About the Author
  • I am an online content editor for Successful Farming/Agriculture.com and Living the Country Life, but my full-time job is raising three boys on a small farm in south-central Iowa.
Announcements
Please read the forum guidelines. Please post, reply, read, and view our tutorials to learn all about our new forums and features.
Labels

Where is the Decency?

by MNGobbleGal on ‎01-08-2015 06:25 PM

My husband took our 10-year-old (okay, almost 11) son, Joe, to the dentist before Christmas for his regular check-up. Afterwards, the dentist made a point of coming out to the reception room to tell him that Joe was such a nice boy - well behaved and polite and he actually responded to her questions and asked her how she was doing. She admitted that, in her experience, not many kids his age are like that.

 

As parents, of course, this kind of feedback makes us proud. We have always made a point to stress the importance to Joe of being kind, polite and actually talking to people.

 

We want Joe to be a decent human being.

 

It's a pity there are people - adults, mind you - that don't come even close to the level of decency our 10-year-old can show towards others.

 

This week, a group of vegan activists essentially tried to take over a hashtag (#farm365) that was created by a farmer in Canada who decided to share at least one picture of his farm every day in 2015. Other farm bloggers and agriculture advocates also started to use the hashtag in support of this terrific project.

 

Unfortunately, the vegan activists caught wind of this and began leaving a plethora of vile, hate-filled messages on the Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts of various agriculture advocates. I even had a couple on my personal blog's Facebook page.

 

On one hand, I'm doing a quick fist pump because this means these agriculture advocates are getting noticed and people are paying attention to what's being said. On the other hand, there is no way any human being deserves to be treated the way these activists - who, let's be honest here, really aren't paying attention to anything but their own agenda - have been treating these folks.

 

Listen, I understand we all have agendas, as my farm blogger friend, Wanda, so eloquently wrote earlier this week in her Minnesota Farm Living blog. I certainly advocate for animal agriculture - and specifically for eating turkey, chicken and eggs - because I believe in a well-balanced diet that includes animal proteins along with other food groups. And I believe in the integrity of livestock and poultry farmers and their important roles in our food system. But I'm pro-food choice and would never tell anyone what they should or shouldn't eat or guilt someone into feeling bad about their food choices.

 

I've also known a few vegans and vegetarians in my life and they aren't horrible people. The activists I witnessed this week, on the other hand, aren't interested in a conversation or even civil disagreement; they just bully their way around. In many ways, I'm saddened - though perhaps not surprised - that there are members of our society who are so cruel and intolerant and indecent. And I'm also grateful that I am surrounded by family and friends who are open-minded and understand that while we may not agree on everything, we respect the right to our own opinions.

 

In my career, I've had my fair share of run-ins with PETA and the Humane Society of the U.S. - and even Animal Liberation Front, which threw a rock through our office window over Thanksgiving many years ago. That's been the worst of the violence and intolerance I've experienced, until this week.

 

ALF rock at Minnesota Turkey office.jpg

This is the "autographed" rock that was thrown through the window of the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association many years ago right after Thanksgiving by the Animal Liberation Front.

 

Thankfully, though, I have met many, many people in agriculture who are smart, talented, energetic and full of ideas and enthusiasm. I also saw many people this week come to the defense of the agriculture advocates using the hashtag #farm365. These are the kind of people who give me hope that the world remains a decent place.

 

This is also why I remain committed to showing the strength, diversity, importance, and human side of agriculture to our world. A few radical activists on Facebook or Twitter won't change my mind about that - I'll just hit "delete" and move on.

 

Comments
by goatgoatgoat
on ‎01-09-2015 04:46 PM

There is always more than one way to look at a situation. There are always two (or more) sides to a story. It is up to everyone to seek knowledge and understanding before they determine their own truth.

 

I have copied the blog above and substituted (respectfully, and to illustrate a valid point) the other half of the story. The original contents are in black, addition or substitutions are in red.

 

And I quote: 

 

This week, a group of livestock farmers essentially tried to promote the one side of livestock farming they want people to see, via a hashtag (#farm365) that was created by a farmer in Canada who decided to share at least one picture of his farm every day in 2015. Other farm bloggers and agriculture advocates also started to use the hashtag in support of this terrific project.

 

Fortunately, the animal activists caught wind of this and began leaving a plethora of fact-driven, credibly-cited Tweets on Twitter to attempt to show the entire picture of livestock farming, and not just the cuddly, cute faces and crisp, clean operations that they run. The side of livestock agriculture that inflicts pain, suffering and death was being completely disregarded. Any global promotional campaign should show the full picture, not just the easy-to-swallow truths that leave people complacent and misinformed.

 

People are dynamic individuals, so different from one to the next. One would always hope to maintain their composure, to exhibit an air of respect and decency, but we've all said things we regret. No one is perfect. And so, with so much passion from both sides, #farm365 quickly turned into a mud-slinging match for many, but not all

 

Disrespectful attack were rampant from both sides. Horrible things were said, petty things were said, which only escalated the situation as tempers flaired. That, is the essence of passion: wanting to be heard, wanting to be underststood, wanting people to love what you love because it means that much to you, how could they not? In essence, they both want to be heard, and no one was listening on either side. But both are to blame, not any one side, not any one person, but the individuals that make up the whole

 

On one hand, I'm doing a quick fist pump because this means the animals' plight is getting noticed and people are paying attention to what's being said. On the other hand, there is no way any human being deserves to be treated the way these livestock farmers - who, let's be honest here, really aren't paying attention to anything but their own agenda - have been treating these folks. 

 

Listen, I understand we all have agendas. I certainly advocate for the animals, the true victims in all of this - and specifically for eating a vegan diet - because I believe in a well-balanced diet that includes fruits, vegetables and nuts & seeds. I am also an advocate for the environment, and the devastating effect livestock farming has on it (#1 contributor to global warming over all other causes including transportation); a huge advocate for diet & health (vegan diets have been shown to prevent and reverse heart disease that will kill 1 out of 2 of us, and has significantly beneficial effects with obesity, diabetes, arthritis and more). But I'm pro-life, and I will always place my interests above people's palate, and advocate for the victims, the animals, the ones who cannot speak for themselves. 

 

#farm 365 was never about livestock farmers vs. animal rights activists, it was always supposed to be about the truth. About livestock farmers vs. their victims, the animals. 

 

I've also known a few livestock farmers in my life and they aren't horrible people. The farmers I witnessed this week, on the other hand, aren't interested in a conversation or even civil disagreement; they just bully their way around. In many ways, I'm saddened - though perhaps not surprised - that there are members of our society who are so cruel and intolerant and indecent. And I'm also grateful that I am surrounded by family and friends who are open-minded and understand that while we may not agree on everything, we respect life, liberty, and the freedom of speech.

 

#farm365 was never about livestock farmers vs. animal rights activists, it was always supposed to be about the truth--about livestock farmers vs. their victims, the animals. 

 

 

It truly takes an open mind and an open heart to even attempt to understand what is going on here. Painting any one side with such a broad brush is wrong and it only serves to discredit your own viewpoint. Everyone knows there is never one side to a story, and if respect were to be given, one would seek to understand before judging.

 

Sincerely,

 

Your livestock. 

by MNGobbleGal
on ‎01-09-2015 05:49 PM

Thanks for the comment - and I mean that!

 

I definitely agree there is always more than one side to the story. I respect that someone has differing views about eating meat. As I said, we all have agendas. I, of course, disagree, that animals are mistreated.This is not what I see. And I certainly do not agree that raising animals for food is wrong. And as you indicated, that is my opinion and I feel I have a right to say that - just as you have a right to feel the way you do and to eat the way you want to.

 

However, what I do not condone from any side is the absolutely vicious comments that threaten the lives of other human beings. And I certainly saw those types of comments this week come from vegan activists. Then frankly, I have a problem with that type of behavior. Wishing someone's plane to crash (an example I saw this week) is sick - and probably has nothing to do with agriculture or animals at all. That is unacceptable, no matter what side of the story you favor.

 

I respect passion, but I am saddened when common human decency goes by the wayside. As you said, we all say things we regret from time to time. But what I was reading went beyond that - which caused me to write this post. 

 

Honestly, yours was the most decent and dignified response I heard all week. Thank you for sharing your thoughts - I really do appreciate it.

by goatgoatgoat
on ‎01-09-2015 06:54 PM

Hello again!

 

Thank you for the reply, I too appreciate the candour. I was not sure what sort of response to expect, if any at all. The honesty, more than anything, is very refreshing, even though I obviously don't like to hear some parts of it. I respect everyone's right to an opinion. I know that oppression never changed anyone's mind, and we all must remain free to make our own decisions. The only thing any one person can hope to do is provide information and guidance to help people find the facts, the truth, for themselves. We all have our own minds to make up.

 

I, too, have witnessed horrendous things being said from both sides. I'm not going to lable either side worse than the other, but the extremity of the negativity has been grievous for both sides on equal terms. It is extremely emotionally exhausting feeling constantly attacked, and I understand both sides are feeling that way. But I put myself out there on behalf of the animals and I make myself a target. I'm pretty much 'asking for it' in a way, but I'm not asking for name-calling, bullying and fighting. I (and numerous others, believe it or not) am so, so tired of 'fighting' with livestock farmers for obvious reason. I'm essentially asking for it though, I feel, by trying to speak the other side of the story, and it breaks my heart that my devotion and compassion brings about more hate, aggression and negativity when it's all done for love, compassion and caring. 

 

To be a part of this at all, is exceptionally dificult for me and a lot of vegans. The photos, the videos, the pain, the suffering, the knowing... and having it in my face time after time... is so hard to handle. But I keep telling myself that I don't matter. This isn't about me, it's about them. I'm here, I'm alive, I'm free, and I have a voice. They cannot say the same, and for that reason, I gladly speak for them and continue on. 

 

I've heard a lot of sad stories too, of backlash. A very respectable older woman and animal activist friend of mine was being searched out on facebook and attacked by two gentlemen of the opposing side and threatened. She privatized her account. Another gentleman was called a 'f*ggot' yesterday, for stating his opinion to no one in particular. I, myself, have been called a terrorist. I've been called a bitch, stupid, ignorant, idiot... I had someone tell me they wanted to attach some cattle device (can't remember what it was called) to my face and "teach me some manners". It hurts, and it serves no purpose. This, I know, is not most farmers. The respectable people are getting painted with the same brush on both sides, but I don't want everyone to victimize themselves and lose the whole point of this: information sharing on the www. 

 

Thank you again for taking the time to respond, and for giving my words some thought. I truly appreciate it, and thank you for helping the two sides maybe realize that there's a way to communicate that facilitates more communication and understanding and doesn't close doors or burn bridges. 

 

If you'd like to say anything more, by all means, feel free.

 

Best wishes. Smiley Happy

by goatgoatgoat
on ‎01-09-2015 07:03 PM

Oh, and just in closing...

 

More than anything, I just would love for you to know that the few do not speak for the many. Please, please, please don't think all animal activists are the way you seem to see us. We do what we do from a place of love and hope, and we're not defined by the misguided individuals who let their emotions rage. 

 

And to the person who threw a rock through your window... All he did was help you think of us all as a closed door, and create a negative image that will never help anyone give credit where credit is due. It truly saddens me to think that this voilent act was ever even a consideration. He helped you write your original article that sympathized little with us, and I see your perspective.

 

Ok, I think I'm actually done talking now, lol. This was kind of theraputic, to be honest. A relief from the usual.

 

Thank you again, and have a great weekend if I don't hear from you!

 

 

 

 

by MNGobbleGal
on ‎01-11-2015 08:28 PM

I hope you don't think I was ignoring your next comments all weekend! I got busy with some family stuff and didn't have a chance to check back until tonight. 

 

You have given me a lot to think about and I, too, appreciate so much the candor and the thoughtfulness you have expressed to me. These are the kind of respectful conversations I wish everyone could have.

 

Truly, I think - despite our disagreements on these things - we both can agree that the horrible name-calling and vile threats on both sides are unacceptable and do not represent either side as a whole. And you are right - sometimes I can't help but feel overwhelmed and saddened because of a small percentage of people who use methods I don't appreciate (i.e. rocks through windows, threatening the lives of family, etc.). I need to remember that not everyone is this way - that there are many people like you who have convictions and strong opinions but can convey them while always respecting other human beings, as well. I thank you for that.

 

You have made my weekend, actually ... I said it earlier, but again, thank you so much for your comments and for keeping it real and respectful. I think it is a bit cathartic for me as well ... definitely better than the usual!

 

Take care and have a great week!

 

Lara

by goatgoatgoat
on ‎01-13-2015 08:39 PM

Hello!

 

I hope you don't think I was ignoring your reply either! And no worries Smiley Happy

 

Your message was really heart-warming! The way we feel is, in my opinoin, the only true breeding ground for understanding. Negativity just drives people away, no matter the person or circumstance. 

 

Your original blog obviously gave me a lot to think about too, and I feel like I perhaps eloquented myself well enough to show that not all animals activists are "extremists" or "terrorists" or any of the other awful things we get called. People just like to focus on the negative, even though, as I already said, it rarely ever brings about positive change. 

 

Thank you, more than anything, for listening to me and giving me a chance. Being judged constantly, and hated according to that judgement, is a very hard burden to bear. But having conversations like this, just... Like you said, make your weekend Smiley Happy

 

I've been commenting on other blogs, much the same as I did with yours, to try and elicit a less hateful response from people. I can only hope that others are as open-minded and genuine as yourself. 

 

Smiley Happy Thank you, Lara.