If you’re in agriculture in any way, shape or form, you need to get on the team to thank Domino’s Pizza for the fact that its shareholders stood up to the Humane Society of the United States’ (HSUS) attempt to tell them how to run their business. Because, while the current issue centers on gestation-sow stalls, tomorrow it could focus on cheese and dairies or wheat and GMOs or any number of issues that activists decide to target.
In this particular case I’m talking about the shareholder vote that took place earlier this month where 80 percent of the vote went to defeating the requirement that any pork products that Domino’s uses must come from operations that do not use gestation-sow stalls. Domino’s, so far, is the only food company in a recent flood of “yes men” to say “no” to such an effort.
McDonald’s. Burger King, Wendy’s, Safeway, Denny’s and more, have buckled under the pressure to steer HSUS—which owns stock in most of the companies—away from their brands.
It begs the question where will these food companies get their pork products? Some of those burger chains are going to have a severe drop in sales without the bacon to boost the flavor. An estimate of how many gestation sows are housed in systems not using stalls is about 10 percent. What's more, there is no segmented product available. Sure, there are some niche producers out there, but there is no significant quantity of product available.
So, earlier this week a grassroots movement—The Truth About Agriculture started a Facebook Group, Farmers Paying it Forward with Pizza—targeted at those who support the U.S. agriculture and food sectors. I would point out that the effort should include those who benefit from such innovations and commitment—which would be all of us.
So even though the information appeared on Pork Network earlier in the week, it bears repeating—the point is to support Domino’s Pizza this weekend, May 18-20, by ordering a pie—or several. It's being called Ag Pizza Party. The organizers also are asking those who participate to drop off a "thank you" note when you pick up your order. You can print out a sample to use here.
Consider it as an option for a staff or neighborhood gathering. Or as one person shared—“Figured I won’t make it to Domino’s this weekend to eat a pizza so I ordered a couple and sent them to the Ronald McDonald house with an explanation of why I was supporting Domino’s.” What a wonderful and generous idea.
Not a Domino’s nearby? I know of a few farmers going out of their way, 30 to 40 miles, to pick up pizzas; at the very least send out a Thank You note.
As of Thursday afternoon, there were nearly 2,000 people on board for the Ag Pizza Party and another 20,000 invited.
However, you are not alone. While farmers are out in the fields planting their crops, monitoring farrowing sows and milking cows, activists are sitting behind their computers organizing against you.
Specifically an illustrator and designer living in Austin, Texas, who says “I love all animals and most people ;)” has launched a petition on Change.org to lobby against Domino’s decision and the Ag Pizza Party.
Rina Khadivi claims to have launched the petition after seeing HSUS undercover video footage, but a scan around the Internet suggests otherwise. Even on Change.org she cites involvement in “four animal actions” and the verbiage she uses sounds remarkably like that of HSUS.
Still, the site reports more than 126,000 people have signed her petition, as of Thursday afternoon. That’s not surprising given the organization of activist groups.
You can read more about what Khadivi is telling the public about pork production and agriculture on the web posting.
U.S. agriculture tallies less than 1 percent of the U.S. population, so we might make a dent if everyone and our friends and families ordered pizzas.
Does that mean we shouldn’t try? Not at all, it just means those of us involved in modern agriculture and food production have an uphill climb that’s getting steeper every day.
Now, pick up that phone and say…”Hello Domino’s, thank you…”