JoAnn Alumbaugh
JoAnn Alumbaugh

Members of the National Institute for Animal Agriculture (NIAA) recently adopted a position that public schools should not allow extremist animal rights groups to present their views, which can erroneously be perceived as facts.

“Animal rights groups… do not reflect balanced views and are campaigning across the United States to implement what they refer to as ‘humane education,’ a program of extreme ideological material they aspire to teach in our school systems,” says Jim Fraley, Livestock Program Director for Illinois Farm Bureau. Fraley also serves as co-chair of the NIAA Animal Care Council.

School districts don’t allow teachers to present their personal ideologies, so why would they allow animal rights groups to force-feed their philosophies to children?

It’s a matter of choosing education over indoctrination. The meaning of “indoctrinate” is: to teach somebody a belief, doctrine, or ideology thoroughly and systematically, especially with the goal of discouraging independent thought or the acceptance of other opinions.

That is exactly what animal rights groups hope to accomplish. Carefully crafted, tightly-focused messages are designed to indoctrinate listeners with a single viewpoint: theirs. They plant images of abused, “unhappy” (their words, not mine) animals that aren’t allowed to “express their natural instincts,” whatever they may be.

The messages spouted by animal rights groups imply modern agriculture is evil and consumers should be wary of the food they eat. With all the conflicting messages and no simple way for consumers to know what’s factual and what’s fictional, it’s easy to see why they’re confused.

Collectively and individually, however, our efforts are making a difference. In this issue, read what individuals are doing to dispel myths here and here. Meanwhile, Jerrod Sutton and his team at the National Pork Board are doing all they can to educate retail and food service organizations about pork production (read it here). Their efforts are making a difference, and so will yours.