The Problem with Ag Videos

With the rise of social media, pro-ag videos have become a lot more common. On the whole, I think they are a good thing. They show the reality of Intensive Livestock Operations (ILOs) and slaughter plants, and that this industry isn’t comprised of sadistic animal abusers. But I wonder, how does the consumer view these? In the debate between livestock producers and animal rights activists, we are “The Man”. When we release these videos, does the public take them for what they are? Or are they just viewed as feel-good propaganda posted by “Big Ag”?
I think the source of these videos need to change. When a meat packer or a drug company or any large ag group posts a video, I think some of the weight behind it is lost. These videos need to come from the front line, so to speak. The pen riders and doctors and processors have the best knowledge of how the cattle are treated. If you ask the owner or manager of a 50,000 hd yard how downer cattle are handled, his response will be something like this
“We have strict protocols and knowledgable staff that ensure downers are properly cared for.”
The statement is truthful, but it doesn’t really tell you what they do for the downers. Try asking a member of the health crew the same question. 
“First we will assess the animal and determine whether it is down from an injury, CNS disorder, or just sick and weak. From there, we will choose a course of treatment to give the animal it’s best chance of survival, whether it be anti inflammatory drugs for swelling or antibiotics for infection. Then, depending on the animal we will either relocate him to a secluded area with feed and water, or leave him in place and feed and water him there. If there is no sign of improvement in 24 to 36 hours, we will humanely euthanize him.”
Do you see what I’m getting at here? The people who are going to change public perception of our industry are the grunts out getting their hands dirty every day. These are the people that need to be taking pictures and shooting videos and sharing their stories. 
This is a challenge for anybody who works in animal agriculture. Instead of taking pictures of how pretty your horse looks tied to a fence, or selfies in the farrowing room with a piglet, show the world what you do for the animals you care for. Explain how you determine a calf is sick and needs to be pulled, or why gestation crates reduce piglet mortality. Explain the feeling you get when you realize that every day you get to save a life, and provide a level of care that is unmatched in any other species. By sharing these stories, we will change the public perception of what we do, and ensure that following generations get the opportunity to live this life. 


2 thoughts on “The Problem with Ag Videos

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