A few weeks ago the ag community learned of an unthinkable family tragedy. Three brothers died after they were overcome by fumes while working in a manure pit. The brothers were reportedly fixing a broken pump when they passed out. Emergency crews found them, but they were later pronounced dead at the hospital.
Unfortunately, anti-meat advocates can’t let a good tragedy go to waste.
Newsweek published an article by Jackie Day exploiting the brothers’ death to push for the end of animal agriculture. Day unbelievably urges readers to show they “care” by rethinking their food choices. Instead of any actual sympathy, she uses the entire piece to trash animal agriculture for destroying human health, our children’s future, and just about everything else.
Just. Stop. Can you imagine if this happened to your family? You’re trying to mourn an enormous loss. And then you see an article published in national source using the tragedy to disparage your way of life and the honest work you do. Newsweek and Day are using your loss to turn people against your livelihood. What a way to add insult to injury!
The Punk Rock Farmer initially brought this to my attention with his post. As he says, the argument is essentially “don’t eat meat so farmers don’t die!” Here’s what’s ironic. I’ve blogged for almost a decade now. I’ve heard and read about countless injuries and fatalities, including to children. And even some on our own farm (sorry, dad). All of them were related to crops, crop storage, or crop-related equipment. I don’t see Day or anyone else advocating to give up eating plants to save farmers.
The same goes for any other industry where injuries are common. According to Industrial Safety and Hygiene News the top 25 most dangerous jobs include roofers, garbage collectors, and delivery drivers. Is Day prepared to give up a water-proof roof over her head, regular garbage collections, and her Amazon deliveries? Of course not. And that’s the point–she didn’t really care about those brothers, she’s just exploiting their deaths.
Again, it’s disgusting.
I don’t know this farm family. I don’t want to assume or attribute anything to them unfairly or without consideration. But I know most farmers can’t imagine themselves doing anything else. There’s a passion for agriculture. It’s a labor of love. They wouldn’t want one wrong thing to condemn the entire thing. Yet that’s exactly what Day and her ilk hope to accomplish.
For what it’s worth, the appropriate response is to consider what went wrong, and how we can make it better and safer. Yes, agriculture is a dangerous occupation. Farmers and their families can be fatally injured. We’ve come a long way, but there’s always more we can do. These brothers lost their lives, and the least we can do is try to prevent this from happening again.
If you know the family, please lift them up right now. Even if you don’t know them, lift them up. They need it, and that’s how this community responds to tragedy.
[Note: After going back and forth, I decided not to link to the Newsweek article. You can find it if you really want to. But I don’t want to give it extra clicks and traffic. That’s what they want, and I won’t support them in any way.]