On Tuesday, January 31, 2012, The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) released an undercover video taken at Oklahoma pig breeding facilities owned by two leading U.S. pork producers. HSUS is also encouraging consumers to take action to ban the use of gestation crates.
Video is one of the most powerful tools used by animal rights groups. Combined with the credibility that a national news outlet holds, this story is likely to evoke strong emotions and response by viewers. Also, consumer print outlets are likely to do follow up stories, bringing the issue front and center to millions of consumers across the U.S.
The Ohio Livestock Coalition points out that it is important that the animal agriculture community talks openly and honestly about animal well-being and many programs used to ensure livestock is raised in a humane way. The Center for Food Integrity encourages producers and leaders in the food system to pro-actively engage in values based discussions about modern production methods. Sample messages are available on the homepage of the CFI Engage Farmer Resource Center, which provides tools and messaging to help farmers and others involved in the food system tell their story and engage in discussions about today’s food system currently taking place through the media and online social networking communities.