Ok - as promised here is the last installment (plus bonuses) of the top 10 reasons how to lose the argument on animal welfare.
How to lose the argument on animal welfare…Top 10 reasons
D. A. Daley, PhD – CSU, Chico
3. Assuming that you have to defend all agricultural practices, regardless of what they are. Why? I believe you defend those that are defensible. Period. Defending all practices makes no sense and causes you to lose credibility with the public.
2. Using economics as the justification for all of our practices. Although it makes sense to those of us who raise animals for a living, saying “well of course we treat them well or we won’t make money” really hurts our efforts with the public. In other words, if this is all about making money rather than working with animals we would probably be in another line of work! We need to convince the public that we truly care about animals not just about dollars. Besides that, it is not always true. You can have extreme conditions that are not good for animals that can be profitable. -- This is a great point. For example: yes, gestation crates are the most economical way to raise hogs. You can put more sows into one barn than you can if you were utilizing pen housing. However, it's also vital to make known that if sows are allowed to live together, living conditions aren't so harmonius. Gestation crates prevent smaller sows from being bitten and beat up, they increase the sow's quality of life and they allow everyone to get her fair share of grub.
1. Assuming science will give us all the answers; it only gives us some of the answers. I believe strongly in science but science doesn’t solve ethical questions. Also, the public does not trust scientists and assumes they can be bought! Watch the news and it is easy to find “scientists” on both sides of almost every issue. It has become a contest of “my science is better than your science”. -- I am guilty of being a 'sound science' proponent. There is a happy medium that needs to be met between science and ethics to solve the problems we are encountering in animal agriculture today.
Bonus – Criticizing/mocking any animal production system that is not “conventional”. There is room in agriculture for lots of different methods of production. Let the market determine their success rather than hoping for them to fail.
Bonus -Trying to lead a parade without seeing if anyone is following…..Have you asked producers about the issue? I (Dr. Daley, author of said list) have surveyed over 200 cattlemen in three locations and 90%+ of them say “animals have the RIGHT to be treated humanely and ethically”!
I hope that you were able to take-away some important points from this list. I know that I have. As agriculturalists, we often think that we know all there is about our industry. However, there are always emerging topics, sciences and practices that can help us in our fight to protect the industry.
Until next time,
Labels: advocacy, livestock