Last night brought the unfortunate news about the passing of Proposition 2 in California. Unfortunate because of how short-sighted the ballot initiative is. Unfortunate because it was driven by the million dollar budget of industry activists (e.g. HSUS and Farm Sanctuary ) – rather than truly being a grassroots effort. Unfortunate because it places animals over humans. Unfortunate because it further sets the stage for a rhetoric driven society with little value for science.
However, the greatest atrocity of this measure is how it will impact people. People who WILL see food production driven out of this country. People who will see higher food prices with increasing regulations across all of agriculture. People who should be questioning if the campaign foddered by millions of dollars from activists with little (if any experience) with modern day agriculture. People who should also ask how the rapidly growing population is going to be fed if production agriculture can’t utilize the best technology and business practices available.
Humans are given dominion over animals and with that, comes great responsibility to care for the animals with integrity so that they may fulfill their best possible use. Farm animals are raised for food; it’s their best possible use and one we do not talk about enough. Food that graces every breakfast, lunch and dinner plate – around the world – comes from the cows, chickens, hogs and other animals. We don’t need to apologize for that; we simply need to help people reconnect with their food.
Now more than ever is the time to educate consumers and influencers – your neighbors and friends – about why we do what we do in agriculture. Nearly every farmer I have met across the world takes great pride in their role in providing food and cares for their animal/land with that same responsibility. If you’re in agriculture – any part of it – NOW is the time to engage and talk about why you do what you do. If you’re on the other side of the plate, ask questions of people who are directly involved before you believe a campaign of misinformation. I’d hope all of us – in agriculture or not – would be more concerned about the people side of this equation.