A recent Meating Place post called Animal AG Watch and entitled “Prepare for increased activist activity in wake of Liberation Conference”, by Hannah Thompson, put the meat industry and animal agriculture industry on high alert ahead of the Animal Liberation Conference held at Berkeley, CA May 23 – May 29, 2018. Thompson, the communications director for the Animal Agriculture Alliance, tells readers that anyone with farms or [processing] plants in the Berkeley area to be on “high alert” and “prepare to be targeted”.
According to the vegan website Humane Decisions, “The 2018 Animal Liberation Conference, co-hosted by Direct Action Everywhere and The Save Movement, is planned to be the largest grassroots animal rights conference in U.S. history.” Thompson says that “according to organizers, over 500 people are set to attend the event”.
From those descriptions it sounds like a war is about to take place.
First and foremost, and to set the record straight, from my point of view, veganism is a personal choice. Anyone choosing and/or supporting the lifestyle shouldn’t be condemned for their personal choice. Each to their own, I say!
Secondly, 500 people is not a gigantic representation, earth shattering, or something to go down in the annals of U.S. history. It surely doesn’t warrant a national security alert.
It was a really busy day, when I first read Thompson’s post, I didn’t pay a lot of attention and put it down to the 2 sides taking swipes at one another. Nothing unusual about that. When I had some quiet time, I mulled it over in my mind and paid a revisit. Looking at the writers past posts I quickly realized that the industry group, Animal Agriculture Alliance, had a “thing” about what it calls animal activist groups.
Digging further into this “thing” I came across what looks like a black list of organizations giving me the impression that a broadly painted picture encompassed several groups that I’m very familiar with. From experience I know them not to be enemies of the state, that being vegans with an agenda.
None of the groups that I know, some personally, warrant a national security alert for the industry or much less raising a “high alert” for farms and plants as a “target”. One such group listed is Animal Welfare Approved (AWA).
AWA is about farm animal welfare promoting high welfare standards for farm animals. There is nothing that says you can’t raise animals for food, you have to become a vegan, and oh by the way, you must target farms and plants. Target them how, I’m not sure.
Actually, my farm became AWA certified when I transitioned from an industrial contract farm to an independently owned pasture raised egg farm. I’ll admit that the standards set forth by AWA for raising farm animals is the most stringent in the country. My transition took me from one end of the spectrum to the total opposite end of the spectrum and is exactly what I wanted to do. It’s all about the welfare of the animals raised on a pasture-based system and effects on the environment and public health. After an annual farm audit, AWA certifies farms adhering to its standards allowing the farm to use the AWA label on their products.
Another such example is Farm Animal Concerns Trust or FACT that “promotes the safe and humane production of meat, milk, and eggs, and envisions that all food-producing animals will be raised in a healthy and humane manner so that everyone will have access to safe and humanely-produced food in communities across the country”.
Starting out I had wide open pastures. I received a grant from FACT to build outdoor shelters and resting places for my hens as well as planting trees and bushes for a more natural outdoor living environment. Doing this also gave the hens safety or hiding place should flying predators visit. There was nothing in the grant agreement that said I had to target other farms or processing plants or become a vegan.
These are two examples of the many that I’m familiar with.
DEFEATING THE PURPOSE
What I’ve realized is that the Animal Agriculture Alliance has come up with a black list of enemies encompassing everyone who disagrees with the industrial agriculture model and its negative impacts. No matter what the disagreement is! Kinda like if you’re not one of us, you’re one of them.
Admittedly, there are some organizations, who in my opinion, cross way over the line in attempts to get their message across. En masse actions of invading or taking over one’s private property such as farms and grocery stores or setting animals loose is defeating the purpose. Others observing such actions don’t get the message they put it down to a bunch of radicals doing stupid things.
I suppose that the participating organizations don’t get the fact that farm animals roaming freely are put in danger from many different things out there in the big ole wide world. Think of things such as predators, vehicles, or animals panicking. Has any one of them ever witnessed a cattle stampede? I have and let me say that many cattle were horribly injured and had to be euthanized. Is this the goal of such groups? What message was conveyed?
In 2016 the Animal Agriculture Alliance came up with some maps supposedly connecting all of the enemy organizations with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) in the center. The catalyst I suppose. There are even names of people who I guess are the bad guys linked to organizations, which by the way are wrong. I had to laugh when I looked at the maps because personally I know that some of the linked organizations don’t even talk to one another let alone work together. Whoever did the “research” on the bad guys wasn’t worth the money that the Animal Agriculture Alliance forked out. I mean really, if your gonna do it, do it right!
All of this hoopla appears to be a reoccurring theme with the animal agriculture industry. Everyone wants to end the production of animals for food is their paranoia. They might be the only game in town when setting up shop to take advantage of poor rural America but they’re not the only game in town when in comes to raising farm animals for food. Experience has shown me that there are much better ways to do it, despite industry black lists.
Black listing can be a dangerous path to walk. False accusations discredit any message one might be attempting to convey.