Animal Rights Activists May Mislead Consumers

CANADA - A Washington, D.C. based communications specialist warns the growing disconnection of the urban population from the farm leaves the majority vulnerable to the strategies used by animal rights activists, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 5 March 2009
clock icon 3 minute read

Production agriculture has become the target of animals rights activists who have been extremely successful in capturing the attention of the public and bringing about legislative restrictions on livestock producers.

Dan Murphy, a communications specialist with Outsource Marketing, says we now have a population where the majority of people are disconnected from what goes on in producing our food and are more easily swayed by myth, misconception and misinformation.

Dan Murphy-Outsource Marketing

Most people have never been to a hog production facility, never been to a feed lot, never understood what it takes to manage farm animals and food animals efficiently.

It's easy to use visual images, pirated underground videos and other tools that these activist groups are so good at getting to create the idea that production agriculture is one giant circle of abuse, that animals are mistreated from birth through death.

When the images are so graphic and so powerful to people who don't have the background in what life is like on a farm, it's very easy for them to buy into this myth that, if you care about animals, you need to stop eating meat, you need to put a stop to the production of livestock and you need to change the way you think about production agriculture.

Murphy suggests farmers need to adopt some of the same strategies these opponents of agriculture have been so gifted at using.

He says dealing with consumers on an emotional level will open the door to talk about the science but, until you connect with something people care about, all of the science in the world wont make a dent in how people perceive and how they think about production agriculture.

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