Let’s call a spade a spade: activist

group agenda is radical, irrational

 

Nov. 30, 2017

 

Let’s call a spade a spade.

Direct Action Everywhere (DxE), the animal rights group out of Berkeley, Calif. that claims to have conducted a nine-month investigation of a Moroni turkey farm, has a radical and irrational agenda.

It wants everybody, worldwide, to stop eating meat and poultry. The obvious corollary is that it wants all farms and ranches producing livestock and poultry to go out of business.

The group’s video, photos and picture of a Norbest inspection report, as well as its disruption of a turkey pardoning event at the Utah State Capitol, should be considered in the context of that agenda.

In other words, the group’s supposed expose of the Norbest-affiliated turkey farm should be taken with a grain of salt.

Humane treatment of animals is a critical issue. Many groups and individuals, such as the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and locally, the Utah Humane Society, Best Friends and various rescue organizations, make meaningful contributions to animal welfare by identifying and shutting down puppy mills and pet hoarders, rescuing neglected and abused animals, helping with spaying and neutering of pets, and facilitating pet adoptions.

Animal welfare groups have helped get tougher laws against animal abuse passed through the Utah Legislature. Under the laws, people can go to jail or prison for callous actions, such as shooting and killing a neighbor’s pet. We support those laws.

In agriculture, treatment of livestock and poultry, including humane slaughter of animals, is governed by national and state government standards. USDA and the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food are charged with enforcing the standards.

To our knowledge, Norbest, and its predecessor company, Moroni Feed, have typically exceeded the standards.

It is in Norbest’s and the turkey growers’ interests to create optimum conditions for the health of their turkeys. We believe 99 percent of the time, they do just that.

Apparently, the grower who was the target of the DxE investigation was not in compliance with all Norbest protocols. But Norbest claims it was already on top of the problem. The company says it identified violations in its own routine inspection, ordered the grower to correct the problems, and ended up confiscating the grower’s turkeys—all before the DxE report was released.

Even if there were problems in the grower’s operation, may we suggest he deserves assistance and support, not public criticism, from Norbest, fellow growers and the public.

There’s nothing more frightening for a turkey grower than a disease getting into one of his sheds. The turkey business is marginal at best. A shed being wiped out can cost a grower $100,000 or more. One can understand the temptation to use antibiotics, even though Norbest policy does not permit them.

In an interview with one of the DxE activists, the Messenger asked how the group would propose to replace the jobs and economic benefits of the turkey industry in Sanpete County if Norbest were shut down.

His response speaks for itself. He said any money Norbest receives from government subsidization should be redirected to social programs and welfare payments for everyone in the county working in the industry.

According to meat industry statistics, Americans consumed 214 pounds of meat and poultry per capita in 2016.

Does DxE have a plan to replace that protein source with vegetables? We doubt it.

It appears the group’s only strategy is publicity seeking via disruptive and in some cases illegal actions, such as sneaking around a turkey farm to shoot videotape, stealing piglets from a hog farm, and horning in on a governor’s talk to school children.

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