We live in a world of anarchists/activists and they’ll stop at nothing to create mayhem. Farmers are not exempt. These wackos are really nothing more than criminals but unfortunately their shenanigans can have devastating impacts on a business. The Center for Food Integrity is conducting a webinar to present ideas for how to deal with the situation from some recent research they conducted. Register here.
The recent flurry of undercover videos is a painful reminder of just how damaging these graphic images can be to a company, a brand and an industry. There is no substitute for reliable animal well-being programs, but an effective response to an undercover video can be the difference between staying in business and seeing a lifetime of work destroyed. Recent research by The Center for Food Integrity explored consumer reaction to “good actor and bad actor” responses to on-farm undercover video. The results could not be more clear. In this webinar we will share the research results, our strategic insight and a step by step plan for not just surviving, but restoring public trust after an undercover video. Please join us.
Here’s an interesting video clip of Michael Pollan doing an interview. For those of you who don’t know of him, he’s a very anti-GMO activist who claims to be a journalist. This clip pretty well negates the journalist part when he brags about writing for the New York Times, “But when I wrote about food I never had to give equal time to the other side. I could say whatever I thought and offer my own conclusions.”
It’s also interesting to hear him lament about the “industry” finally fighting back against the kind of misinformation he propagates. He specifically mentions the Food Dialogues like the one that took place yesterday in Boston.
It looks like Panera Bread has heard from the countryside. However, to date, their response has been lazy at best. Earlier this week Carrie Mess brought to our attention the Panera Bread campaign all about the EZChicken which implies that farmers raising chickens and using antibiotics are lazy. It has launched a grassroots campaign on Facebook and Twitter. Just follow #PluckEZChicken. So what is Panera’s response? Here’s one they’ve put on Facebook:
We truly didn’t mean to offend the farming community with the posts and apologize for how the campaign was received. We have incredibly strong and personal relationships with our farmers and we could not be the company we are today without their hard work. We appreciate the feedback on how EZ Chicken was received and are removing all references to it from our posts on Facebook and Twitter.
So, what do you think? Just because they deleted the Twitter EZChicken account and took down some images doesn’t seem to be much of a response. The website still has the pill capsule EZChicken with inflammatory language. I’d like to see a blind taste test to see if antibiotic free chicken tastes better like Panera claims. How about you? Do you know of any such research?
I visited with the manager of my local Panera this afternoon. I asked him if he was aware of the new Panera EZChicken campaign. He said that he thought he’d seen something about it on the internet. I asked him if chicken raised antibiotic free tastes better than chicken that might have been treated with antibiotics. He said that he had no idea and that the chicken they serve has always tasted the same to him. So, I guess there’s not much communication at the store manager level on things like this.
This is the story of another company thinking they must portray their product as healthy while at the same time insinuating that other products are not. I have no doubt that there are Panera customers who want products like antibiotic free chicken. But they’re claiming it tastes better. Yeah. Right. But the kicker is the Panera EZChicken. It looks like a drug capsule in white and red to me. The images you’ll find like the one here seem to suggest that farmers that use antibiotics to raise chickens are lazy. I wonder how many of their customers will buy that. Probably a lot who are not well informed.
Give Dairy Carrie’s post a read and let me know what you think.
Many eyebrows were raised during Sec. of Agriculture Tom Vilsack’s speech at the AFBF convention yesterday. It was really a stand out moment in an otherwise pretty good speech and I wonder what you think about it. The photo is from his press conference following the closing session.
Sec. Vilsack was talking about creating strategic alliances and reaching out to groups that we may not agree with. He used several examples. But this is the one that stood out.
And frankly those who are engaged in constructive engagement They shouldn’t be faulted for doing so. Now I know that there are not too many fans of the Humane Society in this room. But egg producers thought it was in their best interest to avoid fifty different referendums, fifty different sets of rules. So they sat down with folks and they reached common ground. After all, isn’t that what we’re asking our Congress to do? Isn’t that what we’re asking our political leaders to do? To sit down and make common cause? I think the egg producers have the right idea. Now, the issues may be different for different types of producers. But we need to be constructively engaged at all times and conversations. We may not find agreement. But I think we will substantially reduce those who oppose farming and substantially reduce the reach of those and hopefully be able to get enough proactive activity that results in a five year bill.
I can’t agree with him on this. My reason is that when it comes to an organization like the HSUS which has a well known desire to end animal agriculture there is no “common cause.” I see efforts to do so as admitting defeat and just hoping to buy some time before losing the game. And we’re not talking about a game. We’re talking about people’s livelihoods and one of the most promising and productive sources of food to feed a growing population.
So, what do you think Sec. Vilsack meant by using this example and stating that he thought it was a good idea? Is it a portent of things to come? Should we expect to see our USDA sitting down with HSUS in common cause?
The lawsuit charges that the National Pork Board “struck an unlawful backroom deal with a D.C. lobbying organization for the purchase of the iconic ‘Pork: The Other White Meat’ slogan. The deal allows $60 million in pork producers’ money collected for marketing and promotion purposes to be diverted into industry lobbying efforts aimed at harming animal welfare and small farmers.”
The slogan was developed by the National Pork Producers Council in 1987, prior to the formation of the National Pork Board, and has been credited with helping to increase pork consumption in the United States as much as 20% by 1991. The Pork Board purchased all rights to the slogan from NPPC in 2006, to be paid over 20 years in annual installments of $3 million each. The Pork Board used the slogan with the tagline “Don’t be Blah” for its 2008 advertising campaign, but started using “Pork. Be inspired” last year.
NPPC CEO Neil Dierks responded to the lawsuit by calling it a “bullying tactic” on the part of HSUS. “NPPC is reviewing the HSUS complaint, but it appears there is no legal merit to this claim, and it is another desperate attempt by the radical activist group to severely curtail animal agriculture and take away consumer food choices,” said Dierks in a statement from NPPC. “This also is the latest bullying tactic by HSUS in its efforts to force NPPC to abandon its position on allowing farmers to choose production practices that are best for the welfare of their animals.”
HSUS also includes “an independent pig farmer and on behalf of its pig farmer members” as a plaintiff in the lawsuit and they are asking the court to “cancel the unlawful purchase and ensure that the remaining balance—tens of millions of dollars—will benefit the producers who fund the checkoff instead of NPPC’s anti-animal, anti-farmer lobbying agenda.”
Really? You know, it’s one thing to have a disagreement but it’s quite another to join with a wacko organization like H$U$. But that’s what the Organization for Competitive Markets has done according to a release I received from NCBA. So much for the OCM’s credibility. Don’t OCM members realize that their new partner wants to put them out of business? If HSUS has its way their won’t be any markets, competitive or otherwise. You can watch video from the OCM press conference here and here.
National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) President J.D. Alexander expressed disgust following an announcement that the Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM) has formed a partnership with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) to destroy more than 25 years of market development and consumer demand building by the Beef Checkoff Program.
Specifically, OCM announced yesterday evening that it will file a lawsuit today seeking an injunction against the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service, Cattlemen’s Beef Board and the Beef Promotion Operating Committee. OCM President and Director Fred Stokes stated during the press briefing that HSUS is helping fund its efforts to file the lawsuit. OCM claims to advocate for a fair, competitive agricultural marketplace; however, in doing so it partnered with an organization known for its anti-agriculture agenda. According to Alexander, independent research shows the beef checkoff is supported by nearly 75 percent of cattlemen and women.
“HSUS is an organization going state by state vowing to end production agriculture by outlawing scientifically validated production practices in animal agriculture. Their efforts put people out of business and often jeopardize the well-being of livestock,” said Alexander. Continue reading →
Are you familiar with Protect the Harvest? Just received a press release from them about the video below. I sure understand their message but wish there was more information on who they are.
“Protect The Harvest” released a controversial web video entitled “The Humane Society’s Rotten Eggs,” adding its voice to the growing outcry against the attempts by The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) to enact dangerous new federal restrictions on egg farmers.
“Enough is enough,” declared Erik Helland, a Protect The Harvest board member. “It’s clear that HSUS cares less about protecting chickens from inhumane treatment and more about making it impossible to produce eggs or raise poultry in America. If Americans aren’t careful, HSUS will succeed in pricing eggs out of the market for most U.S. families while putting countless farmers out of business.”
The two minute animated video details the continuing efforts by HSUS to control America’s egg farmers that began with California’s Proposition 2 campaign in 2008 and have now reached Congress with H.R. 3798. The video explores the impact these proposals by HSUS will have on the economy and the food supply.
This was a very surprising sight to Cattle Industry Convention attendees when they checked in to the Gaylord Opryland Hotel. It’s an image promoting the Humane Society of the United States, an organization very antagonistic to farming and animal agriculture in general. It has created quite a buzz on the floor. I have a feeling that it has something to do with the fact that HSUS holds a large pet show here in May. To find out more I have emailed a request for response to the hotel but have not heard anything back at this point. I did notify NCBA and was just notified by their staff that the hotel has apologized for this oversight and has removed the “commercial” from all television screens, including the hotel bus. It is hoped that the hotel will make sure to not air this again in the future.
That was quick work by the NCBA issues management team and I applaud them for the effort. I also applaud the Gaylord for their decision and action to be sensitive to all their clients.
Welcome to food day. For me that’s every day. Thank God we live in a blessed country where we have the most plentiful, safe and affordable food supply in the world. The food we produce is safe to eat, safe for the environment, high quality and protects our national security. Thank all you farmers of all kinds who produce it.
Unfortunately there’s a very misguided effort calling today “Food Day.” I’d put their logo on here but they’ve got restrictions on its use:
For-profit entities must request permission from the Center for Science in the Public Interest by clicking here and providing a description of how they would like to participate in Food Day and use the Food Day logo.
I wish that was the only misguided part of what they’re doing. There’s more. Let’s start with the name, Center for Science in the Public Interest. It would be nice if they stuck to science. Instead, this is a lobbying organization with an agenda. For example, they want you to sign their Eat Real agenda and have it sent to your Congressman. Read it. It certainly is an “agenda.” It’s not mine and I hope it’s not yours.
The last thing we need in this country is more unnecessary government spending and government control over business which their agenda calls for. Our food is safe and if people would use more common sense in how they select, store, handle and cook it we would have far less problems. You can’t legislate common sense. Our food system is not broken as these wackos assert. What is broken is our government thanks to groups like this. If more common sense was used then we would have food distributed to the really needy. That goes for here and in other parts of the world where we send so much food aid. And let’s not forget about personal responsibility. You choose the foods you eat and you can choose your lifestyle. Please don’t blame others for the consequences of your own actions.
I guess that to survive and grow, a group like this has to manufacture a crisis, knowing how gullible people are. And they are really gullible. I had a long time friend send me another in a series of “articles” this morning about a new dirty secret in the food industry that had him all worried. Instead of checking it out for the truth he accepted what he saw as the truth. Folks, what do you think Google is for? Do your research and don’t buy in to the kind of nonsense being promulgated by groups like this one.
Have a wonderful food day every day and feel good about it. Cheers.
Since the prince has “tried to farm as sustainably as possible for some twenty-six years” he was about the closest to an actual farmer that the conference had on the agenda (see Chuck’s previous post). On the Royal Website, there is a page about the Prince’s farm which is “a completely organic system” he developed “to demonstrate the environmental and commercial benefits.” Among the farm’s produce is organic mutton. “The Prince is enthusiastic about restoring mutton (meat from a two-year-old sheep), to the dinner tables of the nation after speaking to struggling sheep farmers who found they could no longer get a decent price for older ewes. To this end, The Prince launched the Mutton Renaissance campaign.” I am not making that up.
So, HRH believes that we can feed nine billion people on this planet with a food system that is “not dependent upon the use of chemical pesticides, fungicides and insecticides; nor, for that matter, upon artificial fertilizers and growth-promoters or G.M.” and he provided His Royal Vision of a “sustainable food production” system during his address in Georgetown.
“For me, it has to be a form of agriculture that does not exceed the carrying capacity of its local ecosystem and which recognizes that the soil is the planet’s most vital renewable resource,” he said, adding that “genuinely sustainable farming maintains the resilience of the entire ecosystem by encouraging a rich level of biodiversity in the soil, in its water supply and in the wildlife – the birds, insects and bees that maintain the health of the whole system. Sustainable farming also recognizes the importance to the soil of planting trees; of protecting and enhancing water-catchment systems; of mitigating, rather than adding to, climate change. To do this it must be a mixed approach. One where animal waste is recycled and organic waste is composted to build the soil’s fertility. One where antibiotics are only used on animals to treat illnesses, not deployed in prophylactic doses to prevent them; and where those animals are fed on grass-based regimes as Nature intended.”
According to FOE, more than 6,000 votes were cast on-line for this award and Vilsack won it with 2,424 votes – more than the total number cast last year. They plan to deliver a letter to Vilsack later this month, “congratulating him on earning this honor and thanking him for his efforts to promote dirty biofuels at the expense of a comprehensive agriculture policy that would actually help American farmers who grow food!”
Meanwhile, with over 100 votes cast so far in our latest R&K ZimmPoll, Secretary Vilsack is virtually tied between getting an A or an F as a mid term grade. What do you think? Does the Biofool of the Year deserve to flunk or move to the head of the class?
The award was established by FOE “to recognize leaders that promote dirty biofuels” – especially corn ethanol – and was won last year by then House Agriculture Committee chairman Collin Peterson (D-MN). The first year it was Monsanto CEO Hugh Grant. In addition to us, this year’s nominees include Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), General Wesley Clark, and Secretary Tom Vilsack.
Here is what they have to say about us:
This dynamic duo are a pair of bloggers who lead the group ZimmComm New Media and provide a big platform for the ethanol industry’s talking points. Each day, on a series of blogs – hosted by the Zimmermans (DomesticFuel, AgWired ) or by the corn ethanol industry itself (CornCommentary) – Cindy and Chuck critique anyone who may disagree with the ethanol industry’s line while practically cutting and pasting press releases from industry lobby groups. The Zimmermans are unabashedly pro-industry, with clients such as Growth Energy, the Renewable Fuels Association, the National Biodiesel Board and Syngenta. What’s more, many of their employees are previous employees of the biofuels industry lobby groups like Growth Energy. Now — Friends of the Earth has nothing against a pro-industry website (in principle), but the problem with the Zimmermans is that on the surface they pretend to be “reporters,” when in fact they act as industry hacks.
I have never been so proud! But I would like to clarify a couple of things. First, we have no employees. We have freelance writers who contribute to our websites and other freelancers who do other work for us. One of our freelancers did work for Growth Energy, she now works for Protec Fuel and while she continues to do work for us in other areas, she does very little posting at this time. Another freelancer, Joanna, worked for EPIC when we got to know her, but she now has her own company and does work for a variety of clients, including us. And, we are really reporters. We even have degrees from the University of Florida College of Journalism in broadcasting. Our area of expertise just happens to be agriculture and we are proud supporters of this industry.
We sincerely support and believe in the use of biofuels for our country, as well as other forms of alternative energy – and even utilizing more of our country’s own oil reserves. We are diametrically opposed to organizations and individuals who criticize and attack the people who produce this nation’s food, fiber, AND fuel. If that makes us biofools, then we are proud to be! If you agree, vote for us at biofools.com!
HumaneWatch.org made sure people know about the latest problem HSUS is having. They ran this full page ad in the Sunday New York Times. It criticizes the “recent claim of Wayne Pacelle, the President of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), that convicted dog abuser Michael Vick “would do a good job as a pet owner.” The ad condemns HSUS for supporting the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback’s ownership of dogs and urges all recurring HSUS donors to cancel their memberships and stop giving to the organization. I just love what Dave Martosko and company are doing in making sure people get the truth about this anti animal agriculture organization.
HumaneWatch.org points to the Eagles’ $50,000 donation to HSUS in 2010 as one possible motivation for Pacelle’s indefensible suggestion that Vick should be allowed to own more dogs. Despite the words “humane society” in its name, HSUS is not affiliated with local humane societies anywhere in America. It spends tens of millions every year supporting a staff of more than 700, lobbyists in all 50 states, and an $11 million executive pension plan. Yet during the past two years, HSUS shared less than 1 percent of its money with hands-on pet shelters.
“It’s absolutely shocking that the leader of America’s biggest animal rights group would side with a convicted dog fighting felon instead of with helpless pets,” said David Martosko, CCF’s Director of Research and the editor of HumaneWatch.org.
Within 24 hours of Michael Vick’s arrest for running a Virginia dog fighting ring, HSUS began raising money online to “care for the dogs seized” at Vick’s home. Wayne Pacelle later admitted to The New York Times that HSUS was not caring for the dogs. Pacelle also recommended that officials “put down” (kill) the animals. Despite HSUS’s wishes, most of those dogs have since been successfully rehabilitated.
It’s so sad but so true. All the supporters of the HSUS sponsored ballot initiative can see is the word “puppy” and they assume it’s good. It doesn’t take much effort to look into it and see that this is completely unnecessary and only meant as a way to wreak more havoc on everyone involved in animal agriculture. We don’t need this thing but anyone want to bet on the outcome? What percentage of urban voters do you think will be like the clueless animal in this video?
BTW. Anyone who mistreats animals should be prosecuted. However, unlicensed and non-inspected dog breeders in Missouri are the problem and this ballot initiative will do nothing to change the situation we have. How about just better enforcing the laws we have?
Signs opposing a proposition on the Missouri ballot backed by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) are popping up all over the state with election day just around the corner.
Like David against Goliath, Missouri’s agriculture groups, united under the banner Missourians for Animal Care, are fighting against the heavily-funded HSUS campaign with yard signs and a volunteer phone campaign. Proposition B, the “Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act,” is aimed at dog breeders, but livestock interests fear it is just the first step in furthering the HSUS anti-animal agriculture agenda in Missouri. They also contend that the regulations for legitimate dog breeders are so strict that it will basically put them out of business, while the unlicensed breeders who already are breaking the laws on the books will just continue to do so.
The Missourians for Animal Care group and others opposed to the proposition are fighting an uphill battle as proponents are saturating the airwaves with a multi-million dollar, mostly out-of-state funded, campaign featuring sad and heartbreaking stories and images of puppies raised in substandard conditions. But they are fighting anyway and we have our sign in the front yard. All we can do is hope and pray that good sense will prevail! Umm, yeah.
I was sure glad to see the Animal Agriculture Alliance here at the 2010 Alltech World Equestrian Games. Sarah Hubbart, Communications Coordinator, is pictured on the left. This is a big international stage with a huge contingent of media on par with the largest I’ve ever seen. Wouldn’t it have been a great place for ag to be on display? Well it is since horses are a big part of agriculture!
But more importantly these folks and common sense are about all that’s combating the deceivers at HSUS which also has an outdoor booth here. I know that’s strange but it happened and they’re pretty well restricted in what they can distribute. See my TwitPic. However, HSUS wants to end animal agriculture so they are leaving an impression with their misinformation campaign on some people who wander through the trade show. Hopefully people will wake up and get the facts from trustworthy sources like HumaneWatch.org.
Lady Gaga definitely won the prize for most outrageous outfit at the MTV awards on Sunday night with an all-meat ensemble complete with hat, shoes and purse that people are still talking about. The sound of Hollywood vegans and vegetarians gagging was music to the ears when she walked up on stage in the outfit to accept the award for Best Video of the Year from Cher, who had to hold Gaga’s meat purse.
It had to have grossed out MTV host and dedicated vegan Ellen DeGeneres, who interviewed Lady Gaga about the stunt and why she did it. Her reasoning was not entirely clear, but supposedly had something to do with homosexual rights. “Well, it is certainly no disrespect to anyone that is vegan or vegetarian. As you know, I am the most judgment-free human being on the earth,” said Gaga. “However, it has many interpretations but for me this evening. If we don’t stand up for what we believe in and if we don’t fight for our rights, pretty soon we’re going to have as much rights as the meat on our own bones. And, I am not a piece of meat.”
Of course, it offended PETA, which thinks that Lady Gaga is “over the top.” This from an organization that is all about being over the top when it comes to drawing attention to itself. They decided that the dress must “smell like the rotting flesh it is and likely be crawling in maggots.”
MTV was kind enough to give us all the details about the dress from the designer Franc Fernandez, grilling him with such burning questions as “Did it smell? Was it bloody? Was it heavy? Was Lady Gaga comfortable?”
The cut of meat he used was what he called “matambre” – which is basically flank steak in Argentina, although it is said to translate literally as “shoe leather.” He used 50 pounds of the meat to make the entire ensemble, with very little leftover. According to Fernandez, Lady Gaga said the meat smelled “sweet” and the dress was heavy but comfortable. And he says it was not bloody at all to work with or wear. “It’s actually very clean meat, very sturdy and strong and doesn’t run at all. It’s the meat you use to make a roast, where you roll it in a tortilla and put it in the oven. Hence, the shoes — that’s why they were wrapped in butcher twine.”
Interestingly, most of the so-called “polls” on websites like the Huffington Post about the outfit were pretty evenly split over whether it was offensive or awesome. Miss Gaga also recently wore a meat bikini on the cover of Vogue Hommes Japan. Maybe the meat industry should start a new clothing line.
This is a heads up in case you haven’t heard about it. Yesterday the Associated Press published a story about a video that was allegedly taken undercover at an Ohio dairy farm by the group Mercy For Animals. It is a shocking and disturbing video and whoever is actually involved should be put in jail for a very long time. If you click through and watch the video be warned. It’s graphic and bad.
Regardless of who is responsible for the violent acts in the video this will be used by animal rights activists to tarnish the image of good dairy farmers everywhere. This is a group of militant vegans with an agenda so it is good to question their credibility and motivation. We’ll do an update on the story when more information comes to light. You can get some perspective from a story by the ABN Radio Network which contains an interview with Joe Cornely, Ohio Farm Bureau. Michele Payn-Knoper has also offered some perspective on her blog.
You read that right. Hear me now, and believe me later, as Hans und Franz used to say. If the CEO of the Humane Society of the United States will make a commitment to start sending just 50 percent of HSUS’s income to hands-on U.S. pet shelters, HumaneWatch will disappear for good.
We’ll pull the plug. Yank the life-line. Cease and desist. Become an ex-blog.
That’s the challenge. That’s my pledge. And it’s non-negotiable.
It’s sad that something like this is even an idea but what can you do when you’ve got a scam going like HSUS does? They were discussed at the Alltech Symposium this week. That’s about 1,600 people from all over the world who understand that HSUS is not what it would like its supporters to think it is.
Just calmly, quietly, go support your local animal shelter and don’t give to these wackos. Put your money to good use for the good of animals.