Do you ever feel like decisions are based on over-sensationalized hysteria instead of science? Many friends in agriculture have echoed that concern in our instant information culture. Here’s your chance to encourage USDA to make science-based decisions; they have announced proposed rule for downer cow and are seeking feedback before September 29th. See http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/!ut/p/_s.7_0_A/7_0_1OB?contentidonly=true&contentid=2008/08/0218.xml for the details, including e-mail and snail mail addresses.
So why should you take the time to voice your opinion? Rest assured that the animal rights folks are drumming a very loud drum on this issue; visit their websites (see links to the right for a laundry list of anit-agriculture groups) if you want a feel for the campaigns they’ve launched. They have crafted letters with their position and made it easy for people to participate. Is Farm Sanctuary and HSUS really the only voices you want to be heard on the downer cow issue?
If you’re in the grain business or not directly involved with livestock, why should you care? If you raise corn or beans, you might want to take a look at your number one customer and ask how the ruling impacts their business. High commodity prices and increased tension over modern animal agriculture creates a perfect climate for different parts of agriculture to be splintered. Don’t let it happen in your communiy – reach out to the livestock folks to understand their side.
Further, know that your day of controversy is coming and if you’re not a part of the picture to support food animal production in the country, don’t complain when they’re not interested in supporting you. Consumers see this as a food safety concern, just as they see plants as a food safety concern. Take a few minutes and offer a perspective to USDA on how this will effect agriculture.