Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Farming and Pride

A comment and a quotation from Mark Bittman's column, Banned in the Barn, in today's New York Times really hit me.
“When I grew up here,” said an Iowan I spent some time with, “people were proud of their animals. They’d have signs with their breeds, or their names, and they’d offer to show you around.” That’s no longer the case with most animal operations in Iowa. 
Bittman's editorial is about his difficulty getting access to industrialized animal farms.  Even though state efforts to ban photography on animal farms (without express permission) failed, he writes about the difficulty in getting farmers to give him permission to enter animal facilities.

On one hand, I certainly can understand the farmers' concerns.  His reputation precedes him.  But, I agree with him that, "[w]e need more visibility, not less."

If proponents of an industrialized style of farm animal production believe that this is the best method to use, then let true transparency convince consumers of that.  And, I don't mean an advertising campaign - I mean transparency.  This is how we raise farm animals.  After all, we are talking about our food supply.

Which brings me back to the quote.

I remember the pride that my father had for his dairy operation and for his cows.  He might not have agreed with Mr. Bittman on all points, but he would have been very happy to show him around the farm.  He was proud of the way he cared for his animals.

I look forward to the column next week, when Mr. Bittman promises information about operations that "give us reason to hope."

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