Commentary: You need to thank Domino’s

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If you’re in agriculture in any way, shape or form, you need to get on the team to thank Domino’s Pizza for the fact that its shareholders stood up to the Humane Society of the United States’ (HSUS) attempt to tell them how to run their business. Because, while the current issue centers on gestation-sow stalls, tomorrow it could focus on cheese and dairies or wheat and GMOs or any number of issues that activists decide to target.

In this particular case I’m talking about the shareholder vote that took place earlier this month where 80 percent of the vote went to defeating the requirement that any pork products that Domino’s uses must come from operations that do not use gestation-sow stalls. Domino’s, so far, is the only food company in a recent flood of “yes men” to say “no” to such an effort.  

McDonald’s. Burger King, Wendy’s, Safeway, Denny’s and more, have buckled under the pressure to steer HSUS—which owns stock in most of the companies—away from their brands.

It begs the question where will these food companies get their pork products? Some of those burger chains are going to have a severe drop in sales without the bacon to boost the flavor. An estimate of how many gestation sows are housed in systems not using stalls is about 10 percent. What's more, there is no segmented product available. Sure, there are some niche producers out there, but there is no significant quantity of product available.

So, earlier this week a grassroots movement—The Truth About Agriculture started a Facebook Group, Farmers Paying it Forward with Pizza—targeted at those who support the U.S. agriculture and food sectors. I would point out that the effort should include those who benefit from such innovations and commitment—which would be all of us.

So even though the information appeared on Pork Network earlier in the week, it bears repeating—the point is to support Domino’s Pizza this weekend, May 18-20, by ordering a pie—or several. It's being called Ag Pizza Party. The organizers also are asking those who participate to drop off a "thank you" note when you pick up your order. You can print out a sample to use here.

Consider it as an option for a staff or neighborhood gathering. Or as one person shared—“Figured I won’t make it to Domino’s this weekend to eat a pizza so I ordered a couple and sent them to the Ronald McDonald house with an explanation of why I was supporting Domino’s.” What a wonderful and generous idea.

Not a Domino’s nearby? I know of a few farmers going out of their way, 30 to 40 miles, to pick up pizzas; at the very least send out a Thank You note.

As of Thursday afternoon, there were nearly 2,000 people on board for the Ag Pizza Party and another 20,000 invited.

However, you are not alone. While farmers are out in the fields planting their crops, monitoring farrowing sows and milking cows, activists are sitting behind their computers organizing against you.

Specifically an illustrator and designer living in Austin, Texas, who says “I love all animals and most people ;)” has launched a petition on to lobby against Domino’s decision and the Ag Pizza Party.

Rina Khadivi claims to have launched the petition after seeing HSUS undercover video footage, but a scan around the Internet suggests otherwise. Even on she cites involvement in “four animal actions” and the verbiage she uses sounds remarkably like that of HSUS.

Still, the site reports more than 126,000 people have signed her petition, as of Thursday afternoon. That’s not surprising given the organization of activist groups.

You can read more about what Khadivi is telling the public about pork production and agriculture on the web posting.

U.S. agriculture tallies less than 1 percent of the U.S. population, so we might make a dent if everyone and our friends and families ordered pizzas.  

Does that mean we shouldn’t try? Not at all, it just means those of us involved in modern agriculture and food production have an uphill climb that’s getting steeper every day.  

Now, pick up that phone and say…”Hello Domino’s, thank you…”

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Brookings SD  |  May, 18, 2012 at 08:34 AM

Maybe Farm Bureau and Farmers Union Insurance companies should start investing in these companies and then try to influence shareholders like HSUS has done.

roger b.    
Amanda, ohi  |  June, 09, 2012 at 01:45 AM

Im so tired HSUS running big they should work together. Don't let the big buck run the system think twice and act once Remember years it work but greed as alway take over there is alot to say about the big buck

Mildred M. Haley    
Washington, DC  |  May, 18, 2012 at 08:52 AM

To be fair, it probably should be pointed out that the only deadline McD's (in particular) has laid down, is for their pork suppliers to provide a plan by the end of May, that sets out a transition from a production system based on crates to one that uses pens. It would thus appear that McD's recognizes that producers must be permitted to depreciate out their (present) buildings- such recognition is not something to be sneezed at! But sure, to continue supplying pork products to McD's producers WILL have to adopt, at some time in the future, a production model based on pennning sows rather than crating them 100% of the time.

Iowa  |  May, 18, 2012 at 09:14 AM

You can also go to the Dominos website and submit a thanks under Customer Service >> Send an email. It has a 1,000 character limit, but that's enough to indicate you're participating in the Ag Pizza Day and briefly explain why. I particularly appreciated that Dominos acknowledged the AVMA and AASV as animal experts, compared to HSUS. In the past, I haven't been a big Dominos fan versus other pizza options, but they're going to get my business from now on!

SD  |  May, 18, 2012 at 06:02 PM

Nice idea, Roger, but it sure is hard to compete, with time and money, against HSUS where they have huge amounts of money to hire people to do that very thing, not to mention the expertise in communitcations they can afford to hire!

Travis Dunekacke    
Elk Creek, Nebraska  |  May, 19, 2012 at 12:21 AM

Right on Maxine. The corporate-total confinement hog producer hasn't seen nothing yet from HSUS! Sorry to the dozen or so people who will eat your first & only Dominoes pizza this weekend: I'll be eating at Chipotle Grill. Their food tastes much better, and oh my gosh, they pay producers a decent price for their hogs. What a concept!

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