Readers Write: (Feb. 9): Meat production

  • Updated: February 7, 2014 - 6:59 PM

Readers tended to totally object to or totally embrace a commentary on modern farming.

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MEAT PRODUCTION

Vicious? Some think so, but farmers object

Most people have no idea of the environment of factory farms and the suffering it produces, not only for the animals but also for the workers.

And yet, 94 percent of Americans believe that farm animals should not suffer. Thanks to articles like that written by Bonnie Blodgett (“Vicious even when you look away,” Feb. 2), things could begin to change.

Something that I wish had been added to the article is the number of animals who go through factory farms. Do people know there are 40 percent more factory-farmed pigs in Minnesota than there are people? And that despite all the antibiotics the industry pumps into the animals, many do not make it to slaughter but literally suffer to death?

Also, it would have been great to mention some of the positive actions people can take if they don’t want to support these industries. For example, not eating meat one day a week would help not only the animals but also your health and the environment. Hey … before you know it, you might end up eating predominantly plant-based foods.

DAVID R. SMITH, Excelsior

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I am surprised the Star Tribune would give Blodgett the forum, much less a lead position, to espouse her PETA-like opinions. Obviously, she hasn’t been inside any of the modern, well-managed animal housing units operated by Minnesota’s dairy, hog and poultry farmers. Otherwise, she would understand that every farm owner knows exactly the space each animal needs for maximum comfort and production, because there is a direct correlation between animals that are content and a farmer’s profit.

Her descriptors — like “spectacularly cruel,” “horrific conditions,” “hell on Earth” and “humiliation and torture” — demonstrate her intent to reach uneducated readers through emotion rather than facts. Fact-checking would have shown, for instance, that “huge fans” are just a part of a climate-control system to monitor air quality, temperature and humidity for maximum animal comfort as well as for those working in the buildings.

Both Blodgett and the Star Tribune should offer an apology to the thousands of dedicated Minnesota farmers who take great pride in their animals while providing us with nutritious meat, milk and eggs.

LARRY JOHNSON, Cologne

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As consumers, we line up for the latest version of the iPhone and applaud car manufacturers for making our vehicles safer, yet when we farmers use technology to help raise wholesome, safe and affordable food, we are criticized.

Farms don’t look the same as they did 50 years ago. Neither do cars. Neither do phones. There is a reason. When temperatures reach 25 degrees below zero, my pigs are enjoying a comfortable, 65-degree barn.

I don’t condone animal abuse, and neither does the industry. The drama in Blodgett’s commentary was over the top.

KEVIN ESTREM, Nerstrand, Minn.

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