Food Bullying Podcast
This episode features a wide-ranging conversation with a veterinarian about how farmers care for their animals, the challenges of being a vet, and the story of Fairlife Milk.
Dr. Marissa Hake is a veterinarian who specializes in communicating about how our food is raised. Marissa’s background has been in calf health and welfare but recently has transitioned into a new position as the Director of Animal Welfare and Sustainable Farming for Fairlife.
What should consumers know about farmers caring for animals?
- Dr. Hake sees farmers working hard every day and putting animal needs above all else.
- Consumers tend to personify animals and compare them to children and pets. Farm animals are different.
- Farmers care deeply for the well-being of their animals, but sometimes that care looks bad from the outside.
- Dehorning calves, for example, protects other cows from injury.
What do people misunderstand about veal?
- Baby animals is an emotional topic. People love cute baby animals.
- Veal is not a baby cow. They are harvested when they weigh 500 to 600 pounds
- Chicken and pork are harvested at younger ages.
- Housing conditions have changed. It is illegal to tether a calf.
- Farmers want happy, healthy cows. Cows are social.
How was Fairlife milk developed?
- A farmer/veterinarian experimented with filtering milk on his farm to see if it would filter out lactose
- The result was a lactose-free high-protein milk that appealed to athletes
- Now there are lots of Fairlife products available in the store
- Why are people scared of GMOs but not of filtered milk?
- People have a point of reference for filtering something
- There is too much heavy-lifting to comprehend the details of bio-engineering
What issues challenge the mental health of veterinarians?
- In ag and for Vets, what people say matters and affects mental health. Most people don’t understand what they do.
- Vets have a high education debt load compared to human doctors – and make less money
- They deal with end-of-life decisions every day for their patients
- They get push-back from people who think their services should be free
- In rural communities, mental health resources are not accessible.
Three tips to overcome food bullying:
- Make educated decisions
- Ask the source
- Do what is best for your family
Marissa Hake Website
Food Bullying: How to Avoid Buying BS by Michele Payn
Embrace your Heart with Eliz Greene