We need to be respectful and mindful what we say

To the editor:

This letter expands on my response to “Hog Butchering and Educational Experience” published on Feb. 15.

To the “meat-eaters” and agriculture advocates: While I’m confident that many of you are qualified and capable of addressing issues such as this, I want to address others who may be less qualified. While I support animal agriculture and the consumption of animals, I believe we all need to be respectful and mindful of what we say, especially around those that may be less educated. Attacking those that have made the conscious decision to refrain from animal products is not helping the industry. This information needs to be conveyed in a professional manner and processes and practices should be explained, instead of saying things like “we gave the pig a chance to run, it just wasn’t very fast.” In addition, I want to clarify that animals are in fact, sentient beings, meaning animals do feel pain and they do have emotional expressions. For example, cows have best friends and sheep are gregarious — they get stressed when they aren’t around the rest of the flock. Please, take any course on animal behavior or handling and you will quickly realize this. That being said, we must take into account that these animals are sentient when designing production facilities, and treat these animals with the utmost care and respect.

As a student studying Agricultural and Animal Production Systems Engineering at Iowa State University, I am very passionate about the animal agriculture industry and its advancement. However, if we continue to attack and slander those who aren’t in support of the industry, it becomes impossible to move forward. Please be mindful of what you say and respectful of the opinions of others — they may just be misinformed or unaware. Animal agriculture in the United States is in the best condition it has ever been and the most sustainable as well. Once again, I want to applaud Mr. Andy Helming for providing this opportunity to his students and for championing the industry.

—Sara Weyer
Ferdinand native

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