Monday, January 25, 2010

If You Know Ag,You Will No Sonic

Supper at Sonic is not an option for our family anymore. Why? Sonic caved into the radical anti-animal agriculture group the Humane Society of the United States or (HSUS). Sonic stated that they will start to phase in eggs raised on cage-free farms and pork produced on farms that do not use gestation crates. I raise crops, beef and sheep on my farm, so why does it matter to me?

It matters because those of us in agriculture need to stand up for ourselves and that means stand up as a united front. You see even though I don't raise poultry or hogs on my farm, I know many farmers who do. They are hard-working family farmers who are using the latest in technology to take care of their animals. Believe me when I saw they have the best interest of their animals first.

I know that cage-free may sound good when it comes to chickens and eggs. We have a pastoral picture of chickens pecking around a barnyard, happy and healthy. Unfortunately that is not necessarily true. Did you ever hear of something called the pecking order. Well that got its name from chickens establishing an order of dominance within the flock. That leads to malnourishment and death if you are at the bottom of that pecking order.

This behavior is also exhibited in pigs. The bottom line is that the lower the chicken or pig is on the social order the harder it is for them to survive. That is why conscientious chicken and pig farmers employ modern technology like gestation crates. This allows the animal to benefit from modern building with climate control (no extreme heat or cold like outside), modern diets (balanced for complete nutrition, fed in the right amount), without the competition from more dominant animals.

You see, contrary to what HSUS would have you and Sonic believe, farmers and ranchers care enough about their animals to provide them with the best, latest, most technologically advances developed to provide their livestock with a stress-free environment. I don't know of a single farmer or rancher (and I know a lot) who only cares about the bottom line and not about their animals.

I would ask that you let Sonic know that they need to do more research and not bend to the heavy-handed propaganda of HSUS. Folks, don't be blinded by this group. HSUS's intention is that you no longer eat meat, period, end of story. All I ask is that you spend a little time, get to know a farmer or rancher, find out about agriculture, then you will have a greater appreciation of the lengths we go for our animals.

In the meantime, I will be going to Dairy Queen for my limeades and elsewhere to eat. I hope that with a little outrage and a lot of education we can make Sonic know agriculture.


  1. Well this is a first! First time I've ever heard of someone want to "boycott" an establishment because of their efforts towards better treatment of animals.

    While I disagree with the whole "cage free" system --- All it does is put birds in a bigger cage... Still, Sonic is making decisions in what they think is "improved animal welfare".

    And about chickens... I have rescued a small flock of "factory egg hens" --- They are allowed sufficient space and have worked out the "pecking order"... with very little fuss. These birds enjoy sunshine, freedom and love to hunt in the grass. The idea that they were once in a cage so small they couldn't spread their wings is disgusting to me.

    So far as "protecting birds from each other and predators"... Come now, we all know, the greatest predator to them all is US!

  2. Bea,

    As I do enjoy eggs from the chickens I raise myself, I think there is a place for modern practices in order to feed the world. A small flock for my own use is great, but it's only enough to feed my family. What about those who can't afford or have a place to keep chickens?

  3. Deep breath. How many people will be fed in this world if we all have a yard full of chickens running around with the wind ruffling their feathers in a perfect chicken world? Our cows are fed a better balanced diet than we eat ourselves. Money is spent on the dairy first. Glenn, you do such a good job of keeping your cool while responding to the stupidity of some of these "animal friendly" groups. In the 1940s a farmer was efficient by feeding around 19 people. Now, we feed around 144. In America, we spend about 10% of our income on food where as China can spend 25% or so. There is room on both sides of the fence to come together. No farmer wants their animals hurt or unhealthy. Keep up the good work Glenn and for all the people who are duped into thinking keeping our animals safe and healthy are harming them, please check out what is real and what is hype.

  4. Just so happens ABC did a spot about mistreating dairy cows tonite. I wonder how far they had to search to find what they wanted to portray. Yes, there are bad farmers, but please don't lump us all together. Factory farms are "labeled" that because of size, not because of they way they are operated. Our "factory" farm is run by our family for over 100 years. And they call it reporting - it should be called what it is - misrepresentation.

  5. Bea - and when farms are forced to comply with regulations that are driven by emotion rather than science,we as a nation are going watch the prices paid for groceries skyrocket. Take for example the availability of eggs. By stipulating the cage requirements, producers may not be able to remain profitable, and thus leave the business. With fewer farmers producing eggs, they become more scarce thus driving up the price significantly. When that happens there will be many families that may unable to feed their families this tremendous protein source. Have you ever wondered by there is no egg on the $1 sausage biscuit at the fast food joint?
    We are fortunate that we spend less than 10 percent of our income on food. That luxury happens because our farmers and ranchers are innovative and find ways to take care of their animals and raise food most efficiently. In fact, it is in those operations that fail to modernize and rely on production methods of the 1940s, that the most animals suffer - not at the hands of the farmer - but due to other animals and the weather.

  6. So it's all for their own good, huh? A chicken in a small cage with its beak clipped is living in "a stress-free environment," eh?

    I'm sorry, but that's a load of BS.

    Don't get me wrong, I understand and accept most of what goes on in places like this. But to say that it's really all for the animal's own good is a lie.

  7. Erp, do you know why a chicken is de-beaked? If it is living in a small cage, then there is no reason to de-beak it, correct? I doubt that your experience with chickens goes back any further than raising an Easter chicken or two!

    The reason a chicken is de-beaked is to keep it from pecking other chickens. If one pecks another and draws blood then the other chickens join in and peck it to death. Not a pretty sight!

    If HSUS is serious about this matter, why do they not get into the free roaming egg business and make a fortune? They had rather show pictures of neglected abused animals and then let the money come rolling in from kind hearted folks.