“If you boil it down, just because someone else does the wrong thing, we are not exempt from doing what’s right.”
-E. A. Bucchianeri, Brushstrokes of a Gadfly
According to Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary, a gadfly is an insect that stings cattle. In the book, Brushstrokes of a Gadfly, the gadfly represents someone who irritates others. Someone who does not go with the flow. The gadfly in the book is a beautiful and intelligent woman who loves to stir the pot. But this is what farmers want their employees to be if they see or suspect animal abuse. They want them to be a “gadfly” or someone who doesn’t just stand by if they see animal abuse. Farmers want people to do the right thing.
So what is the right thing to do when there may be animal abuse? Is the right thing videotaping the abuse and then turning over those tapes to an animal activist group?
There is a new national initiative, See It? Stop It! that confirms the culture of care that farm owners and managers demand of everyone who comes in contact with their animals. It gives employees information on how to stop it. It may be a simple as a phone number of a person to contact.
As a hog farmer, this initiative is so refreshing. Plain and simple, it is common sense and it’s the right thing to do. Videotapes given to animal activist groups is not the best avenue to stop the abuse. By giving employees the empowerment to provide responsible animal care, animals will be the winners. And as was quoted in the book, Brushstrokes of a Gadfly, “just because someone else does the wrong thing, we are not exempt from doing what’s right.” And this is exactly what farmers believe and want their employees to believe also.
This new initiative, See It? Stop It! is not a certification program. It is a directive that requires immediate action if any employee sees or suspects animal abuse.
So what does the See It?, Stop It! initiative entail? Participants are obligated to:
- Provide education and promote responsible animal care to employees
- Encourage and enable employees to immediately report any signs of animal abuse
- Provide accessible and reliable contacts to address reports of animal care concerns
- Take immediate action to correct any inappropriate animal care
- Ensure employees, who raise concerns, are not penalized
Not only is the program good for farmers, farm employees and the animals, but it is good for consumers also. They have the right to expect good animal well-being and that is also what farmers strive to provide every day.