Animal cruelty on an Ohio hog farm is the subject of an HBO documentary, "Death on a Factory Farm,” which debuts Monday, March 16 at 10 p.m. on the cable television channel.
In the wake of the documentary, which includes disturbing footage of animal mistreatment, livestock producers should prepare "to engage in values-based discussions with their community and the media about the film,” Charlie Arnot of the Center of Food Integrity said Friday.
"The potential reaction following the release presents an opportunity for producers to educate audiences on animal welfare issues and to build understanding of and support for today's dairy production practices,” Arnot said.
To help consumers understand that dairy farmers share their values, Arnot offered the following messages that producers may want to offer consumers and media:
· "As a dairy farmer, I am appalled when I see animal abuse on a farm. All farmers have an ethical obligation to provide appropriate care for livestock. Those who abuse animals should be held accountable and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”
· "I know that taking good care of my animals and giving them a clean, comfortable environment is the right thing to do. Animal abuse in any form is unacceptable. The actions of a few ‘bad actors' in no way reflect the high standards demonstrated daily by a vast majority of America's dairy farmers. Fortunately, cases of animal abuse on the farm are rare.”
· Many animal rights groups are opposed to contemporary animal agriculture, which includes me and my family. They will use extreme cases to make damaging generalizations about an industry that holds itself to high standards. The dairy industry came together to develop the National Animal Well-Being Initiative, and now on-farm well-being programs, like Dairy FARM are being implemented across the country.”
· "As a farmer, I want consumers to know that I've dedicated my life to taking good care of my animals and providing them a safe, nutritious and affordable food.”
Learn more about the documentary and its schedule at:
Catherine Merlo is Western editor for Dairy Today. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.