Animal Agriculture Alliance Applauds Cargill for Opening Doors to Oprah
February 1, 2011 - The Animal Agriculture Alliance applauds Cargill Meat Solutions for helping consumers understand how food makes it from farm to fork by opening up its facilities to a camera crew from The Oprah Show. The company's Fort Morgan plant manager, Nicole Johnson-Hoffman, represented Cargill, and the entire animal agriculture industry well during the February 1 segment, guiding reporter Lisa Ling through the steps of beef processing- from cow to hamburger. Johnson-Hoffman's obvious respect for the animals that enter her facility, as well as her commitment to food quality and safety, demonstrates the industry's overall dedication to excellence.
Oprah and many of her staff members attempted a week-long vegan diet in preparation for today's show. The mixed results they experienced- including wide variations in weight loss and gain- show the decision to observe an animal-free diet should not be taken lightly. Ninety-seven percent of Americans enjoy meat, milk and eggs, and the Alliance believes consumers should have the right to decide what is best for them- because what's right for one family may not be right for another.
Another guest on the program, vegan author Kathy Freston, unfortunately attempted to oversimplify the decision to eliminate animal products from the diet, and inferred that eating "fast-food" was akin to alcoholism. The Alliance feels it's important to instead remember the adage of "all things in moderation" and recommends consulting a nutritionist for dietary guidance.
The Alliance was pleased when Oprah pointed out to Freston that animals are not made to suffer on today's farms and in processing facilities. Every segment of the animal agriculture industry has implemented species-specific animal welfare guidelines to ensure top-quality care.
Food industry critic, Michael Pollan also disagreed with many of Freston's statements about meat production. He was certainly correct when he told viewers that "there is nothing evil about meat", but he was wrong in suggesting that animal rights activists have been the driving force behind industry improvements. Activists do not deserve the credit for the advancements the agriculture industry has implemented. Farmers, ranchers, processors and retailers are continually evolving to meet the changing needs of consumers while ensuring animal well-being and food safety.
The Alliance believes that today's discussion will help consumers feel even more confident in the way their food is produced and hopes the industry will continue to seek opportunities to tell its story.
About the Alliance:
The Animal Agriculture Alliance, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, is a broad-based coalition of individual farmers, ranchers, producer organizations, suppliers, packer-processors, scientists, veterinarians and retailers. The Alliance's mission is to communicate the importance of animal agriculture to our nation's economy, productivity, vitality and security. The Alliance shows how animal well-being is central to producing safe, high-quality, affordable food and other products essential to our daily lives.