Honestly. Sometimes I just want to watch House Hunters on HGTV and not worry about the demise of critical thinking in this world.
But no, invariably something happens to mess up the best of plans.
Like this USA Today opinion piece that was posted last night: “Know how that chicken got to your table? Our view”.
After reading it and letting my blood pressure go through the roof, I realized it was a complete regurgitation of Mercy for Animals’ talking points. Mercy for Animals being an animal activist group that has the sole purpose of eliminating meat from our diets. All meat. From EVERYONE’s diets. Because apparently they know what’s best for all of us.
That’s so completely objective of you, USA Today.
Okay, yes, I get the concept of an opinion piece – and certainly USA Today’s writers are entitled to their opinions. But they couldn’t even fork over the time or the money to make their very own graphic on this. Instead, they used a Mercy for Animals graphic that encourages people to ”take action”, “choose veg”, and “donate.”
My journalism professors at the University of Minnesota would be shaking their heads right now. I’m certainly shaking my head right now. Seriously?
Not to mention the fact that the writers at USA Today didn’t appear to do one iota of research or fact-checking when it comes to the Humane Slaughter Act, which is mentioned prominently in the editorial. They completely skewed the facts that poultry is actually covered by the Poultry Products Inspection Act, which most certainly monitors humane bird care at processing plants in addition to ensuring food safety.
It certainly doesn’t appear to me that the USA Today talked with any poultry companies or visited a chicken farm or processing company prior to writing this opinion piece. They did, at least, allow a rebuttal from the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association, which reminded readers that “By law, the Agriculture Department provides around-the-clock, on-site inspectors who can take enforcement action for mistreatment if spotted.”
And, as someone who has worked in the poultry industry for 20 years, I can assure you that’s the truth.
Listen, I’m not here to tell you to eat more poultry – well, okay, that’s not true. I would actually like it very much if you did eat more poultry. But on the flip side, if you want to be a vegan, that’s completely your choice and your business. I am a proponent of food choices for all in this country.
What worries me is a newspaper the size and caliber of USA Today can blatantly publish animal activist propaganda, without any regard for seeking out background information for making their own informed opinions. And I worry that too many people will take what they read as absolute truth.
In this case, it’s not the truth.
Want to know how that chicken got to your table? Don’t ask USA Today – ask a farmer or someone who actually works in a chicken processing plant. That would be a very good first step.