Farming is a noble pursuit, and one that’s been romanticized for generations, especially in America. Farming has a real sense of Americana about it. Let’s not forget that Superman (perhaps America’s most enduring cultural icon) grew up on a farm. It seems, however, that the rose tinted veneer around the public perception of agriculture is beginning to crack. There’s a great deal of pressure on the animal agriculture today that is exacerbating a lot of the other issues that farmers encounter on a regular basis. In the digital age, consumers have a more informed idea than ever of how the sausage is made (both literally and metaphorically). As such, those involved in agriculture, and the food industry in general are more accountable than ever to their consumers. A growing awareness of the ethics of agriculture, particularly animal culture has arisen in recent years especially with the availability of documentaries like Cowspiracy on streaming platforms informing the public on the environmental and ethical issues behind the production of food in the 21st century.
Since the consumers seem more interested in the ethics behind their food than the price tag, so too should the agricultural industry industry step up and invest judiciously to address the ethical issues that are important to the consumers…
We only have one planet, and numerous industries are doing everything they can to ensure that we look after it as best we can in our business practices. As the auto industry invests its efforts into research and developments to wean our vehicles off of fossil fuels and onto more sustainable fuel sources like hydrogen or electricity, so too must agriculture revise its practices to bear sustainability in mind. As time progresses and the population increases, farmers will face the issue of sustainability more and more as we slowly run out of arable land upon which to grow crops and raise animals.
The growth of veganism, vegetarianism and anti-fur movements have ensured that animal welfare is never far from the cultural conversation. More and more consumers are foregoing the allure of the supermarket in favor of farmers markets in the pursuit of more ethically sourced meat and dairy. Every decision you make from when you browse for pig feed to the slaughter facility you use will determine your farm’s perceived animal welfare provision and if consumers decide it isn’t up to scratch, you can expect them to take their business elsewhere. As more and more people eschew meat and dairy and take a greater interest in animal welfare, the agricultural industries will have to consider how they tailor their supply to meet demand.
Farmers are amongst the most hardworking and tireless people on the planet, and while most consumers are cognizant of this, they are also concerned about the way in which farms treat their employees. From fruit pickers to horticulturalists, consumers expect those who labor to get the food they eat to their plate to be paid a fair wage and work under decent conditions.