Thursday, May 28, 2009

Telling Our Story Online

Animal Abuse Pictures Easy to Find on Internet
Pictures of pigs treated right tougher to find.
By: Tom Bechman
Published: May 26, 2009

My son told me a disturbing story the other day, not long before he graduated form our local high school here near Franklin. It seems that students were doing projects where they were asked to take one side or the other on the animal welfare debate, either that groups like PETA have a point, or that they don't, and farmers treat animals humanely. What disturbed him and me both was that one team started out to take the side that animals aren't abused. In the end , they decided to make their presentation on how animals are abused.

What swung their decision? It wasn't because of what they truly believe. At least one is a farm girl, showing purebred cattle, and to her credit, made it through the project unscathed in her belief that farmers and true cattlemen who raise and show animals don't abuse them. But the problem they encountered was that when they Googled anything they could think of that should have led them to animals being treated properly in search engines on the internet, they got very little. However, type 'animal abuse' in the Google site and they discovered all sorts of images of grotesque treatment of animals, plus all kinds of facts, popped up form a plethora of sources.

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This is very telling of the situation we as farmers and ranchers face in trying to educate the public about how we raise livestock. People that know nothing of the subject will usually turn to the internet, and with the entering of a couple choice keywords, they will have near limitless amounts of information. The problem is that most of it won’t be true. Not only that, but these lies are then used as leverage against us. In order to solve this problem we need to have a bigger presence on the web and at social networking site shouting the truth as loudly as possible.

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