Imagine this; you hire a babysitter to come into your home and care for your children. Two weeks after the seemingly qualified babysitter was in your home, you find videos posted on YouTube, your family’s name smeared across newspaper headlines and people glaring at you as you walk down the street. The video’s content? You – spanking your child in an act of discipline. Would you feel as though your privacy had been intruded upon just because the babysitter didn’t agree with your method of punishment (and had never discussed this with you)? Would secretly video taping be seen as an act of integrity? Likely not.
Hidden video taping on a farm is no different. A farmer’s feelings about being portrayed as “abusing” animals are the same as what you’d feel if a babysitter videotaped you “abusing” a child with a hidden camera in a pen in the spanking scenario. Both are an invasion of privacy, neither are an appropriate response and both reek of sensationalism.
Should a farm operate as a business with the expectation that all people caring for animals conduct themselves with integrity? Yes! Do animals deserve to be treated with respect for the sacrifice they make to provide us with food? Absolutely.
As a pork chop producing mom in Missouri says “On our farm, animal care is our top priority. For generations, our family has raised hogs with integrity while always seeking ways to improve the quality of care to our hogs. Thanks to modern technology, we can protect our hogs from diseases, injury, predator attacks and the harsh elements of the weather. We have a zero tolerance for neglect or abuse on our farm. We do not condone the behavior of bad actors. Overwhelmingly, the majority of farmers care for their livestock with the same integrity as our family farm does. We know healthy animals produce healthy food and we eat the same food as you do.” Hear more from Chris Chinn – and see a legitimately-produced video of a swine farm.
Just like vigorously and repeatedly smacking a small child on the back when he is choking might look like abuse if you aren’t aware of the situation, some things that may look like abuse on a farm are actually done in the animal’s best interest. For example, one of my cows went “down” this summer – on a lovely green pasture. It’s a bad situation when there’s 1500 pounds of cow that can’t stand on her own and the temperature was over 90. As I waited for help, I kept her heart going by beating on her chest (and it takes a pretty good thump to make an impact on that size of animal) and kept her alert with slaps to her face. In the back of my mind I worried, what if someone was driving by and saw me? Would they think I was abusing her? Probably. No matter how compassionately you treat a farm animal in distress – it’s not pretty. However, I knew I had to do what was right to care for my animal and I’m happy to say she survived.
Farmers are deeply committed to the animals in our care. If our animal is in distress, we will spring into action to help. Please keep this in mind next time someone shows a new “shocking video” about the treatment of animals on farms. Remember that videos are produced by groups whose integrity is questionable, at best. Case in point, the Humane Society of the United States, with 50% of their costs going to fundraising, paying lobbyists and overhead costs according to Animal People News (an animal rights newspaper). HSUS campaigns on puppies and kittens, yet they spend more money on executive salaries and their $11 million corporate pension plan than local shelters. My guess is that they’re likely using a great deal of that money in producing the next farm animal video, in the hopes that it will help them with their membership woes.
I have loved animals for a lifetime – I understand how tough it is to see the nasty videos of animals in terrible situations, but hope you might consider the integrity at stake here. I’m not claiming every farm is perfect; I’m simply pointing out that that an agenda-driven group who violates private property, biosecurity, food safety and employee protocol (by not immediately reporting abuse) deserves to be questioned. After all, how would you feel if a secret video was shot of your family by a group with questionable track record that disagreed with your activity and it ended up on the news? Isn’t it time we stop overlooking the lack of integrity?
Additional background on hypocrisy of animal rights groups:
Cute Kittens, Playful Puppies & HSUS Lies
NAIA fact sheet on HSUS
SPCA Official’s Dog Left in Car Dies
HSUS’s Wasteful Spending Puts Them on Charity Watchdog List
A Note to HSUS: Genuinely Grassroots