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View From The Hill: Those poor fish

By Grace Boatright, National Grange Legislative Director (View From The Hill Blog 10/31/12)

  OCTOBER 31, 2012 --

Thanks to hurricane Sandy, the entire National Grange staff was kept from the office Monday and Tuesday, giving me ample time to get on my laptop (while I still had power) and read some of the truly disturbing things occurring in the world. This was one such thing and something I couldn’t help but share with my fellow ag advocates.

It seems that a truck hauling saltwater bass crashed in early October, killing all of the fish onboard. The incident, occurring in Orange County, CA, involved no deaths or injuries to a human, but did in fact kill the 1,600 pounds of fish being kept alive by the oxygen tanks that broke in the crash.

PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) sent a letter to the city’s superintendent requesting that a sign be placed on the highway where the fish were killed to memorialize this tragic loss. Yep- you read that right- PETA wants a sign posted to remember these poor fish who tragically suffered and died as a result of this crash. ARE. YOU. KIDDING. ME?

At first when I read this, I thought for sure it was a joke. It’s not. They’re very serious. According to the letter submitted by PETA, the sign would read: “In memory of hundreds of fish who suffered and died at this spot,” to remind tractor-trailer drivers of their responsibility to the animals who are “hauled to their deaths every day.” They also want the city to pay for this sign. Hey- California is only the #1 debtor in the U.S. I’m sure they can pay for this with no problems.

Truthfully, it irks me that people like this have the same voting rights as the rest of us. However, it irks me even more that these people seem to have little trouble getting their message out to the general public while agriculture still struggles to have its voice heard. In my opinion, this is one of the biggest problems with American agriculture right now- the lack of communication with the general public about the importance of farming and ranching, the methods by which food is produced, and why those methods are chosen.

There is this huge and unreasonable fallacy, generated by organizations like PETA, that people involved in agriculture mistreat and abuse their animals. That makes no sense whatsoever. Would you go outside and key your own car? Would you throw rocks at your own house? No, of course not! Farm animals are personal property like anything else and it would be pretty senseless for a farmer or rancher to go out and abuse them.

Have there been cases of animal abuse and mistreatment on American farms? Yes, absolutely. We understand that certain actions do constitute animal cruelty and we've passed laws regarding the proper treatment of animals for this very reason. However, to organizations like PETA, any utilization of animals on farms is an abuse. Milking cows, riding horses, and keeping bees are all things that most animal rights groups oppose. Make no mistake: their ultimate goal is end the use and consumption of animals. Period.

In my opinion, these people have no sense of reality. The world population has doubled since 1960 and is set to double again by 2050. Meanwhile, the number of people involved in agriculture continues to decline. How do they think we are going to feed the world if we completely eliminate animal products as a food source? I really would be interested in their answer to that question.

I understand this has been more of a rant than a blog, but it’s a prime example of how the agricultural community needs to ban together and defend itself against nonsense like this. These people certainly have a right to free speech, but so do we and it’s time we started screaming from the rooftops. Our work is both essential and ethical. Can you think of anything more moral than feeding hungry people? 

If you want to read the whole article, it’s here: http://www.ocregister.com/news/sign-376051-fish-letter.html

-Grace Boatright
National Grange Legislative Director

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