I have broken a golden rule of communications…I’m still talking about a stale story. Long after popular media has moved on Stewart is still sitting at his desk trying to respond to the undercover video shown by CTV’s W5 report that aired on December 8th of 2012. So why did I break the rules? Because I’m a farmer…I have to do chores, animals depend on me to go to the barn and feed them, they depend on me to keep a roof over their head, and when I have to choose between carrying out my duty as a farmer or trying to educate the public about farming I am obligated to choose my animals. To me, this is the most telling point about why more farmers are not telling their side of the story. We are too busy farming!!!
That being said, many of my farming colleagues do not understand we are at war with an enemy that wants to destroy family farms. There was a telling statement made by the undercover operative/cameraman from Mercy for Animals Canada (MFAC) that exposed the real intentions of the animal activists. He alluded to the fact that even if gestation stalls were removed, even if we stopped castrating, even if we let every pig roam free outside, that he would still not be satisfied. These activists don’t really care about gestation stalls, their real goal is to try and create a vegan society where no one consumes animal products and they are completely oblivious (maybe they don’t care) to the human costs that would come about in their vegan fantasy. The final two posts of my response are going to try and give you some insight to the unintended costs of the misguided animal rights movement.
On December 3rd 2012 a report was released by the Ontario Association of Food Banks (OAFB) stating that food bank use here in my home province of Ontario has hit an all-time high. Every month, over 400’000 Ontarians have needed to access food assistance. Bill Laidlaw, Executive Director of OAFB highlighted key areas of concern, “The largest group of food bank users are children… some of the largest growing groups of food bank users are single parent households, the working poor, senior citizens, university students, and recent graduates.”
As a famer I am saddened that in Canada, a country that grows far more than it can eat, there are people who are going hungry. I am saddened, but not surprised. We are witnessing a period of great decline for the middle class and the cruel reality is that there are people being dropped off at the bottom end of the scale. The vast majority of people simply cannot afford to pay more for their food let alone incur the added costs associated with a vegan diet.
I found this blog post by Virginia Messina, a professional dietician and passionate vegan, about the added cost of a vegan diet. She hits on some great points, most notably about the need for quick and easy meals. A family of 4 with both parents working full time does not have time in the day to “soak the pinto beans”; they need food to be ready in a hurry in hopes that they can eat together before heading to hockey practice. Vegan convenience food products are incredibly expensive and are simply unattainable for low income households. Simply put, the vegan diet is a luxury good and millions of Canadian families just can’t afford to not eat meat. At a time when the ranks of the working poor are growing at an alarming rate we cannot afford to impose the costly standards of a misguided minority of the population.
As I farmer, I am proud to say that I am doing my part; I produce safe, nutritious pork (not to mention delicious) and I do it as economically as anyone else in the world while still respecting and caring for my animals. Hunger has a devastating impact on our most venerable, how can a child focus on his math problems when he doesn’t know if there will be supper tonight? Farmers know that the key to a vibrant society is a full stomach, animal activists ignore the fact that their vegan fantasy would lead to an ugly future for our world.
I end with this rather abrupt quote from Pearl Bailey, a famous actress and singer from the 20th century. “Hungry people cannot be good at learning or producing anything, except perhaps violence.”
#FarmProud my friends