State Fair of Texas not buying PETA’s circus

By Gene Hall

I know we write a lot about People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) these days, but darn—they are just so busy doing ridiculous things. Following up on a long run of questionable publicity stunts, billboards with naked actresses, more nudity at live events and the launching of an explicit porn and animal abuse website, the folks at PETA applied for space at the State Fair of Texas in Dallas.  Relax. The fair turned them down.  Why? Do you really have to ask?

The State Fair is many things. To start with, it’s family fun. Given PETA’s track record of scantily clad women, it would be hard to trust the content of whatever they distribute.  The fair, in its Food and Fiber Pavilion, is also a celebration of the food and fiber miracle that is U.S. farming and ranching. In that venue, PETA would be a bit like an atheist in church. They even suggested that the 4-H motto would be altered in their display to an inaccurate arrangement of the letter “H” which I won’t dignify by repeating here.

According to the reports I’ve read, the shameless publicity hounds of the animal rights organization wanted to set up a booth and run a film narrated by former Beatle Paul McCartney. I haven’t seen it, but I’ve seen many of its cinematic cousins and I already know what it says.

Such is the world today, but the camera never lies, right? Nonsense—it lies all the time. I once worked in TV news and I’ve done agricultural video for three decades. The camera lies in terms of context, freezing brief bits of time and sometimes suggesting there is no alternative view that makes sense. Add to that the fact that Sir Paul read from a script. Give me control of the words and free me of the obligation to offer balance and context. I’ll give you something convincing. It takes an effort to be fair and that does not trouble PETA.

As with any business, there are those in animal agriculture who don’t always follow the rules. You can, however, feed animals in large numbers without being cruel to them. PETA and the similar Humane Society of the United States know they lose any fight over the world’s appetite for meat. Developing nations want more of it and they will have it. American’s love their hamburgers, steaks, pork chops and fried chicken, too. That’s why the strategy is not to argue that point, but to make livestock production as difficult and expensive as they can.

So go to the fair. Celebrate the miracle of modern agriculture. There’s no need to feel guilty about it. Have a corn dog, a cheeseburger or a free beef sample. You won’t be troubled by PETA’s nonsensical guilt trip—at least not this year.

Photo © Pancaketom | Dreamstime.com

Gene Hall

Public Relations Director
Texas Farm Bureau
I believe that the only hope for a food secure world is capitalism and reasonable profits for America’s farm and ranch families–that the first element of sustainability is economic survival.
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