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Open the Doors?

May 11, 2011

Temple Grandin is widely respected in the agriculture industry. Her work to improve animal handling and care has revolutionized the beef industry. I had the pleasure of meeting Grandin while she was visiting Oklahoma State University to endorse an endowed chair that was established in her name by the Oklahoma Beef Council. Today there is much discussion about transparency and it’s place in agriculture. A few weeks back videos were released exposing abuse on a farm that started a debate among the industry; how much transparency is necessary. Grandin issued this piece for the New York Times regarding the videos and agriculture’s transparency.
 
"Some undercover videos taken by various animal advocacy groups have shown some shocking abuses of animals that definitely need to be stopped. Passing laws which would make it a crime to take undercover videos is both shortsighted and stupid. Passing these laws is the same as telling the public that large animal agriculture has lots of bad things to hide.
 
"The agricultural industry should be opening doors when they are attacked, not closing them.
 
"The agricultural industry should be opening doors when they are attacked and not closing them. Progressive leaders in the industry are opening doors so that the public can see what they are doing. The Cargill Corporation should be commended for allowing the Oprah Show to film the inside of its beef slaughter plant in Colorado. J.S. West, a California egg producer, has a live chicken cam that streams live video out to the Internet. Both Cargill and J.S. West are communicating with the public the right way.
 
"On the over hand, some animal advocacy groups have been guilty of misrepresenting video images. The two most common misrepresentations are: 1) stating that an abuse on one bad farm is typical of the entire industry, 2) showing video from foreign countries.
 
"I have worked over 30 years to improve animal handling practices in slaughterhouses. The plants today are vastly improved compared to those of 10 years ago."
 
What do you think? Is it possible for the industry to have too much transparency?
 
 
 
This article by Grandin spired much debate, read all of the comments here.

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