A year ago, Indiana agriculture was fighting hard in the Indiana General Assembly against animal rights legislation backed by the Humane Society of the United States. This year, Hoosier Agriculture got its own version of animal care legislation passed with hardly a dissenting voice. This is another sign that farm interests are getting better at dealing with radical animal activists.

Dr. Wes Jamison, a nationally recognized expert on the animal rights movement, told HAT that agriculture is doing a better job of protecting itself against these groups who want to do away with livestock farming, “The success of Proposition 2 in California served as a clarion call for animal agriculture. Today agriculture is much more engaged and involved in this issue.” But awareness is only the beginning, stressed Jamison, “The question now is where do we go from here?” He said there still remains some serious differences within agriculture on this question.

Jamison, assistant professor of communications at Palm Beach Atlantic University, says the real battle is for the hearts and minds of the consumer, “HSUS has been successful at making the consumer feel bad about their animal consumptive choices.” He said agriculture must make consumers feel good about their decision to eat meat. He said the message must be honest, accurate, and consistent in order to be effective.

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