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Last but not least, there is no other topic that is tougher to discuss over dinner with a bunch of “mommy bloggers” than cattle slaughter. It’s really difficult to squeeze in polite conversation about exsanguination and hide removal between discussion of the best preschools and potty-training methods. There are most certainly those who want to know all the gory details and see the whole slaughter process, from the knock box to the cardboard box, but I would venture a guess that the folks in that crowd are minimal.
The Glass Walls Project by Temple Grandin has been invaluable for those shoppers who want to see the process but aren’t able to physically visit a processing plant. However, even the videos have disclaimers and require that viewers acknowledge the footage could be “inappropriate for some users.”
In my opinion, the video series is the absolute best for explaining slaughter because only those people who really desire to see the process are exposed. It’s not as if the videos are playing on loop next to the butcher counter for all to see while they wait for their lunchmeat to be sliced. Oversharing is a situation that is encountered all too often in the agriculture industry.
As a disclaimer, and to avoid being burned at the stake, I am not calling for ending these practices nor for concealing them, but these are not easy topics to crack open in the meat section of the Price Chopper. I think we need to critically evaluate our audiences before we speak at public events, blog or share our operation’s processes online.
As an advocate for the agriculture industry, I have been taught, and trained several hundreds more, that we should be transparent about the ins and outs of how we raise and produce beef. Yet at what point should we sacrifice transparency for the sake of preserving demand? Are grocery shoppers really asking for all the “gross” details or do they merely want to know that their food is humanely raised, safe and healthy? My gut reaction is the latter.
So, do we forge ahead proudly professing all of our icky details, or keep those cards close to our chest and only reveal them when politely, and forcefully, asked? I know how I’ll be proceeding.
Brandi Buzzard Frobose is a rancher, ranch wife, mama, agriculture advocate, calf roper and the director of communications for the Red Angus Association of America. You can read more of her work at BuzzardsBeat.com or follow her online on Facebook or Instagram.
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