LAST week it was National Agriculture week in the United States, this week it’s Meat Free Week in Australia. We have a problem.
Across the US, Americans celebrated National Ag Week, featuring National Agriculture Day on Wednesday, March 18, this year giving women in agriculture and family farms the spotlight.
Passionate men and women who actively make up the country's strong and united farming industry enjoyed some recognition and a celebration of the hard work that goes into growing a huge amount of food.
Tom Vilsack, the US Secretary for Agriculture said: “For generations, America’s farmers and ranchers have helped our nation stay strong. Let’s use National Agriculture Week to recognise the important work our farmers and ranchers do for this country and the world and say, simply, ‘thank you’.”
While I think subscribing to the ‘thank a farmer’ argument is wrought with danger from both a cultural and communications viewpoint, you can’t dismiss America’s ability to unite, engage and take action. Their agricultural industry is no different and now boasts an online community that is the envy of other agricultural economies, like ours.
Meanwhile, it’s Meat Free Week in Australia.
This is a week where non-gullible Australians who apply common sense and logic hang their heads in shame as they watch fickle values eat away at reason.
It’s also a week that highlights Australian agriculture’s inability to unite, engage and take action. Even online, our voice is unco-ordinated, disparate and barely heard.
The team at Meat Free Week assumes all animal production across the world is the same, and uses a mix of American, Australian and international statistics to make its points.
And if its sensationalised facts fail to inspire, you can look to its ‘ambassadors’, two of which are actually called ‘Mimi’ and ‘Bambi’, and are real humans, as young as they are beautiful.
People must just disregard their lack of experience in factory farming, intensive animal husbandry and food production, but listen anyway, because hey, they’re models.
To be fair, Meat Free Week does promote some notions of ‘ethical’ farming, and suggestions where and how to get meats that are produced in a way its supporters approve of.
The biggest frustration here is that its telling our story, and it’s the wrong one. While I’m not suggesting we get our redneck on and swap Meat Free Week with Meat Week, I’m suggesting we come together to tell a real story, from the source, not rife with misinformation feeding agendas, then wrapped in a charity for a ‘good cause’.
Just the truth will do.
Unfortunately Meat Free Week is using an under-funded and vitally important cause like Bowel Cancer Australia to leverage its agenda.
Participants’ money goes to Meat Free Week itself, to Voiceless (a vegan-driven animal activism group) and World Land Trust. The latter is based in the United Kingdom and doesn’t even operate in Australia; and it supports the argument, like many of the other ‘experts’ Meat Free Week has on board, that deterring meat consumption assists in environmental sustainability.
How it justifies a plan to curb climate change or animal production by hampering meat consumption in developed nations, through a minority of people, is beyond me.
It’s like a tidal wave is coming and they’re on the beach with a bucket frantically scooping water out of the way thinking it will make a difference.
This is a perfect example of how poorly the organisation understands the advances being made in sustainable agriculture.
Progress will never happen if we keep everyone happy, but there are ways we can work together.
But before that, the men and women that make up Australian agriculture will need to come together in a unified, co-ordinated and modern day model.
Until then be prepared for Mimi and Bambi to be endorsing stories of our industry.