Evidence that undercover videos about factory farming persuade the public to change their meat-consumption habits and go vegetarian or vegan: The manipulative responses from the meat industry to try to persuade the public in the opposite direction.
The industry acknowledges the power of natural, human empathy for animals evoked through video education. The Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST), recently published a report that stated:
"Public perceptions [...] of welfare issues have the potential to dramatically impact swine production if governments, the swine industry, or consumers react to these issues by outlawing housing systems or by boycotting pork. In determining whether or not the welfare of sows is compromised, individuals and lawmakers may act emotively [...]" [emphasis added]Although the meat industry admits that factory farming methods are common (see their own video that shows factory farms) they are trying to manipulate their image by distorting the terminology. Here are some examples:
- What normal people call "factory farms," they call "climate controlled buildings," "barns," "indoor facilities," "industrial farm animal production"
- What normal people call "cages" or "crates," they call "individual accommodations," "housing systems"
- What normal people call "antibiotics" or "hormones," they call "FDA approved medications"
Photo of sows confined in narrow crates unable to turn around as published, with description "sows resting and eating in individual gestation accommodations," in CAST report.
Image credit: Egebjerg International A/S.
Moreover, the meat industry is stalling.
Factory farms have existed for decades and even though there is clear evidence that factory farms are cruel, dangerous, and destructive:
"[Industrial farm animal production] systems are largely unregulated, and many practices common to this method of production threaten public health, the environment, animal health and well-being, and rural communities. The use of antibiotics in animals without a diagnosed illness, the mismanagement of the large volumes of farm waste, and the treatment of animals in intensive operations are all of deep concern." ~ The Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production "Final Report: Putting Meat on The Table: Industrial Farm Animal Production in America" [emphasis added]Despite this well-documented research that makes the specific recommendation to change the meat industry by increasing legal restrictions, the meat industry rebels against any such restrictions. For example, the CAST report cited at the beginning of this article states:
"[M]ore large-scale, on-farm, multidisciplinary, scientifically robust research and development is needed before rigid regulations—which would increase production costs [...]" [emphasis added]The evident stalling and manipulation by the meat industry can easily be interpreted as a declaration that the meat industry cares more about profit than about animal welfare, public health, or environmental damage.