In this time of great uncertainty we would like to thank the farmers, ranchers, packers, processors, restaurants, retailers and everyone in the agriculture and food communities – all components of the critical infrastructure within the Food and Agriculture Sector – for keeping the supply chain flowing and shelves stocked with safe, nutritious food. We know our restaurant partners are hurting during this time and encourage people to show their support by taking advantage of carry-out and delivery options. We look forward to finding new ways to connect with our members and supporters and continue our work to bridge the communication gap between farm and fork during these confusing times.
COVID-19 has impacted everyone and every industry, including animal agriculture. We are proud to serve members who play such an essential role in the food supply chain and it has been heartwarming seeing our members step up to help their communities. We are proud of the amazing feats so many of our members have made supporting their local communities during this challenging time, such as Alltech using its brewery to make and distribute hand sanitizer in Lexington for free and Tyson Foods donating $11 million of products and investing in the communities in which it operates. Dairy Management Inc. has launched the “For Schools’ Sake: Help Us Feed Our Nation’s Kids” campaign to promote the GENYOUth COVID-19 Emergency School Nutrition Fund, which is providing grants to schools to purchase supplies for meal distribution and delivery. There are so many other truly heartwarming stories of Alliance members helping during this unprecedented time, which makes all of us at the Alliance so appreciative of working on behalf of the animal agriculture community.
From farmers and ranchers to processing plant employees to restaurant/retail/foodservice staff, the food industry is full of heroes who are continuing to work diligently to feed families in the U.S. and around the world. Despite ongoing challenges, meat and poultry companies are doing everything they can to keep their employees safe and keep products on the shelves – in that order. The animal agriculture community has a long history of adapting to difficult situations and meeting changing demand and we’re confident it will continue to rise to today’s ever-evolving challenges.
While we are heartened by the ways the animal agriculture community and other frontline workers are rising to the challenge of responding to this ongoing crisis, we are dismayed by attempts from activist groups to take advantage of the situation. Despite claims from activist groups, the current COVID-19 pandemic has nothing to do with animal agriculture. Taking advantage of people when they are most vulnerable is a disgrace, but that’s just what animal rights activists are doing during this COVID-19 pandemic. Groups including Direct Action Everywhere, The Save Movement, Mercy for Animals, Farm Sanctuary and PETA are using social media and op-eds to claim that animal agriculture is to blame for COVID-19 and will be the cause of future pandemics. However, experts in epidemiology, zoonotic diseases and food safety disagree.
It is shameful that activist organizations would try to take advantage of current circumstances to promote their own agenda. Animal rights activist organizations will never miss an opportunity to kick animal agriculture when it is down. In addition to groups trying to connect the current pandemic to animal agriculture, we’re also seeing activists taking advantage of labor shortages to attempt to get hired “undercover” on farms and in plants and attacking farmers on social media. The Alliance encourages all farms and plants to be on high alert for activist groups trying to find ways to benefit from the current situation. Careful hiring procedures, a process for verifying the identity of any visitors and other security measures (gates, locks, lighting) should be implemented and constantly followed.
The Animal Agriculture Alliance is extremely thankful for the efforts of farmers and ranchers, processing plant employees, truckers, grocery store workers, restaurant staff and everyone else in the food chain for their efforts to keep the supply chain flowing. Likewise, we are thankful for the many food banks who are working diligently to ensure the families in need also have access nutritional protein. If there are any ways we can support or assist you in this challenging time, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information and resources, please review the links below from the Alliance and some of our members.
- Don’t be fooled by animal rights groups: COVID-19 has nothing to do with animal agriculture https://medium.com/@kayjohnsonsmith/dont-be-fooled-by-animal-rights-groups-covid-19-has-nothing-to-do-with-animal-agriculture-64ec6ee7dac0
- Setting the record straight: animal ag has nothing to do with COVID-19 https://www.porkbusiness.com/article/setting-record-straight-animal-ag-has-nothing-do-covid-19
- Agriculture isn’t to blame for coronavirus outbreak https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/opinion/columnists/2020/04/23/animal-agriculture-and-coronavirus-cafos/3004538001/
- National Chicken Council: Our #1 priority: keeping chicken company employees safe & healthy during COVID-19 https://www.chickencheck.in/blog/chicken-company-employee-safety-covid-19/
- United Egg Producers statement: https://unitedegg.com/a-message-from-uep-farmer-members/
- National Pork Board resources for pork producers: https://www.pork.org/public-health/what-you-need-to-know-about-covid-19/
- National Cattlemen’s Beef Association coronavirus information: https://www.ncba.org/coronavirus.aspx
- North American Meat Institute coronavirus updates: https://www.meatinstitute.org/index.php?ht=d/sp/i/164447/pid/164447
- American Farm Bureau Federation: impact of COVID-19 on agriculture https://www.fb.org/land/impact-covid19-on-ag
- Animal food industry responds to COVID-19: https://www.afia.org/issues/feed-food-safety/covid-19/
- American Sheep Industry Association COVID-19 resources: https://sheepusa.org/covid-19-resources
- Why coronavirus is causing some farmers to dispose of their milk: https://www.usdairy.com/news-articles/why-coronavirus-is-causing-some-farmers-to-dispose-of-their-milk
- National Milk Producers Federation coronavirus resources: https://www.nmpf.org/coronavirus/
- USPOULTRY COVID-19 information and resources: https://www.uspoultry.org/COVID-19/
Category: Key Issues