Alliance Summit panel to explore animal rights activist groups’ use of religion

Early registration ends today  

April 11, 2016 – Animal rights extremist organizations have a long history of spreading myths and misinformation about animal agriculture through a variety of channels. Many may be surprised to learn that several animal rights organizations have staff members dedicated to communicating their messages to faith-based communities and organizations. Three experts in theology and communications will come together at the Animal Agriculture Alliance’s 2016 Stakeholders Summit – coming up May 5-6 in Arlington, Va. – to examine the development of this strategy and explore how animal agriculture can effectively respond.

This year’s Summit, themed “Securing Animal Agriculture’s Future: Action, Please!”, will focus on securing a bright future for animal agriculture by finding solutions to the challenges facing the industry today. Attendees will hear from thought-provoking speakers, participate in engaging discussions, and leave with actionable ideas that they can immediately implement on their farms or in their businesses. Early registration rates for the conference end April 11.

The “Activism at the Altar: Use of Religion in the Animal Rights Debate” panel will feature:

  • Dr. Wes Jamison, professor of public relations at Palm Beach Atlantic University. Dr. Jamison received a BS in poultry science from Auburn University, and his private-sector career included several years working for Cargill, Con Agra, and finally GoldKist, where he managed the Publix Supermarket account. He received a PhD from Oregon State University in agricultural politics, studying the animal welfare and rights movements as models of persuasion and consumer attitudes and behavior. He has published numerous articles on agriculture, public perceptions regarding agriculture and biotechnology, and how the public responds to various persuasive messages.
  • Dr. Paul Copan, Professor and Pledger Family Chair of Philosophy and Ethics, Palm Beach Atlantic University. For six years, Dr. Copan has served as president of the Evangelical Philosophical Society. He is author and editor of over 30 books, including works such as The Rationality of Theism, The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Religion, Creation Out of Nothing, and Philosophy of Religion: Classic and Contemporary Issues, The Zondervan Dictionary of Christianity and Science.
  • Dr. Walter Kaiser, President Emeritus and Distinguished Professor of Old Testament and Ethics, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. Prior to joining Gordon-Conwell in 1993, Dr. Kaiser taught Bible and archaeology at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois, and taught at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in several capacities. In addition to teaching in the Old Testament Department, he was Senior Vice President of Education, Academic Dean, and Senior Vice President of Distance Learning and Ministries. Dr. Kaiser currently serves on the boards of several Christian organizations. He has contributed to such publications as Journal for the Study of Old TestamentJournal of the Evangelical Theological SocietyChristianity TodayWestminster Theological Journal, and Evangelical Quarterly.

“Part of the ’protect’ portion of the Alliance’s mission is closely monitoring the strategies and tactics of activist organizations that work to confuse and mislead consumers to undermine the reputation and credibility of farmers and ranchers,” said Kay Johnson Smith, Alliance president and CEO. “We’ve watched certain groups target faith-based communities and organizations with their messages for years, and these efforts have recently caught more public attention. Now is the time for animal agriculture to be aware of this issue and decide how we can work together to counter the myths being spread. If you want to be a part of securing the future of our industry, you cannot miss this panel discussion or the rest of our 2016 Summit.”

The panel is sponsored by the National Pork Producers Council.

The Stakeholders Summit is a one-of-a-kind conference attended by a diverse group of decision makers, including representatives from farms, ranches, food processors, allied industry, restaurants, grocery stores, legislatures, universities, and government agencies.

Be sure to check the Alliance website for the most up-to-date Summit information. You can also follow the hashtag #AAA16 for periodic updates about the event. For general questions about the Summit, please contact or call (703) 562-5160.


Early registration (available through April 11, 2016) for the one-and-a-half day event is $375 for Alliance members, $425 for non-members and $325 for those in government or academia. Members of the media receive complimentary registration and should contact Hannah Thompson at for instructions on how to register. Registration materials and full event schedule can be found at

This year’s Summit will be held at the Westin Arlington Gateway in Arlington, Va. For more information, visit the hotel’s website.

The 2016 Summit is approved for 10 ARPAS CEU’s. ARPAS members in attendance can obtain this credit using the ARPAS website (

Refer a Friend:

Help us spread the word about Summit! If you refer a friend to attend the 2016 Stakeholders Summit who has never attended a previous Stakeholders Summit and they list your name as their recommender when they register for the event, you’ll both be entered in a drawing to win a $100 gift card! Each referral will count as one entry and there is no limit on the number of entries for referrers. We will give away two $100 gift cards at the 2016 Stakeholders Summit – one drawing for referrers and one drawing for those who were referred. All registrations with a referral listed made until online registration closes on May 4 will be entered. Must be present at the 2016 Stakeholders Summit to claim your gift card.

Get involved:

Show your support for the Alliance’s outreach efforts by becoming an official Summit sponsor today! For a complete listing of Summit sponsors or to watch video recordings from the 2015 Summit please visit For more information on sponsorship opportunities, contact Allyson Jones-Brimmer at

Current 2016 sponsors include: U.S. Poultry & Egg Association, Meatingplace, Farm Journal Media, Watt Global Media, Farm Credit, American Feed Industry Association, National Pork Board, National Cattleman’s Beef Association, Alltech, Zoetis, Diamond V, Charleston|Orwig, National Pork Producers Council, Merck Animal Health, Smithfield, Provimi, Bayer Animal Health, PotashCorp, Seaboard Foods, Iowa Soybean Association, Aviagen, Cattle Empire, United Soybean Board, Elanco Animal Health, Council for Biotechnology Information/GMO Answers, The National Turkey Federation’s 20 by 2020 Project, United Egg Producers, Kemin Industries, American Veal Association, Cobb-Vantress, GNP Company, Agri Beef Co., National Chicken Council, North Carolina Farm Bureau Federation, Dairy MAX, Live Oak Bank, Millennium Research Inc., Eggland’s Best and the Food Industry Environmental Network.

In addition to sponsoring the Summit, companies, associations and individuals can support the Alliance’s outreach and engagement efforts by donating to the Silent Auction. Proceeds from the 2016 Silent Auction at the Summit will support the Alliance’s College Aggies Online (CAO) program. CAO helps train the next generation of leaders in agriculture by challenging students to go out of their comfort zone to engage online and on campus about current and emerging issues facing agriculture. Previous auction donations have included goods and services such as artwork, quilts, jewelry, craft items, model farm equipment, celebrity autographed items, gift baskets, gift certificates, food items, wine and sporting or entertainment event tickets. To support CAO through the Silent Auction, contact Allyson Jones-Brimmer at

 About the Alliance:

The Animal Agriculture Alliance is an industry-united, nonprofit organization that helps bridge the communication gap between farm and fork. We connect key food industry stakeholders to arm them with responses to emerging issues. We engage food chain influencers and promote consumer choice by helping them better understand modern animal agriculture. We protect by exposing those who threaten our nation’s food security with damaging misinformation.
Find the Alliance on Facebook and Twitter.

Category: Press Releases

Tag: Animals & Religion, Stakeholders Summit,