The meat industry is sounding the alarm.
Following New York City’s historic vote to ban the use of wild animals in circuses last month, the meat industry’s most notorious propagandists are calling for the industry to support wild animal performances before it’s too late ― before the momentum of animal rights advocacy reaches the farm or the slaughterhouse.
“The sense of security will be short-lived,” the Animal Agriculture Alliance warned meat producers, in one the industry’s most widely-read trade publications.
“Any victory that activists can achieve in eliminating humans’ ability to use animals will provide them further ammunition in their mission to promote animal liberation,” the organization argued.
The Animal Agriculture Alliance, which represents the interests of the nation’s largest meat producers, was not the only industry group to argue that the NYC ban presents an existential threat to animal farming.
Protect the Harvest, an ag industry front group founded by a billionaire former Trump advisor, published an article urging farmers and ranchers to “pull together” and “stop the animal rights bullies.” The article emphasized that farming and ranching are directly “threatened” by the demise of the circus and noted that the ban “will impact animal owners everywhere.”
Crucially, this isn’t just a warning to meat producers about the looming threat of animal advocacy ― this is the meat industry actively calling for Big Ag to become an “ally to other animal use industries,” and in particular, to defend those that exploit animals for entertainment.
“Host your company picnic at the zoo” or “take your family to the circus” the Animal Agriculture Alliance implored.
“First your circuses, then your zoos. Last will be … your farms. Say NO now before it’s too late,” said a tweet retweeted by the Protect the Harvest last Thursday.
“Exercise makes for healthy aging,” says another tweet promoted by Protect the Harvest, in reference to the supposed “exercise” elephants get as part of their performance duties (ignoring that circus elephants are routinely beaten into performing and confined on trains and other enclosures for days on end).
The message is clear: The meat industry is prepared to defend any form of animal use, no matter how cruel and unnecessary, in order to save itself.
This won’t come as a surprise to anyone who has been paying close attention to this violent industry. Their stubborn defense of standard industry practices ― from castrating piglets without painkillers to grinding up cheeping baby chickens alive ― already proved the moral depravity of animal agribusiness.
From this day forward, any time you hear a meat industry apologist claim that they know what’s best for farmed animals, remember that they may consider elephant performances to be a wholesome form of exercise. Remember that the industry is afraid that if people believe that circuses are cruel, meat won’t stand a chance.
And remember that their fears are justified. As I have written before, once our political institutions embrace the idea that it is wrong to confine and injure animals for our entertainment, it is only a matter of time before they prohibit doing the same things in order to satisfy our taste buds. That time is now. Join the growing movement to abolish all industries that profit off of animal abuse, and to create a better world where all animals can live happy, safe, and free.