Meredith: Isn’t all food 'just' food?

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A few weeks ago I recovered from our Stakeholders Summit in Miami, Florida at the BlogHer Food Conference.  

Emily MeredithEmily Meredith Last year, I attended the 2013 BlogHer Food Conference in “Stay Weird” Austin, Texas and had the best time—meeting foodie bloggers, talking about new recipes, perceptions about agriculture and a passion for the written word through blogging.

Not that I didn’t have a great time this year in Miami, but BlogHer was a little different. I remember feeling anxious last year, not knowing what the different bloggers would think when they found out I represented the “big bad” agriculture industry—but my fears were immediately assuaged after being constantly surrounded by inquisitive bloggers, simply eager to learn more about how the food they love to prepare is produced.

This year in Miami, however, the whole vibe of the conference was dramatically different. There were still passionate food bloggers eager to chat about new recipes and the hottest trends for restaurants, retailers and foodies alike. But my “blogger buzz” was seriously “harshed” when I walked into the meeting area to find that ASPCA was a title sponsor and a conference exhibitor. Though their booth was what you would expect—misleading and patently incorrect—what was much more enlightening was the conversation I had with the booth’s staff.

Since the booth had plenty of “information” on so-called Factory Farms, I decided to play dumb and ask to hear a definition for that phrase, straight from the horse’s mouth. After hearing the usual mumbo-jumbo about the “deplorable conditions” “sadistic cross-breeding” etc. I asked, very pointedly, “So, how many animals exactly are on a ‘factory farm’?”

“About 90,” came the response.

Ninety—wow. That’s truly enlightening. The two ASPCA booth representatives went on to describe a world where farm animals have access to the outside—in the pasture, are raised without antibiotics (I’m paraphrasing since they never use the correct terminology) and are fed an “all natural” diet. 

“Interesting,” I said. “Because it sounds like what you’re describing is an organic production style.”

Then came the kicker.

“Would you be interested in knowing,” I continued, “that most organic farms have more than 90 animals?”

“Err…could you come back when our Director is here? We just do the PR.”

Well that ended that.

I agreed to come back but never returned, I had made my point—and in front of approximately 20 bloggers too, I just hope that my very innocent questions prompted them to ask some questions before picking up ASPCA’s pamphlets and propaganda.

Read my blog post next week about “Food Babe” and her tirade at the BlogHer Conference. Her unsubstantiated claims are being heard by thousands of followers.

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mn  |  June, 12, 2014 at 11:11 AM

Thank you. Sometimes PR needs to be "Public Ridicule"

IA  |  June, 12, 2014 at 11:42 AM

It was great meeting you in person at the conference! I was happy to meet you and a lot of other farmers there! Thank you for all that you do. I look forward to your next blog post :)

Randy Janssen    
June, 13, 2014 at 06:26 AM

The ASPCA does this type of publicity stunt to get you to donate to the ASPCA and not your local shelters that really takes care of animals. The ASPCA is not your local volunteer animal shelter. The ASPCA is an urban centered vegan obsessed group of animal rights fanatics. It is an over one hundred fifty million dollar corporation that spends almost every dime it gets on obscene salaries and filing lawsuits. It raises money by showing ads of cute dogs and cats, but it spends less then 10% to feed and shelter cats and dogs. Real animal shelters complain that the ASPCA gets the money they need to feed and shelter cats and dogs. The ASPCA spends money on the vegan activist group Mercy and for advertisements to make more money. The ASPCA has been found guilty of racketeering in Florida for paying someone to lie about animal cruelty. The ASPCA says it wants to protect horses, but it supports show jumping, one of the most dangerous things you can do to those animals. THE ASPCA IS AGAINST RODEO AND WESTERN TRADITIONS. The ASPCA IS FOR A VEGETARIAN LIFESTYLE AND AGAINST EATTING MEAT. The ASPCA wants to change our eating habits and standard of living by outlawing farming methods that are used on family farms. The ASPCA is bad for America so don't applaud its lackeys. If you want to support something, think about giving to the child fund, St. Jude, the Wounded Warriors, or you local food bank. If you want to help animals, give money to your local animal shelter. Giving money to the ASPCA is giving money to a bloated bureaucracy that waste it on salaries and litigation. It claims to do good but if you really look at what it does, it only piggybacks on the work of local organizations.

kansas  |  June, 13, 2014 at 09:49 AM

Great job Ms. Meredith! You precisely expose the heart of the problem - blissful, willful ignorance and the exploitation thereof by zealots with ulterior motives and agendas. Sincere, thinking people with legitimate concerns (unlike the shills you embarrassed) would avail themselves of the wealth of accurate and objective information about agriculture available. These fine folks willfully choose to ignore facts from informed, connected and reliable resources and, instead, rely on myths and propaganda presented in a way that appeals to their emotions and gives them a sense of moral superiority and righteousness. The eco-freaks and animal rightists have created a "religion" (cult), where faith trumps reason. When they're "belief system" is challenged, as you did, they simply defer to their "priests & theologians" and return to chanting. Your/Our challenge is much greater than simply educating the gullible & ignorant, it's now become more of a "deprograming" the brainwashed and exposing the true nature and goals of the cults themselves. Keep at it!

Mrs Slavic.    
June, 13, 2014 at 11:56 AM

Aren't you describing HSUS?

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