Advice for Handling Animal Activists

( American Dairy Association North East )

We understand animal activist claims are upsetting and frustrating for all involved in the dairy industry. The best way to help drown out the negativity is by not contributing to it, such as referencing the claims, sharing videos or news stories, or tagging the activist group in social media posts. Actions like those only draw more attention and eyes to the group and its videos. 

Dairy farmers should continue to positively tell the story of the care and concern you show for your farm – animals and employees – every single day. If you see others in the industry sharing info about the videos (for example, on social media), please message them privately and ask them not to do so.

Other recommendations:

Do:

  • Post pictures, videos, stories about the care and concern you show for your animals on your farm.
  • Consider posting about the training your staff receives - protocols that you have in place to ensure staff are properly coached, and the culture you have in place so that everyone knows animal abuse is not tolerated.
  • Remind your employees about the importance of “See Something? Say Something."

Don’t: 

  • Publicly disparage other farms’ practices online. Now more than ever, we need to stand together as an industry. It plays right into activists’ hands when dairy farmers criticize other farmers online. Remember – activist groups aren’t advocating for a “different” type of dairy farming – they’re advocating for the end of animal agriculture. 
  • Get frustrated when people ask legitimate questions. Respect goes a long way towards building trust. You may be asked questions that you’ve answered a million times, but for the person asking, it’s the first time. Treat others how you’d like to be treated.
  • Feel as if you’ve got to answer every question or attend every argument. Set up a “banned words” list on your Facebook page and change the setting to block profanity. Contact American Dairy Association North East to learn how you can adjust settings on your social media channels.
  • Forget that you’ve got support. Reach out if you need help or advice in responding to this or any other issue. Beth Meyer is the Crisis and Issues lead at American Dairy Association North East. Email her or call 315-491-3892. 
 
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