Updated: Mar 31, 2020
These have been huge buzz words lately in the media, and yes....I have decided to talk about it.
Sometimes, a person's personal agenda can really cloud their judgement and create such a one-way train of thought, that I actually want to feel sorry for them. I think we all know who I side with during this whole ordeal....the dairy industry.
Now, if you choose to stop reading here, I respect that, but just know that I am not siding with anyone that physically laid their hand on an animal in a negative or inappropriate way. I am not siding with the people that witnessed these actions occurring and decided to say nothing about it. I am not siding with these low-life, disrespectful employees (including ARM members) that inflicted the harm or allowed it to happen. I am, however, siding with the dairy industry and with the dairymen that have gotten the brunt of abuse from the public and media as a result.
As I was having a conversation with a coworker on this hot topic, they said something that rung in my ears and I felt the need to share. This coworker is incredibly intelligent and I have the upmost respect for this person.
"If the media were to release a story that uncovers a daycare inflicting abuse to the kids under their care, what would the public do? The public and media would coddle the parents of those children and tell them how sorry they feel for them and empathize with them. The public and media would not yell at the parents for placing their children with abusive care-givers." This coworker, in my opinion, could not be MORE correct with this statement.
Dairymen value their cows like their own children. After all, the cows have become their LIVELIHOOD. A Dairyman cannot have a job or a paycheck without a cow, so they are constantly striving to provide the best care for that animal possible. So why would a Dairyman ever want to intentionally put one of their cows in danger or knowingly inflict harm upon the animal?
I have worked actively in the dairy industry for the last 10 years, and I spend so much time on different dairies across this country, and I have never once seen or heard a Dairyman talk negatively to one of their animals or hurt one of their animals. It is unfortunate that a few bad employees can tarnish an entire industry.
Did you stop eating at Subway when you found out their spokesperson, the face of their entire empire, was a child molester? I am guessing you didn't....
Since when has our own public and media become so disrespectful toward the people that provide food for the entire population. FOOD, one of the essentials we need in order to survive.
I was up in Canada 2 months ago, sitting in my hotel room one night watching TV, when a commercial came on for McDonald's promoting locally grown Canadian beef.
Check out the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w8ubbgW3jZw
McDonald's and Canadian Beef Farmers have partnered up to make a difference and work together to help promote beef in a positive way.
They painted the farmers in such a positive light and gave them praise for their hard work and dedication to providing food to their country. I smiled so big, but wanted to cry at the same time, because we don't see that same level of respect here in the states.
Why is that?
In my opinion, it boils down to the disconnect that people have from where their food comes from. People have gotten so lazy and dependent on food being so readily available, that they often think it comes from the store, or the restaurant, and people take advantage of having that luxury.
My sister is a kindergarten teacher, and she used to work in the inner cities a few years back. She was passionate about having a fun agriculture unit for her kids so they could understand better and start to bridge the gap between the city and the farms that provide food to those cities. She asked her students where food came from and they honestly thought "the store" was where it all started. When asked where bacon comes from, one of her students replied "it grows on a vine".
You may want to giggle and awe at the thought of a cute kindergarten student confidentially giving that response, but in reality it's not funny, it's really sad. The reality of that statement is sad.
I think people need to get back to the roots (no pun intended) of where their food actually comes from. Whether you grow a patio tomato plant, or buy chicken from a local farm. I urge everyone to reach out and start that conversation with a farmer. I have never met a farmer that has not been open-arms about having someone come to their farm to discuss their daily operations and tour the farm to see how their food is made and meet the cows that make the milk we drink.
I regularly listen to a podcast called the "Female Farmer Project", and I love it because the host interviews women in agriculture and how they have come to revolve their lives around agriculture. Most of these women did not grow up around agriculture, but they found the art of raising food to be incredibly rewarding and work to take a lot of pride in. The appreciation these women have for agriculture and the way they are trying to educate people on the truth of the industry is truly an inspiring and admirable thing.
As I like to challenge my readers, I have yet another challenge for you! This week, take a few minutes and read another farmer's blog, or social media account. Engage with someone that produces your food...ask them a question, listen to their story, or better yet, go visit their farm!
I promise you that you will find these farmers are people...just like you, just like me, that have compassion and care.