A Washington based communications strategist is encouraging livestock producers to harness some of the same strategies used by animal rights activists to get their message out, writes Bruce Cochrane.

Production agriculture has increasingly become the target of animals rights activists who have been extremely successful in bringing about legislative restrictions on livestock producers. Dan Murphy, a communications specialist with Outsource Marketing, told those on hand for the 2009 Manitoba Swine Seminar livestock producers need to take a page out of their book and adopt some of the same game plan these opponents of agriculture are so gifted at using.

Clip-Dan Murphy-Outsource Marketing

They are very skilled at finding the hot buttons to press, whether it's pictures of a poor little puppy abused in some puppy mill or whether it's a baby pig trying to squeeze through the bars of his metal cage.

These groups are very good at knowing how to connect emotionally with things people get upset about and things people care about in terms of animal welfare and in terms of environmental protection.

What I would suggest is that producers find ways to take some of these issues that matter to people, whether it's the environment, whether it's food safety, whether it's economic viability for the rural parts of this country and the States as well and find ways to talk about how their business contributes in a positive way to those issues that people are concerned about.

You care about the environment, you need to understand how livestock producers can be stewards not just of the animals but of the land, the water shed, the soil, things that ultimately contribute to a positive impact on the environment that the average consumer feels very strongly about.


Murphy stresses the livestock industry needs to connect with the public on an emotional level and then talk about the science and the research.

He says, until you make that emotional connection, the science wont make a difference.