I’ve been silently fuming over this for the past several days.
Ontario dairy and grain farmer Andrew Campbell is posting a new photo of what happens on the farm every day in 2015 and tagging it with the hashtag #farm365. The first photo of the year featured a newborn heifer that was born at 1:40 a.m. on January 1.
What an outstanding initiative. I was so happy to read about this. And I was even happier when I heard that other farmers are following Andrew’s example and also sharing farm photos and tagging them with #farm365.
Then it took a turn for the worse. Not long after Andrew started posting #farm365 photos, animal rights activists hijacked the #farm365 hashtag and began posting pro-vegan messages.
I find this upsetting and hurtful, and I’m not even a farmer.
I don’t expect everyone to agree on everything – that’s not going to happen. There’s bound to be differences of opinion. And sometimes we have to agree to disagree. But I do expect people to show respect. And that’s certainly not happening here. These activists are being disrespectful of farmers.
I’ve said this many times before on this blog but it’s worth repeating. I don’t care if you choose to be a vegan, vegetarian, organic only, anti-GMO, anti-gluten, anti-pesticides, or whatever else. Here in the First World we have the privilege of having food choices and often end up
arguing about those food choices – many in the developing world do not have these same food luxuries that we so often take for granted here. But what I do care about is respect – in turn, you need to be respectful of my food choices which includes consuming meat, gluten and conventionally produced food (grown with the use of crop protection products). And you also need to be respectful of the farmers who are raising and growing our food.
I realize that we all have an agenda. Andrew has an agenda. The animal rights activists have an agenda. I have an agenda. And we all want to further our agenda. And I’m fine with that. But there’s no reason why that can’t be done in a respectful way.
Unfortunately, there will always be people and groups out there that only show disrespect, and if you’re going to put yourself out there, you have to be willing to take the heat. I encourage Andrew and other farmers to not be deterred by the haters and to continue to spread their positive message about agriculture.
Growing up on the family farm, my brothers and I were taught that you should always be respective of others. Show some respect – these people – farmers – are growing and raising your food.
If you’d like to learn more about farm life from farmers, search the hashtag #farm365 on Twitter and Instagram, and I encourage you to engage in positive conversations with real farmers, not activists. You can also follow Andrew Campbell on Twitter as @FreshAirFarmer. Read Andrew’s highs and lows from week one in this blog post.