Your message is clear. You don’t like livestock production, and you don’t much like the farmer/producer either.
You think we don’t care, we hide the truth and have no interest in caring for the earth with sustainable practices. You use words that are much more direct and even vulgar but essentially, you are committed to ‘outing’ us for our insensitive, ‘produce at all costs’ ways.
Throughout history, we have witnessed some amazing activism, from the civil rights movement to the suffragette movement and many more. The leaders of these movements understood that rallying people together as one, through steadfast commitment to benefitting the lives of their fellow man and through inspiring others is how change came about. Activism that employs moral aggression to strike out harshly and repeatedly to hurt those who don’t share your views is unlikely to achieve what you are looking for. The tactic of using public shaming, harassment and intimidation to try and dominate those who oppose your view accomplishes little. In history, we have seen oppressing leaders who have used these very tactics to carry out some of the most atrocious acts in human history. It is not the kind of culture that benefits humanity in any way.
We understand passion. Passion is that strong and barely controllable emotion that is put into action with as much heart, mind, body and soul as is possible. We get it.
We are passionate, too. We believe that sharing our stories and encouraging dialogue creates an opportunity to learn more about other’s perspectives and passions. It is when points of view become confused with ‘absolute truth’ that communications break down.
Yesterday – Earth Day – was a day we had chosen for all farmers to share their stories with the hash tag#FarmVoices, so others could learn more about their perspectives and passions. It was their turn. We know that one of the most sincere forms of respect is to listen – there is as much wisdom in listening as there is in speaking.
Each year we lose more and more family farms. It has become harder to farm. Harder because there are fewer farmers to support each other, harder because so many have off farm jobs, harder to make economic sense of the business of farming and harder to find time to explore new technologies and information they need. Often the only way to connect with each other is online.
We have no doubt that there have been instances where animals could have been cared for in a better way. However, best practices come as a result of people sharing and demonstrating better outcomes, which happens when they connect with each other.
We assume you eat to sustain your bodies, and must be aware that farmers grow your food, too. You believe that all living beings deserve to be treated with respect. We believe that farmers deserve that respect as well.
We hope you take the time to listen and watch some of the stories, to seek to understand and to allow space for dialogue. In turn, we promise to use our time and our passion to connect, promote best practices and support ALL of agriculture in whatever way we can.