There is a new battleground in the fight against the anti-animal forces that are bent on destroying the American livestock industry. What makes this significant is that is battleground is not controlled by the mass media, special interest groups, PR companies, HSUS, or PETA. This new battleground is controlled by consumers, individuals from a variety of backgrounds taking on the radical fringe and their efforts to control what we eat. This new battleground is the world of social media: Facebook, Twitter, and the myriad of other web-based networks that link people together in cyberspace and transmit information around the world at the speed of light. Unlike the wacko-friendly mass media, this social media has a decidedly anti-nutcase slant, and these social networkers do not suffer fools for more than a few milliseconds. HSUS, PETA, and some large US corporations are learning some painful lessons in this new social world.

Yellow Tail Wine is a brand owned by Casella Wines, a family owned and operated winery with winemaking links going back six generations. Until last week, they were the Cinderella story of the wine world having gone from a small family owned winery to international distributor of Yellow Tail wine. Then they made a mistake that has certainly cost them their reputation and could end up costing them their business. The Australian-based winery climbed into bed with the Humane Society of the United States. The effort included an agreement for the winery to contribute $100,000 to HSUS. This was not totally out of character for the company which has had strong ties with the vegan community. But the backlash from US consumers was quick and vehement. Within hours of the announcement, Yellow Tail was hit with a blizzard of e-mails and the Yellow Tail fan page on Facebook quickly filled with strong statements of condemnation. Hundreds of Yellow Tail drinkers said they were pouring the wine down the drain and would never buy the product again.

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