At one point in your life, you may have had an “ah ha” moment at church. Well, Steph and I have been going to a new church the last few weeks and I had an “ah ha” moment. This weekend, the pastor had a really good message and it got me thinking. He was talking about distortion (or in general terms, lying). The point where I had my “ah ha” moments was when he said, “living a life of distortion, can give you trouble in the end.” Just take George O’Leary’s word for it.
The pastor gave several examples like George O’Leary and it reminded me of some of the struggles agriculture is having with PETA and other animal rights groups. We have all seen PETA promote a video about a dairy farm where animals are being “abused.” I will admit that sometimes there is actual abuse, but most of the time there is a lot of “distortion” in those videos (darkened video, sad music, etc.).
The unfortunate thing is that these videos are working and swaying the public’s opinions on agriculture and its practices. However, I honestly think PETA’s distortion is catching up with them. I have been in several rooms where people have been talking about PETA, not because of their latest video, but about whether they should believe PETA.
This reputation for distortion is something that could eventually be PETA’s undoing.
There is a lesson in this for all agvocates, do not distort the truth…ever. It is better to tell the truth about something upfront, rather than try to explain yourself after someone has caught you lying. Don’t sugar-coat things or only show the “good” parts of your farm. You need to open the barn doors wide open and explain what you are doing and why you are doing it. That person may not agree with what you are doing, but you have gained their trust for the next time you are trying to explain a “sticky situation.”
Being always truthful is how we gain the trust of consumers.
Please share any questions or concerns about this topic in the comments section, I want to hear about your experience with being truthful to consumers.