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You are not exempt

By Staff | Feb 25, 2014

To the Editor,

In response to the Feb. 20 New York Times op/ed on the release of the latest undercover video, I felt the need to put together a few thoughts.

Back in January when Tyson foods announced that it was sending a letter to all of its suppliers, I told several people in the industry that I felt the tide was turning against the industry in our efforts to save our right to operate.

This is not just a packer issue. This is not a confinement production issue. This involves everyone that produces livestock for food today.

Don’t think that if you raise food animals in an acceptable way you will be exempt from criticism. To the activists, there really is no acceptable way.

The pressure is mounting and our right to operate is being increasingly threatened. As a unified industry of producers, we can’t stand idly by and let others determine how we raise food animals.

No one knows how to raise hogs better than we do. We need to fight back. We need to publicly defend why we do what we do on our farms.

The regulatory environment that we face and the additional burdens that we face to have access to the marketplace are being brought by a handful of activists who are challenging our freedom.

We have a responsibility to defend our freedom and our right to operate. We must work together to create a sustainable environment for farming and producing pork.

To do nothing is not acceptable

Some of the scenes in these undercover videos are bad and do look ugly, but animal agriculture isn’t always pretty and when scenes are taken out of context and edited together in the right way, you can put together a video that makes us look bad.

These activists want to dictate our animal care and handling systems. They are not willing to consider good science.

It has become evident that their goal is to impose their will on others. The longer they keep beating that drum, sooner or later, science will no longer matter.

We as individuals must be willing to stand tall and push back. We need to communicate to our neighbors, our friends, our distant relatives and our government representatives about how our freedoms are being challenged.

Attacks by these groups will most likely continue and as a pork producing farmer, we all need to step up and defend our freedom to produce a high quality, safe and affordable product.

Bill Tentinger

Le Mars

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