For generations, America's livestock farmers have worked hard to become more efficient. They had to do this to be able to stay in business. Production efficiency in dairy herds, for example, has more than doubled in the last 60 to 70 years. This increased efficiency has provided all of us with milk and other food products at a price that is the lowest in the world in terms of percentage of our take home pay.
Technology that has brought about increased efficiency, not only in agriculture but in all kinds of business and industry, has enable us to have a standard of living and quality of life unequalled in the world. Yet, there are those today that want to take away that technology and destroy our standard of living.
Recently, the Humane Society of the United States, the largest animal rights group in the United States, published a report on dairy cow welfare. HSUS is the group with the long-range goal of taking all animal products from our diets, eliminating all hunting and fishing and stopping the use of animals for medical research.
This lengthy report on the welfare of cows in the dairy industry presented an unfortunate and unfair picture of today's dairy industry. It was well documented with a lot of footnotes but the information used was taken out of context and twisted to fit the ultimate goal of destroying the dairy industry.
Technology and approved practices on today's dairy farms that have made them productive and provide us with fresh, quality milk and dairy products was twisted to make them look bad. When we start taking away those technologies that have given us the quality of life we have enjoyed, we are in serious trouble in this country.
Take the natural hormone rBST for example. This hormone is produced naturally in the diary cow, helps improve milk production and is found in all milk that you buy over the counter. As is true in so many food products, natural ingredients have added to the taste and flavor of what we eat.
Some dairy farmers for many years were giving their cows added rBST to improve milk production with slightly more added feed. It improved the efficiency of the dairy cow.
Because of misinformation and scare tactics of several groups, most dairy farmers are no longer allowed to use this natural hormone in their herds. As a result, milk production efficiency has decreased and the milk price to consumers increased.
Organizations like HSUS and others, including environmental extremists, will make our food cost much more and can create food shortages. They know how to use emotion to appeal to well-meaning people with information that will destroy our way of life in this country.
One way they are doing this is to attack certain approved farm practices, using misinformation and playing on emotions, to get farm issues on ballots in various states. Their well organized campaigns influence those who don't look at the real goal of these groups. And they have a lot of money to spend.
Now, HSUS is threatening to come into Ohio this fall or next year with some kind of campaign. They don't have the best interests of consumers as one of their goals. It's too bad they don't use some of that money that lines their pockets to help low income and out-of-work families. There are so many needs in these difficult times.
Parker works with the local Farm Bureau Board and is an independent writer for the Tribune.