So, there’s another “undercover video” out today. This time it’s targeting the pork industry, and gestation crates. Actually, it claims to target Smithfield Foods. For those unaware, Smithfield is the largest pork producer in the world, with hundreds of thousands of sows. The issue is gestation crates for sows, not something I’m up to speed on, I’ll defer to those that have researched the issue, but I’m fully aware it’s not a simple black and white question.
What really bothers me.. HSUS claims to support family farmers. Videos such as this do nothing of the sort. It’s the classic case of if one REALLY cared about animals they’d actually spend more than a minuscule amount of their budget caring for them. But that’s not my point either. What I really want to talk about is consolidation in agriculture.
It’s a big issue, and a difficult one. I bleed free market conservatism, yet I have a deep interest in seeing the family farm preserved. Those two realities can be difficult to merge in today’s environment. Smithfield and what’s happened in the pork industry could be a classic example of the issues, questions and concerns.
But what I wish HSUS would understand, videos like this hurt family farmers the most. Wether they convince Smithfield to get rid of gestation creates a few months sooner or not, that’s gonna affect the bottom line of a corporate giant. But what’s forgotten is the family farm folk who get caught in the fallout. Who are getting up long before dawn, in sometimes awful weather, to provide true care for their animals.
Additional regulation, which seems to be the ultimate goal of groups like HSUS, won’t improve the care of those animals the slightest bit, what it will do is drive those family farms out of business. You see, small family farms don’t have the deep pockets of the corporate giants, they arn’t able to make massive new investments in facilities/operating procedures on a few years notice. Their methods and care of the animals they raise has been built often over decades, even generations, it’s done from the heart, not a law book. That’s the message I wish HSUS could understand about the agriculture I know.