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Perspective: Vegan activists launching streaming platform is alarming


Keep this one in your things-the-world-really-doesn’t-need-right-now files.

There’s now a vegan news network!

Yes, you read that correctly. UnchainedTV is a brand-new television network available for streaming on all your devices. Viewers can download the channel’s app to catch up on all the latest vegan news and shows. UnchainedTV even has its own competitive cooking show, Peeled: Cooking Up Compassion. And recently UnchainedTV interviewed the Korean Vegan, who is apparently transforming vegan cooking.

In unrelated news, I’ve decided I want to move to a new planet.

The network recently provided 16 hours of live coverage for the criminal trial of two vegan activists. The activists were accused of “rescuing” piglets from a “factory farm” where they were supposedly living in squalid conditions. The defendants were both part of the radical organization Direct Action Everywhere, which is currently working to establish a so-called right to rescue. On their website, you can view numerous videos of their adherents stealing animals from farms. The group believes that these criminal trials will establish legal precedent allowing others to follow in their footsteps.

Activist vegans are notorious for making headlines. As a kid, I can still remember PETA members throwing red paint on models wearing fur. But these stunts continue even now. Recently, vegans sprayed “fake” milk onto the Parliament building in London. In Australia activists stripped down to their skivvies and pretended to be pieces of meat. In Tennessee protestors shut down a Starbucks and other businesses over the coffee shop’s use of milk. And in the UK, vegans are protesting dairy products by going into grocery stores and dumping gallons of milk.

It would be easy to dismiss these ridiculous — and in the case of dumped milk, infuriating — stunts as nothing more than the usual vegan shenanigans. But as UnchainedTV’s recent news release noted, animal agriculture is blamed for “society’s most pressing problems,” fairly or not. Their list is rather long: climate change, habitat destruction, wildlife extinction, water pollution, drought, antibiotic resistance, heart disease, and world hunger.

I’m not even kidding. World. Hunger.

In reality, animal agriculture’s contribution to any global crisis is overblown. That’s especially true in the United States, where our farmers are using the latest technology, employing good animal husbandry, and providing quality care to their livestock. There are always bad apples, but our animals don’t need rescuing.

Yet the idea that vegans could successfully launch an entire network dedicated to spewing their propaganda is alarming. We’ve seen how 24-hours of talking heads every single day has created deep divisions in American politics. Can you imagine what would happen if Hulu or YouTube offered UnchainedTV on their streaming platforms? It would make Netflix’s love of disinformation documentaries look like a baby calf.

Animal rights activists are tech savvy and adaptable. Sure, they’re still staging absurd protests like throwing fake milk on government buildings, but they’re also using videos and the internet in ways that are guaranteed to garner a lot of viewers.

It’s not surprising that when consumers see this propaganda, they believe it. In fact, I don’t know too many people, including farmers, that could watch animal abuse and walk away smiling. I know that animal agriculture doesn’t include torturing animals and forcing them to live in abhorrent conditions. But those videos still tug on my heartstrings because that’s what they’re designed to do.

The creation of an entire network promoting vegans is yet another example of why it’s so important for farmers and ranchers to engage with the public. People need to know bad behavior isn’t tolerated or allowed on our farms. In the face of such formidable opponents, I actually think we’ve done a good job with outreach. But we can’t become complacent in a changing world.

Amanda Zaluckyj blogs under the name The Farmer’s Daughter USA. Her goal is to promote farmers and tackle the misinformation swirling around the U.S. food industry.

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