To: Directors of HSUS, PETA and the Farm Sanctuary The first step in engaging an issue is to have the ability to understand your ‘opponents’ point of view. I have watched your criticisms as we in animal agriculture have become more productive.

Your criticisms range from a distaste of raising chickens in cages to promoting a vegan lifestyle and degrees in between. I have visited with each of you on the telephone, and I can’t paint you all with the same brush, but I can include you in the same picture.

It appears to me you have a distrust for modern agricultural methods; genetically modified foods, hog confinement sheds, beef feedlots, farmed salmon and chemical fertilizer. You mourn the loss of a bucolic family farm lifestyle that no longer exists. You assume, I guess, that animals were treated more humanely 50 years ago. You abhor growth stimulants, veal barns, hog gestation crates. You use buzzwords like chemicals, factory farming, corporate farms, antibiotics and hormones with the intent to demean. And you spend considerable amounts of money to impede our efforts to produce livestock.

So it behooves me to try and understand how and why you are so prejudiced against what we think of as a noble calling. Four contributing factors:

1) You are vegetarians. In itself, it is not a root cause but certainly a bias. You would be unable to relate to a juicy steak, spareribs, sushi or ice cream.


2) You evaluate ‘animal cruelty’ on your feelings of how you think a human would react to a procedure or condition, as opposed to our less subjective methods including egg production, pounds of milk and average daily gain.

3) As best I can tell, none of you have any first-hand knowledge or experience making a living in animal agriculture.

4) You all favor more expensive, less efficient means of livestock production even though you realize they will not allow us to meet the demands of the majority of consumers.

Reciprocally, it would be nice if you understood why we work in a business that is so physically and financially risky:

1) We love it. The animals, the land, the family and the lifestyle is worth all the sacrifice. Obviously, because it is us who are taking care of them, not you.

2) We take seriously our responsibility to meet the public’s demand for the essential commodity – food. Thus, our continuing search for the right balance of the animal’s well-being and her productivity.

3) We do not believe animals have rights, but that man was given dominion over them and is obligated to care for them properly.

In conclusion, you label us as food terrorists, and we call you animal rights lunatics. But I’ll concede we have a few lunatics on our side, too! PD