(Jamie) Welcome back! Let’s join Kyle and Hannah to learn more about the Animal Ag Alliance, their diverse membership and how they educate consumers with science.
(Kyle) Hi this is Kyle Bauer from Kansas City. I have the opportunity to visit with Hannah Thompson. She’s with the Animal Ag Alliance. Hannah, let’s start with telling folks who the Animal Ag Alliance is. (Hannah) The Animal Agriculture Alliance is an industry united, non-profit organization. And our mission is bridging the communication gap between farm and fork. So, what we really work to do is help connect consumers with positive, science-based and factual information about modern animal agriculture to help them understand how farmers work and farmer’s deep commitment to animal care. (Kyle) So, who are your members? (Hannah) Our membership is really broad and diverse. We represent the total animal agriculture industry. So, a lot of commodity groups who in turn represent farmers and ranchers, individual farmers and ranchers themselves. A lot of animal health companies, the nutrition, the feed side. So, we always say if it has to do with producing milk, meat and eggs, they either are our member or they should be. (Kyle) So, you are not an old organization though, this is a relatively new organization that was meeting a need in the industry? (Hannah) We’ve actually been around since 1987. So, we are an organization with a deep history. But we have changed our focus somewhat in the more recent years, to focus more on that communication side because we realize how important it is and how much of a need there is for that kind of information to be out there. And for groups like us to try to be shielding the industry from the blows of misinformation that can be really damaging to reputations. (Kyle) But ultimately it’s an issue whether they bring it up on how they’re cared for or bring up the nutrition, it’s all about making animal agriculture less profitable. (Hannah) Exactly. And I want to draw a very clear line between animal welfare and animal rights. Of course, animal welfare is how an animal is cared for and kind of the state of being of that animal. And farmers and ranchers are the biggest animal welfare advocates I’ve ever come across. Cause they’ve dedicated their careers, dedicated their lives to working in this industry and to understanding animal care. And taking the best care of their livestock and poultry that they can. Of course, as we mentioned, animal rights on the other hand, is that belief that it’s not OK to use animals. So, it doesn’t matter how high the standards of animal welfare are, these groups don’t think it’s acceptable. But I think they’ve realized that that message isn’t going to resonate with consumers. The vast majority of our population enjoys eating animal products. They enjoy eating milk, meat and eggs. So, they’ve realized in order to drive these people away, they’re trying to make what they call incremental changes. They’re trying to emphasize a lot of policies that they portray as being beneficial for animal welfare, but really what they’re designed to do is make production less efficient, drive farmers out of business, drive the cost up, drive demand down and really just gradually end our industry. (Kyle) We’re visiting with Hannah Thompson. She is with the Animal Agricultural Alliance. This is Kyle Bauer reporting from Kansas City.
(Jamie) Thanks for joining us. I’m your host Jamie Bloom and I hope you enjoyed today’s show. See you next week on Farm Factor – we’re here every Tuesday on AGam in Kansas.
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