Answer: Any person or group that does not want people to know where their food comes from. The first one that comes to mind is the Humane Society of the U.S. (not associated with the local Humane Society in your hometown). This group makes a living trying to make farmers and ranchers look bad. I don’t question their motive; it’s a job, it’s how they pay the bills. They come to work each day and send out letters asking for the cash so they can fight evil farmers and ranchers. As long as they can keep donors misinformed and misled about the truth, the cash keeps comin’ in.
Another critical factor is to portray agriculture, be it modern or homegrown, as inhumane, environmentally harmful and run by insensitive country hicks who have no real moral attachment to the animals and the land ... that it’s all about money. This is easy for them because so much of their own time and effort is dedicated to the pursuit of cash. There seem to be endless quasi-associations seeking funds to “protect and enhance the wildlife and habitat, the heritage and natural resources.” They pop up every time someone can find a cause that will stimulate the cash flow. But just having a good cause is not enough. They must create a straw man to portray the enemy. That eliminates any deep inspection of the validity of their cause, and ranchers and farmers, hunters, miners, lumberjacks and oilfield roughnecks fill their bill.
Another influential group that doesn’t want people to know where their food comes from are politicians with a prejudice against those who work the land. Their reasons are usually personal, some childhood animosity now being repaid because they have the power or a guilt complex because they were born with a golden spoon.
RFDtv is being dropped from some media networks intent on merging. The reason given is that a network about and for agriculture is not relevant to modern urban viewers. But agriculture on television is one of the few places where consumers can get to know where their food comes from. The presence of agriculture is growing. It’s not uncommon to see or hear news stories about farmers and ranchers. Most are good. Most reporters are reasonable folks who eat bacon and hamburger. They have a general concept that global population growth will demand more food, and that the USDA is involved with keeping our food safe.
Like most Americans, they trust farmers and ranchers and expect us to stay on top of things. We continue to educate and include curious urban consumers in our thinking. We invite them to see for themselves, to know the truth about our business and to show them where their food really comes from. And that, my friends, is the last thing the Humane Society of the U.S. and vengeful offended politicians want them to know.