The Court of Public Opinion

If I were a referee right now I think I might be throwing some flags and assessing some penalties for piling on in the case of recent allegations against Sparboe Farms.

Mercy for Animals outdid themselves this time, orchestrating the release of their “undercover investigation” video through ABC and Good Morning America.  The result was McDonalds, Target and other corporate clients throwing Sparboe under the bus.

Add to that the subsequent warning letter from the Food and Drug Administration citing “serious violations.”  The release of the video and the issuance of the letter may have been coincidental, but one certainly is left to wonder about the timing.

Are there major production issues at the Sparboe facilities?   That remains to be seen, but that’s not so much the issue here.  The question is why must standard regulatory channels be bypassed in favor of public pillory by the national media?  The simple answer is corporate image – the same reason for the actions taken by McDonalds and company.  I’m not sure animal welfare has much to do with it.

Vet student Nicole Wyatt, a vegetarian, recently penned a very insightful op-ed piece for the Minneapolis Star Tribune entitled Which came first: Factory chicken farm or egg demand?  I encourage you to read the article which opens with a very pertinent observation.

We have become an urban society divorced from the practical consequences of our food-supply needs.

With the stepped-up scrutiny of layer housing which has already resulted in the cozying up of the United Egg Producers with the Humane Society of the United States, let me offer a possible scenario based solely on personal observations.

  • Intense pressure by animal welfare groups leads to cage-free production methods that are more expensive and less productive for the grower.
  • The increased cost is passed along to the consumer, possibly making eggs a less-affordable protein source.
  • Higher egg costs in a down economy reduce demand which leads to further price hikes and inevitable business closures and bankruptcies.
  • Animal Welfare groups, whose true agenda is not animal welfare but veganism and the elimination of animal agriculture, get what they want and the world gets a little hungrier.

Just a little something to think about, since we’re talking about public opinion.


About raybowman

church of Christ elder, farmer, grandad, agriculture writer and broadcaster

Posted on November 25, 2011, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. The biggest question I have – which supports your statements – was if hen welfare was so important why didn’t McDonald’s and Target choose the cage free version? After all it was McD’s pressed to adopt cage free, saying they would then earlier this year saying there was no difference and they wouldn’t. Yet both could have ordered and used cage free organic eggs from the same supplier and weren’t. Why? Perhaps because food politics is more important than hen welfare. They aren’t calling me.

  2. Phrasing this as the price of eggs going up isn’t painting the whole picture. Not only will the price of eggs go up, the price of every single thing made with eggs will go up. Prepare to pay more for: donuts, breaded foods, cake and cake mixes, cookies, pasta, anything with icing, mayonnaise, ice cream, marshmallows, anything cooked in batter, merringue, muffins, pretzels, pudding, breakfast cereals, french toast, omelettes, tartar sauce, waffles, certain breads, bouillons, pasteurized liquid egg product, meatloaf, some salad dressings, some wines, some soups, pancakes, bagels, cosmetics, shampoos, pharmaceuticals, some vaccines…

    Does anyone really believe we need for the price of food to increase more right now?

  1. Pingback: Activism in Action « Bellbottom Farm

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