They say that fear may be the top motivator for mankind but I have a sneaking suspicion that guilt may be a close second with sticky and delicious Cinnabon ranking third.
With this psychological quirk in mind there are plenty of folks out there, including the Humane Society of the United States, willing to manipulate you, mislead you and even fib to you if they think you are gullible enough or your sense of guilt ripe enough.
This is evident throughout our society and the marketing chain today. Examples abound:
- Numerous food manufacturers are removing corn sweeteners from food items despite legions of dieticians saying cane sugar, honey, HFCS et al…are virtually identical and over eating is the culprit;
- Petroleum companies tell us using more ethanol will result in the ruination of rainforests in South America despite evidence statistical evidence to the contrary;
- The Humane Society of the United States tells us cage-free eggs – those from free roaming chickens – are better for us and the chickens. Take note foxes and weasels…dinner is on the way.
The chicken conundrum seems to be the most salient issue to discuss this week given the Humane Society of the United State’s latest gambit in Iowa trying to expose the horrors of poultry and egg production. It is getting to be a tired tactic. Get gritty video that is unrepresentative of poultry or livestock operations and put it on the evening news. Then ask for donations to lobby. It is no accident that HSUS has legions of lawyers rather than scientists or animal experts.
Cages free eggs are not all they are cracked up to be, Dean Kleckner, former head of the American Farm Bureau Federation, pointed out in a commentary in the Des Moines Register this week.
“As it turns out, however, this “cage-free” environment is no poultry paradise for the chickens, either. When chickens are crowded together, rather than separated into cages, they peck each other incessantly. It’s animal instinct - an avian attempt to establish a social hierarchy - a behavior we describe as a “pecking order.”
These animal welfare radicals - because that is indeed what HSUS is beneath a thin veneer of puppies - miss niceties like climate control, sanitation, better health and safer products that result from modern livestock production techniques. Reality doesn’t fit their vegetarian agenda. This is just the most recent example of the new reality that has entered the marketplace.
“On topics like health and wellness - environmental sustainability is another - the market climate is changing in terms of regulation and mainstream public opinion, and any brand that considers itself a leader has to play a part in that change process. The threat is to be left behind, looking like the bad guy that people feel increasingly guilty about buying,” Tim Riches, chief growth officer, Asia-Pacific, at FutureBrand.
I think Riches’s sentiment applies to agricultural production and family farmers as well. We must absorb and address this trend or go with the flow and pay the consequences such as fewer family farms and ranches, less domestic food output, and more reliance on other nations for our sustenance as well as our fuel, cars, washing machines, etc…
Chicken Little“” is a story for teaching courage. Don’t be a chicken little. Don’t be afraid. The sky is not falling. Everyone in farming needs to take courage and tell consumers the real story before it is too late.