Ag Advocate Kay Johnson Smith Calls on Industry to Stand Up Against Pressure from Animal ActivistsTue, 05 Dec 2017 10:19:31 CST
At the recent National Association of Farm Broadcasters Convention in Kansas City, Carson Horn, Radio Oklahoma Ag Network associate farm director, had the chance to speak with president and CEO of the Animal Agriculture Alliance Kay Johnson Smith. Smith has worked for many years, keeping an eye on anti-agriculture groups and the tactics they employ to impose their will on the livestock industry. Ultimately, she says their end-goal is to completely eliminate animal agriculture altogether. In talking with Horn, she described some of these less than respectable practices utilized by activists against reputable food companies.
"One activists described what they had done to get their way, which was to essentially harass the company until they gave in," she said. "Some groups say their demands are just trying to change negative or bad farm practices - that they're not against animal ag. But, that's a complete lie."
On the food supply chain, grocery stores and retailers are the public facing entities of agriculture, dealing directly with consumers. It is easy to be sympathetic and relate to these companies who fold under pressure from these activist groups who threaten to ruin their business with negative campaigns. A very popular demand by activists, Smith says, is to get retailers to commit to selling only cage-free eggs. But, she says now, these businesses are learning the hard way that consumers don't want the products activists are demanding. The problem now is, too, that once you give in to activists' demands, they'll keep coming back for more.
"We really hope (retailers) have a backbone and that they work with their suppliers that provide their products, because it's really extortion; it's blackmail what they're doing," Smith said, explaining how companies can push back. "They've said they will never go away, they won't stop. Consumers are not demonstrating an interest in cage-free eggs by buying them, so they're starting to realize and ask themselves 'why did we make these pledges.' And the activists are already saying cage-free is not enough."
Listen to Kay Johnson Smith of the Animal Agriculture Alliance describe the tactics being used by animal rights activists to pressure companies into complying with their demands, with Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays, on today's Beef Buzz.
The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Network and is a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the LISTEN BAR below for today's show and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.
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