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.