I reckon there is no need to get frustrated because it is just the way of the world today—we live in a visual society. I have been doing radio for 20 years now and I think that we can educate individuals with audio, but it is becoming glaringly apparent that if you want to have a real impact you must accompany your message with at least pictures and, better yet, video.
I did not just say radio has no future; what I said is that there are clearly limitations in understanding if folks cannot visualize the subject matter. Of course, at some level I am including the Fair Oaks Dairy video and the response that surfaced as a result of it.
The owner of Fair Oaks, Mike McCloskey, has honestly done the poorest job of making his point. If the three responsible individuals (who now have criminal charges against them but can’t be found) were actually paid to “act” on camera, he needs to come right out and say that. He cannot sound like he is reading talking points written for him by the retailers of the dairy he works most closely with. He indicates that it is a time of greater transparency and we need to put every employee under a camera all day. Well, then be transparent with the public about what actually happened and until you do that, I don’t think others should try to carry your water.
I do believe it should accomplish a couple of things. First, we should make hay while the sun is shining on veal and dairy consumption. Veal is the result of making a nutrient-dense, nutritional food from something that is otherwise wasted. The practice adds value to male dairy calves and upcycles a by-product from cheese manufacturing.
Next, current research indicates that 80 percent or more of our teenage girls are calcium deficient. Let’s use this opportunity of exposure to explain the importance of dairy in a healthy diet. Let’s remind them that bone health and calcium play a major role in maintaining a healthy weight. Let’s spend more time talking about how whole milk should be consumed daily as it creates satiety and reduces cravings because your body is nourished. My plan is to continue to use the negative images, regardless of how they got here, as a window to expose the real reason we have dairy cows to begin with.
If it were not for a retired law enforcement official in Indiana by the name of John Bolin, I and most other folks would not even know the travesties on animals that were taking place at the hands of “rescuers.” Specifically, I am talking about a wealthy animal rights organization that killed 26 dogs during transport from Mississippi to Wisconsin. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which brags about and collects millions of dollars each year under the guise of helping animals, put in place some cost cutting measures and 26 dogs died of heat stroke. There was no viral video, no consumer outrage and only one mention on media other than my work.
ASPCA goes around the country looking for animal owners who they feel need to be prosecuted for animal neglect. In fact, they have done a tremendous amount of education for animal owners on how to protect your dogs in the severe heat. I assure you that they have pressed numerous officials for criminal charges against neglectful owners who lost dogs in vehicles. Yet they killed 26 dogs and, mark my words, they will find a way to turn it into a fundraising tool.
So back to where I started; I fully recognize that we are in a very visual society and that people believe what they see and rarely ask if it is credible. The truth of the matter is that what we don’t see is actually creating more harm but most don’t care because they are unaware. And the most important point to be made in this whole message is that the very organization that made the veal calf video and waited nine months to release it, doesn’t care one ounce about the animals in the video. Their single focus is on harvesting revenue from misguided animal lovers that only see them fighting to stop animal abuse. That, my friends, is the real crime that has been committed and we need to provide an even better visual to get the real story out there.
Editor’s note: Trent Loos is a sixth generation United States farmer, host of the daily radio show, Loos Tales, and founder of Faces of Agriculture, a non-profit organization putting the human element back into the production of food. Get more information at www.LoosTales.com, or email Trent at firstname.lastname@example.org.