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Muck Boots Fires Up Aggies On Facebook

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Muck Boots posted on Facebook about a fundraiser to benefit the Humane Society of the United States, and the agricultural industry responded. Was it a win for farmers and ranchers?

Muck Boots apparently didn’t expect the online media frenzy from animal agriculture that followed a recent post on the company’s Facebook page. The company posted about how co-workers of a recently deceased employee had raised $2,000 in memorial money for the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).

The post was later removed, and still later reposted with the HSUS link replaced by that of a local animal shelter. As most regular readers of this blog know, HSUS is a national organization with an annual budget of more than $100 million, of which less than 1% goes to funding animal shelters. Thus, many “aggie” followers of Muck Boots were left questioning whether the company and its employees had really donated to HSUS, misstated their intention, or did donate to HSUS unaware that the radical animal rights group is a much different entity than local pet shelters.

After the fury erupted, Muck Boots sought to clarify the situation by posting a company statement (see it below) that HSUS is not the intended beneficiary of the donation but a local shelter. So the question is, did agriculture over-react?

For the full story, you can read these excellent blog posts from these agricultural advocates:

1. “Muck Boots Sleeps While Social Media Lights Up Over HSUS Fundraiser | #WhatTheMuck” by Ryan Goodman for the Agriculture Proud blog. 

2. “Muck Boot Company Wading With HSUS?” by Lucas Sjostrom for Dairy Herd Management

3. “I’d Rather Farm Barefoot. #WhatTheMuck!?!” by Carrie Mess for the Dairy Carrie blog.

Each of these above bloggers reminded folks to respectfully tell Muck Boots how they feel about HSUS. They quickly called to action their followers, and the industry responded. It’s great to see these grassroots efforts spreading the word about HSUS.

Muck Boots later responded with this statement:

“We would like to respond to our loyal customers and provide additional information about recent posts on social media regarding a monetary donation to a local animal care organization. Our post inaccurately stated that a donation was made to the HSUS. Moreover, the post itself was inappropriate under the circumstances.

“Family members of an employee who recently passed away requested that, in lieu of flowers, co-workers donate funds to the Humane Association of Northwestern Rhode Island, a local association founded in 1978 to solve community issues primarily related to stray cats. They are not affiliated with HSUS as the posts incorrectly stated.

“The money is not a corporate donation, but a collection of personal contributions from employees with the intent of remembering a beloved co-worker. While our intentions were good, the use of corporate social channels under these circumstances was inappropriate.

“Muck Boots has a heritage of respect for the outdoors and for nature. We apologize for the anger and confusion the posts have caused and have removed them from our social channels.”

However, some respondents to the original Muck Boots post were much more heated. There is a fine line between positive advocacy on behalf of agriculture and angrily storming the castle with pitchforks and torches. Some responses to the original Muck Boots Facebook post called for a boycott and the burning of Muck Boots products. Obviously, these folks had the best of intentions, but given the nature of the contribution as a memorial to a deceased employee, such angry words were over the top. We must always protest respectfully and be sure to learn all the facts before we act.

Unfortunately, the local shelter which Muck Boots has claimed to have donated to has denied receiving any contributions from the company's employees, which begs the question, did the money really go to HSUS, or has the donation just been delayed? Either way, some important conversations have been happening online, and I guarantee the folks at Muck Boots are learning a little bit more about their customer base and where their loyalties lie.

Overall, I think this was a win for farmers, ranchers, hunters, fisherman and outdoor enthusiasts who buy Muck Boots. However, let’s also use this episode as a reminder of proper online conduct. You catch a lot more flies with honey than vinegar; if we are genuine in our conversations online, I think our consumers will like the farmers and ranchers they meet who are producing their food.

The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of Beefmagazine.com or the Penton Farm Progress Group.

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Discuss this Blog Entry 15

Ryan Goodman (not verified)
on Aug 6, 2014

Thanks for the inclusion Amanda. HANRI has since updated their status later on Tuesday to confirm that Muck Boots will be sending in a donation. However, a portion of their update raised questions from several online users about their stance on issues that may be very similar to those of HSUS.

TJK (not verified)
on Aug 6, 2014

Until this situation is clarified, I will not be purchasing Muck boots again. If they did donate to HSUS, I will never purchase anything from them. I like the product and have used them on my farm, but given the negative work of HSUS against Aggriculture and Hunting, I would never do anything to support them or any of their supporters.
I believe that letting my shopping do my talking as, I'm sure, most of the other ag- folks would do, will speak volumes without the need for threats.
Muck Boots and the local HANR need to clarify this- I know I'll be watching and not purchasing Muck products until it is!

HD (not verified)
on Aug 6, 2014

I don’t think Aggies overreacted at all. This is how we share our opinions and make our sentiments known.

Ryan Goodman (not verified)
on Aug 6, 2014

Actually, I think several folks were unnecessarily rude and disrespectful in their comments toward Muck Boots. Sure we want to voice our opinion and opposition toward HSUS and want to ask that discrepancies be cleared up, but there is a more respectful way to do so. Bashing a company by stating you're going to throw away or burn their product looks juvenile and does nothing to actively correct the issue.

R. Moores (not verified)
on Aug 6, 2014

Thanks for weighing in on this. I pains me To see folks flying off the handle, but on the other hand the reaction to this is bound to get Muck Boot Company's attention and quickly. I hope to see a more clear response from them and very soon, because if they don't publicly and adamantly denounce the HSUS and take a corporately official stance on the side of ranchers, farmers, and hunters they are going to lose a crippling amount of business. If they really are donors to HSUS, then may they go belly up. Anyone with any ties to the outdoor world should know by now what HSUS is.

Jeff Semler (not verified)
on Aug 6, 2014

We have an opportunity to speak without words, what if everyone who was upset with Muck Boots sent HANRI $10. Isn't that better than vitriolic posts?

janie morgan (not verified)
on Aug 6, 2014

Usually where there is smoke, there is fire. I cannot see any employee to have the ability to do the contributions without corporation knowing about it and saying yes or no. You cannot use a name and give donations to any business without a understanding from the head office. Any way, this is the way we run our business. Employees can get the business in trouble plus there selves for such acts. Do a paper trail and see where it leads.

on Aug 6, 2014

The Muck explanation seems to be a bit mucky to me!

Jerry (not verified)
on Aug 6, 2014

And HANRI has said they support HSUS and all its efforts so there is no difference between the two. Sorry Muck Boots but you have decided to go against the principles of those who bought your products, Now that you realize your mistake you keep digging your self a deeper hole by trying to cover it up and hoping your loyal customers are to dumb to understand. Best bet is to just let it die.

JohnN (not verified)
on Aug 6, 2014

I fail to see an issue here. If a freind of mine passes and asks that he/she is remebered by a monatary donation to an organization I disagree with, I will write the check and hope that someone would do the same for me. The donation is not so you can feel good about yourself, it is about remembering and honoring your friend. Here is a company honoring a co-worker which is not a typical act these days, and the customers are mad??? I don't understand that at all... Muck boots I strongly disagree with the Humane society but, give you a major thumbs up for not forgetting the little guys that work for you!

Christie (not verified)
on Aug 6, 2014

JohnN,

You have the most sensible comment I have read thus far. Bravo!!!!

I hope the H $ U $ fizzles out and dies a slow agonizing death, unfortunately this may not ever happen. And believe it or not all the negative attention they get actually helps their radical agenda. :/

Scott Cupps (not verified)
on Aug 7, 2014

YOU FOOL!!!.... thats an elaborate made up story... no one died .... they claimed they lost one of their team behind camo boots at their fundraiser for HSUS.... and then made that up to try to cover it up

on Aug 11, 2014

Amanda you say we as outdoorsmen , farmers ad ranchers over reacted . I think not it just shows how passionately we feel about the h$u$ . it is in comparison I think as to how the beef industry felt about OPRA and the hamburger scandal .

on Aug 11, 2014

Thank you, Amanda. Yes, overall it was a win. Whatever minion in the organization that orchestrated the event has probably been chastised by the big wigs of the company, hence teaching a lesson to all.
I think that for the greatest part, the ag community responded in the best way. Companies do not listen unless they fear for their bottom line. In a free market economy, that is our best voice.
I do take great exception with their last apology. "If I have offended" is a wormy way out of a real apology.....it's a tap dance devised to avoid real acceptance of guilt. Real apologies are: I did it. I was wrong. I am sorry. I will not do it again.

bekindtoGodscreatures (not verified)
on Aug 16, 2014

confused - so confused, can't stand animals being hurt, and for what?

To all who seem to be in defense of acts which hurt innocents - 'if we could live happy and healthy lives without hurting others... why wouldn't we?'

don't want to engage in debate with this comment because i just don't have the time - and the answer does not come from me telling you anything - you know it already, so i ask the question for all to ask themselves in those still quiet moments, maybe when you picture the face of an animal in terror, fighting to not be killed, fighting to live peacefully without being hurt...

the world is changing to become kinder to all creatures great and small -- hunters, farmers... are you all against this? appears so but I think deep inside in your heart, you know differently and with the courage of a hero can choose differently. thank God there are groups like HSUS which fight to protect the innocent creatures great and small. so many people are waking up to this -- soon Muck boots you will be selling more boots to people who love and care for animals. world IS going vegan one step at a time.

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BEEF Daily Blog is produced by rancher Amanda Radke, one of the U.S. beef industry’s top social media “agvocates.”

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Amanda Radke

A fifth-generation rancher from Mitchell, SD, Amanda grew up on a purebred Limousin cattle operation in which she and husband Tyler are active. She graduated with a degree in agriculture journalism...

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