Monday, January 31, 2011

Ruffling my Fur

As many of you know, recently I have had the opportunity to spend many hours watching daytime TV. This has been an interesting study into why many people develop the beliefs they have. You see, daytime TV is littered with many programs featuring celebrities with lots of opinions and little in the way of facts.

I suspect many of these celebrities have good intentions but fall prey to the need for higher ratings and more sensational topics. This makes them easy targets for animal rights and environmental groups who rely more on emotions than facts.

Earlier I saw Rachel Ray promote cage-free, organic eggs as more healthy. She did not have any facts to back up her assertion. How do I know? Because there is no scientific proof that cage-free or organic are healthier than commercially produced.

Then today I watched "The Talk". Sharon Osborne interviewed an actress (who I did not recognize), the discussion quickly turned from her new movie to her ad campaign for PETA. The actress said she decided to become a spokesperson for PETA because of a documentary about fur. She claimed that animals were skinned alive and she related this to her dog. Sharon then asserted that most fur collars come from dog and cat fur.

This sheds a lot of light on typical PETA propaganda. First, they reach people who's only contact with animals are pets. Animals raised for food or for fiber are different from pets. The animals are well cared for but they are raised for the purpose of food or clothing. When the proper time comes they are ethically harvested for items we need. It is not cruel, but rather the cycle of life.

Second, Sharon stated something that was more sensational than true. I have never seen anything would indicate what she said was true. In fact, my guess (yes it is my opinion) most of that fur is faux, fake, man-made. PETA and their mouth pieces are never hindered by the truth or facts. They will say anything that will make their point, sway more people and ultimately raise more funds for their own use.

My daytime TV watching may have cost me some brain cells and several points on my IQ but it did make me realize that those of us in agriculture need to get out and tell our story. Too many actors look for "causes" and are hooked by slick characters from fund raising groups like PETA and HSUS. We need to reach them and at least educate them about the truth.

The truth is that we are incredibly lucky to have the safest, most abundant food supply in the entire world. We have an amazing network of farmers and ranchers who work tirelessly to produce food and fiber in an environmentally sustainable manner. Without the agriculture backbone of our nation we would not have actors, celebrities or daytime TV.

What is the answer to this dilemma. Each time something outrageous about agriculture is presented, we need to be ready and willing to answer it. We also need to go the extra step and try to reach people before our opponents do. If you are one who is watching daytime TV, I ask that you contact me or one of my fellow farmers and ranchers to learn the truth about animals, the environment and your food. The truth will set you free and free is much different than what PETA and HSUS have in mind.

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