We Need to Reach Consumers Now!

August 31, 2010 at 11:22 am Leave a comment

Via Cattle Network – Animal agriculture is under attack from many directions which impacts consumers every day in our 24/7 news frenzy. Situations like the current Salmonella in eggs from two Iowa egg companies are not helping to instill confidence in our food safety. And while beef, pork and dairy producers may be secretly breathing a sigh of relief that it’s the chicken folks who are taking it in the shorts right now, this kind of thing hurts all of us.

The beef industry needs to step it up and fast. These types of events just solidify in consumers’ minds that large livestock operations — whether they be feedlots, hog operations or poultry – are “factory farms” which produce unsafe food and have poor animal welfare. A recent Beef Checkoff-funded consumer tracking study in July found that the percentage of consumers who are familiar with the term “factory farming” increased from 49% to 64% in the last two years, though the number of consumers who associate cattle with factory farming has remained fairly stable since 2008. The study also found that more than half of consumers believe the beef they buy at the supermarket is from animals raised in factory farms. Of concern, more than half of these consumers worry about the safety of the beef they buy.

Checkoff studies have found that the best messages about cattle production have come from cattle producers themselves. A Beef Checkoff press release says the industry seems to be operating based on bad news, misperceptions, misinformation and fear of the unknown, which creates consumer guilt over buying beef. According to past checkoff studies, the most compelling animal welfare support statement to combat those “factory farming” accusations is, “doing the right thing for and by animals” which can help alleviate a tremendous guilt burden.

I just returned from the American Association of Bovine Practitioners meeting in Albuquerque. While picking up our rental car at the airport, the young man at the counter asked us questions about the beef industry. He was a rarity – he asked intelligent questions with no previous bias – he was a blank slate and was just looking for real information. He seemed very satisfied with the information I gave him on food safety, public lands grazing and cows on pasture (thank you Master’s of Beef Advocacy course!).

Unfortunately, most consumers we visit with have already heard misinformation about our industries, but we’ve got to reach them one at a time – all of us, whether we are producers, veterinarians, media or affiliated industries.

See Consumer Perceptions on the Beef Checkoff website for more about their consumer study. See a checkoff-funded flip book for helpful tips on how to tell your story, or request your free copy by e-mailing Melissa Slagle.

Geni Wren
Editor, Bovine Veterinarian Magazine


Entry filed under: Featured Articles. Tags: , , , , , , .

Egg crisis piques interest in food-safety bil From Michele Payn-Knoper: The Sin of Animal Agriculture

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 16 other followers

Connect with us!

Watch us on YouTube!Connect with us on Twitter!Find us on Facebook!

Twitter Feed

Past posts

August 2010
« Jul   Sep »

%d bloggers like this: