Story By Jordan Dunn, Agriculture Communications Freshman
What would you do for a dollar?
Would you watch a 4-minute video concerning animal cruelty?
Cal Poly students were given this opportunity last Thursday, April 11, as a group of individuals advocating animal rights visited campus. The group represented the Farm Animal Rights Movement (FARM), and they were paying students one dollar to watch their promotional video! The organization encouraged students to watch the video and talk with one of their assessment members. Participants then received a dollar placed inside a farm animal abuse brochure.
Being an avid agriculturist, I fully support animal welfare. However, the video FARM shows to thousands of students – 79,669 students to date – portrays wildly inaccurate representations of the agriculture industries that support our country. The video was directed towards the poultry, dairy, beef and pork industries.
Upon hearing about the van on campus, I felt obligated to speak to the people running it and try to effectively reason with them.
The first associate I talked with was fairly upset that I didn’t agree with her views on the matter. She then rudely dismissed me when I wouldn’t pledge to eat multiple meat-free meals throughout the week. The second person I talked with was much more reasonable, and we discussed the issue for about 15 minutes.
I made it clear to the man that I did not support their goal of ending animal agriculture, and that as an Agricultural Communications major, my goal is to represent agriculture in the positive light it deserves. With this, the man said, “I have talked to a lot of agriculture students like you, and 99 percent of them who watch this video feel strongly towards making a difference.” I walked away after about ten more minutes, simply because our conversation wasn’t gaining any ground. I couldn’t help but think of the movements being spread to represent agriculture positively, and how important they really are.
Movements such as I Love Farmers…They Feed My Soul strive to “…celebrate choice in the marketplace for our food and those who produce it.” Volunteers who advocate for American family farmers and ranchers run the organization. This type of exposure is what I, as an ag communicator, want to spread. I Love Farmers sets up displays on college campuses and talks with students about agriculture, making sure students come away with a sense of how the industry actually operates. College students are tomorrow’s leaders, and by accurately informing them on the ways of agriculture, we will be setting ourselves up for a promising future.
Situations like this are what remind me of why my peers and I have chosen to pursue a future in agricultural communications. I believe we can, and will, provide agriculture with the positive exposure it deserves.
As for my dollar bill, I plan on putting it towards a 100 percent pure-beef burger from In-N-Out!