I’ve never liked the term “factory farm” and, according to comments made by speakers at the 2015 Animal Rights National Conference, in Alexandria, Virginia, some animal rights activists have soured on the term as well. Hope Bohanec, projects manager, United Poultry Concerns, said, “The term factory farm had its time … we have inadvertently created the alternative animal agriculture industry. All animal agriculture is bad.”
Bohanec had company in asking for the term “factory farming” to be retired from the activists’ lexicon, according to reporting by staffers of the Animal Agriculture Alliance who attended the meeting.
Dr. Carrie P. Freeman, associate professor, department of communication, Georgia State University, and author of the book, "Framing Farming: Communications Strategies for Animal Rights," explained to the conference attendees that attacking the farming of animals in general and not just large-scale farming is where activists need to focus their efforts. Freeman said, “When we show people how bad and egregious factory farming is … most people will say, ‘Well, I should go to a different farm.’ (We) need to focus more on all farming being bad, not just factory farming.”
Freeman said that “raising and eating animals is unjust … ecologically unacceptable and irresponsible.” She takes this position to an extreme saying, “Owning someone to use their bodies is cruel” and that “We don’t need to be omnivores.”
“It’s not fair to farm anyone. Farming itself is unnatural," she says.
Another detractor of even small farms is Dallas Rising, executive director, Animal Rights Coalition. During her her presentation, she asserted that “there are a lot of problems with small family farms” and “veganism is not about food, it’s about justice.”
I think it is great that these activists agree with me that the term factory farming isn’t a good one to use.
It is my hope that animal rights activists decide to focus their attacks on “alternative farms” like free-range layer and broiler operations and small family farms, because these won’t gain any traction with the public. I agree with Napoleon Bonaparte who reportedly said, “Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.”