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on May 3, 2017

Activist-influenced food pledges increase poverty rates

KSU professor: When a restaurant makes a supply chain pledge on perceived animal welfare issues, they are driving up food prices and subsequently the rate of poverty

Restaurants who act too quickly to sourcing only animal protein products such as cage-free eggs, slower-growing broilers, crate-free pork and meat from animals raised without antibiotics, they are harming the overall economy, according to Dr. Dan Thomson, Jones Professor of Production Medicine and Epidemiology, Kansas State University.

Tomson, speaking at the 2017 Animal Agriculture Alliance Stakeholders Summit, expressed frustration with the amount of restaurant chains to jump on the bandwagon of perceived animal welfare issues, pushed by animal rights activists.

Activists using the fear factor

“Activists today are masquerading as the consumers. They are having the fear factor, or trying to get the food groups or food brands, to market the fear agendas,” said Thomson.

While Thomson said fear could be a dangerous tactic, but it has proven effective for those who use it.

Restaurants fighting for business of the wealthy

The cost of production for most of the farming practices pushed by animal rights activists is higher than traditional production methods, and those costs are eventually passed on to the consumer, not only in restaurants, but also at the grocery store.

However, Thomson believes that restaurants are not that concerned about how changes in production practices can affect the price of food at the supermarket.

“Restaurants do not feed the poor. Restaurants feed the rich. Restaurants feed the people who can afford to have someone else plan the meal, cook the meal and do the dishes. We have only spent 4 percent of our personal…

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