industrial Agriculture did not become dominant by being complacent. We should study these speeches carefully, absorb their lessons and fear neither the speaker nor the spoken word.
Filed under: animal advocacy, animal law Tagged: | AETA, Animal Agriculture Alliance, animal ethics, animal law, animal suffering, animal welfare, CAFOS, factory farms, farmed animals, industrial farming