When Animal Activists Strike: Stay Grounded in Your Convictions

There’s nothing like waking up in the morning to a barrage of tweets calling you a POS. (Honestly, I had to think twice on that one because it’s not an acronym we use at our house.)

After sharing the story about NPPC’s new digital ad campaign “Pork: You can’t make it from plants unless you feed them to a pig first” promoting pork and proper labeling, some activists began retweeting my post and claiming I love animal abuse.

Oh, how wrong they are! And yes, it riled my blood a bit. I’ve loved animals since I can remember. I grew up on a small Iowa diversified farm where I learned about the importance of caring for animals, understanding their role in the food chain and respecting their contribution to the world.

So, when someone calls me a POS and says I love animal abuse, I take offense to that naturally. 

Thankfully, I had a great chat at the Iowa Pork Congress with Andy Curliss, CEO of North Carolina Pork Council, about how we should respond to misinformation and attacks on animal agriculture.

We both agreed that one of the most frustrating things about activist attacks is that a lot of the attacks are misinformed. 

“It's misinformation. It's disinformation. Intentional distortion, even,” Curliss said. “And when you see that, it can be very easy to get angry, to get upset, and to just really want to lash out.”

His message to farmers and supporters of agriculture in that moment? 

“Remember, we’re the good guys. We have to behave like the good guys and ladies,” Curliss said. “And it's important that we deal with those types of attacks dispassionately, factually.” 

But Curliss added that we shouldn’t be afraid of showing emotion in a positive way, though. 

In North Carolina, he’s seen tremendous support for the pork industry.  

“There is great support for what we do and there is great understanding for what we do. And just because you see the attacks and you know that they're coming, it doesn't always mean that the general public adopts it word for word,” he said.

Like a wise mentor once told me, we have to use our emotions in an effective way. It’s ok to have deep conviction. It’s ok to feel passion. It’s even ok to be angry. But we have to stay positive.

I know I can’t control how other people feel about the issues. But I can make sure I don’t let it get me down and that I stay proactive in how I continue to share the truth. 

Remember, we’re the good guys.

Check out my quick interview with Andy Curliss below.


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