As a person I believe we all should be respectful of one another. I know my beliefs do not align with everyone else’s, and that is alright. I have friends who have different religious backgrounds or political affiliations than I do. But we realize we have differing opinions, we can appreciate and respect others’ opinions, without fear of retaliation and that is what makes our country great.
What I have an issue with is when people with differing opinions have no respect for others or their views. What is worse is when those people or groups slander others, and their facts are skewed, made up or are simply false due to lack of knowledge. As a journalist we are constantly under pressure to fact check to get the story right. I feel if someone is going to “report” on something they should be held to the same standard.
The attack on Oklahoma hog producers by the Humane Society of the United States is a perfect example of this. They conducted one of their “undercover” missions to gather footage and information and claimed Seaboard, and other large hog operations, were conducting inhumane production practices. Their target was the use of gestation crates. In their gruesome video, HSUS claimed the sows are kept in the crates their whole lives. They went on to say that crates threaten the lives of the hogs.
Any person who has been around the livestock industry, especially hogs, will know how false these accusations are. The crates are used to protect sows from fighting. If you have been around sows you know they will fight for blood. Additionally, sows that farrow outside of crates are more likely to step on and lay on their pigs, resulting in severe injuries and death of piglets. To me that is much more inhumane.
The bottom line is if you do not know about production agriculture it is time to stop telling those who have been doing it all of their lives the “right way” to do things. Producers are tasked with the enormous responsibility with feeding and clothing the world. That responsibility will not be accomplished if everyone keeps sticking their nose in and offering their “expertise” when they are not aware of the whole situation. Are there bad apples in agriculture? Absolutely! But let’s not punish those who are doing it right.
In this week’s video blog we take a look at how the urban-rural divide affects production agriculture and what is being done to help bridge that gap.
~ Andy Barth