Smithfield: Animal activists behaving like Antifa

Animal rights activist behaviors are becoming increasingly aggressive, so it is imperative to counter those actions with transparency.

The chief sustainability officer (CSO) of Smithfield Foods said animal rights activists are becoming more and more aggressive, comparing their extremist actions to those of Antifa.

Smithfield CSO Stewart Leeth, speaking during the Animal Agriculture Alliance pre-conference webinar, Expanding the Base: What Companies and Organizations are Doing to Promote and Protect Animal Ag, stressed a message of communicating clearly and truthfully about what is being done on U.S. farms, to counter inaccurate messages spread by those who are against farm animal production.

“I think you’re seeing animal activists becoming more and more aggressive. They’re undertaking Antifa-like activities -- raiding farms, breaching biosecurity and endangering herds of animals. And that’s trouble,” said Leeth.

These actions are often taken as a means to portray the agrifood industry as irresponsible in their treatment of animals or unfriendly to the environment. And while people who work in the industry know the image activists are trying to portray isn’t realistic, other people with less knowledge of agriculture may not understand that. Being open about what happens on a meat and poultry production or processing operation is the best way to clear up misinformation, Leeth said.

And while it may seem like doing so will take up a lot of time in an already busy work week, Leeth stresses it must be a priority.

“Every day, we think about our companies and how we put safe and affordable food on the table, how to treat and care for animals on farms, how to further minimize the environmental impacts and how to keep our employees safe. That’s what we do every day,” said Leeth.

“But there is a crowd out there and their voices are loud. They criticize agriculture. They want to disrupt and undermine the trust in the food system. Those forces are out there, and I think the challenge out there, adding to your list of what you do every day is to tell your story and be out there and communicate about the truth about American Agriculture.”

Par Roy Graber (03/05/2021)

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