Friday, February 24, 2012

When Activism Goes Too Far

Last Saturday, I had the opportunity to attend a fundraiser sponsored by 5 local county Farm Bureau committees to benefit the legal defense fund of a family who is being sued by the Waterkeepers Alliance. I introduced myself and said that while I was glad to meet them, I was sorry that we had to meet under these circumstances, that the benefit fundraiser drew them 90 miles from home to the 4H Park so that fellow farmers could rally to their side and help raise money to keep them from losing the farm. That is after all, what is at stake… the family farm.

Its sad to see another farm family go through what they’re going through – defending their way of life, their business, and the future of the farm for the next generation. What bothers me the most about this is that this family could be my family or any other farm family across this country. They are small farmers, a few hundred acres of land and 2 chicken houses. The activists call them “factory farmers”. Really?  A factory?  I can only assume that those who use that term have never been in a poultry house. There is nothing close to resembling a factory. I used to work in a paper mill. There is nothing remotely in comparison.

What I do know about poultry houses is that they are climate controlled. Heat and air conditioning. Something a lot of farm houses lack. The animals have climate control and the humans caring for them do not. Go figure. Their watering and feeding systems are automated which ensures that the water and feed are fresh. Everything about a poultry house is designed for the comfort of the birds. They are spacious, uncaged, climate controlled, and unlimited access to food and water. How do I know? I’ve walked through them. If all you know about poultry houses is from activist websites, then you do not have correct information.

The bottom line for me, is if you don’t understand something or have a question, ask me. What a wonderful world this would be if people would simply communicate. Watch the video at Listen to their story. Give if you feel led to do so. Most importantly, don’t make assumptions. We family farmers are counting on you to be correctly informed. Our livelihoods depend on it. Thanks for listening.

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