Happy Saturday friends. This will be a short post as today is Cal Poly’s Open House! I will be leaving to walk to campus in a little bit (parking is atrocious) to teach prospective students about what the Agricultural Communication department and the Agriculture Communicators of Tomorrow club are all about! However, I would be lax in my ag communication effort if I did not share with you a recent experience I had this morning.

I am in an agriculture policy class this quarter and for an assignment we are supposed to research and monitor a policy in agriculture. One of the top bills on my list is AB 343, a bill sponsored by the California Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) that will help prevent animal cruelty by requiring anyone knowingly documenting evidence of farm animal abuse to provide a copy to law enforcement within 120 hours of documentation. The bill intends to bring a swift end to incidents like those that occurred at cattle harvest facility in Chino in 2008 where non-ambulatory cattle were documented on film being illegally processed and abused. Unfortunately, the undercover investigator waited months to report the abuse to law enforcement resulting in prolonged animal abuse and the largest beef recall in history. (This description was borrowed from the CCA Legislative Bulletin.)

CCA logoJust like this logo, we in animal agriculture need to be transparent about our supreme animal care practices in order to share our story effectively. Stopping animal agriculture activists who are very confused about this concept is step number one.

Currently, this bill was seen by the Agriculture Committee last week, but has been placed on hold so the members can conduct further research.

Similarly, today I saw a Facebook post, written by a friend, about a similar bill in Tennessee. She provided the email address for the Governor of Tennessee, so feeling especially proud to share my logic on this topic, I wrote Governor Haslam an email. Here it is for you to read:

“Greetings from California Governor Haslam,
My name is Malorie Bankhead, and I am an Agricultural Communication senior at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.
As a young person who cares about the future of agriculture in the United States, I am writing you today from California to request that you sign HB 1191/SB1248, The Livestock Cruelty Prevention Act, in order to help make a positive ripple in the livestock industry.
I am mostly involved in the beef cattle community, and as ranchers we take caring for our livestock very seriously. We support this bill, and ones like it across the U.S., because we want folks to know that we are the first responders when it comes to stopping animal cruelty, not enabling it. It is simply ironic that animal rights activists may film animal treatment under cover and edit the footage themselves to make it appear like a bad situation when their mission is to halt animal cruelty too. Does it make sense to you that animal rights activist groups, like PETA, and their supporters, oppose this bill? It certainly doesn’t make any sense to me. We need these people to be stopped and this bill can help.
Please consider livestock ranchers across the United States when choosing what to do with this bill. You can make a ripple that will positively impact the future of American animal agriculture for the rancher, the consumer, and the animals.
Please sign this bill.
Warm wishes,

Malorie Bankhead”

Sometimes issues like these can get us fired up. Of course I want to help stop senseless acts of animal activists. Of course I am as frustrated as any other person that someone would intentionally sneak into a livestock facility to back stab the rancher and edit footage or create animal cruelty in the first place! And I could yell and scream about it, but would that help? Most likely not.

This is a prime example to remember to raise awareness, not your voice.

A person’s credibility goes down the drain when they raise their voice if they are heated about an issue. They are immediately seen as the bad guy–a perception we are trying to reverse here, as farmers and ranchers.

Simple acts, like sending an email can help create change for the better. Even if it is from all the way across the country.

How will you raise awareness and not your voice?

~Mal the Beef Gal