This is precisely why it is so important for agriculture to tell our own story instead of just letting HSUS tell the story.
A survey done by Purdue University’s Department of Agricultural Economics and Department of Animal Sciences has some startling statistics about animal welfare and where consumers get their information.
First, we have animal welfare:
“When asked to rank hog industry segments from most concerned to least concerned about pig welfare, average rankings were: 1) processors, 2) farm production, 3) transportation and 4) auction markets.”
I suppose the auction markets don’t really see the hogs that long, so perhaps they do care less. But, really? People think that processors care more about the animals than the farmers that are raising and caring for them?
For certain production methods:
“For most production practices, those surveyed had a neutral attitude. Housing sows in group pens, use of farrowing crates, use of gestation stalls and confining hogs indoors had the lowest means, indicating the participants felt these practices reduced pig welfare the most.”
Of course it is not surprise that those particular issues have a negative implication to consumers. After all, these are the practices that HSUS has consistently attacked. As I’ve pointed out before on this blog, those practices have very real benefits to the animals. (See In Defense of Gestation Crates)
Finally, the most disturbing part of the survey was this:
“When asked which sources they frequented the most, they cited the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). In fact, more people turned to the HSUS and PETA for animal welfare information than industry groups, government agencies and scientific sources combined.”
Yikes! People turn to HSUS and PETA for information about animal welfare? That’s definitely not good. Those groups have agendas (read: destroy family farms). Every thing they say, produce, or support is about bringing that agenda to fruition. In the meantime, this raising hogs is our livelihood and our business. How can people honestly think we’re not reliable sources of information?
Again, we need to keep telling our story and letting people know what’s going on. The more times they hear how pigs are raised by those raising them, the more people will remember it. We have to actively combat the lies coming from groups like HSUS and PETA.
Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net.