May 15, 2009
The eighth annual Animal Agriculture Alliance (AAA) Stakeholders Summit, themed "Politics, Activism and Religion: Influencing the Debate on Animal Welfare in America", was held May 12-13, 2009, in Arlington, Virginia. It included about 170 mid- and high-level food chain participants from around the globe.
"Beware of today's conflict industry," warned Bruce Vincent, a third generation logger from Montana and executive director of Provider Pals. "Groups involved in this industry generate cash by marketing fear."
Vincent warned the participants of the false choices that activist groups in the conflict industry want to force the public to make, especially on animal welfare and the environment.
But Vincent didn't just provide warnings, he provided answers. He identified ignorance as the top enemy of rural America. He indicated that the urban public's ignorance of how rural America works is part of the problem but identified rural America's ignorance of urban America, and how to effectively communicate with that audience, as a key contributor to a lack of understanding.
"Correcting this lack of knowledge, on both sides, will be a challenge," said Vincent, "But it also provides a remarkable opportunity to provide for, and enhance, rural America."
Wes Jamison, Ph.D., an ordained Baptist minister and associate professor of communications at Palm Beach Atlantic University said, "Animal rights activists are using religious messages to recruit a segment of the millennial generation that has little doctrinal anchor in order to advance their vegetarian agenda."
Jamison explained that two major factors are driving animal rights groups' attempts to engage people of faith. The first is that people motivated by religion tend to give generously, which is an important factor to the $400 million a year animal rights industry. The second reason is that people motivated by religious zeal tend to have sustained intensity over time. This is a critical feature lacking from the current animal rights movement, since many vegans and vegetarians tend to eventually return to an omnivorous diet.
The mission of AAA is to communicate the important role of animal agriculture to our nation's economy, productivity, vitality, security and that animal well-being is central to producing safe, high-quality, affordable food and other products essential to our daily lives.
Reprinted from AAA Press Releases