Letter to the editor: According to King, responsible livestock production is ‘animal activism’

Tracey K. Kuehl

Five generations of my family have been actively farming and involved with agriculture. I continue that long tradition by working on a heritage farm, which grows soybeans and corn as well as vegetables and flowers for the direct market niche.

The July 25 edition of the Farm Bureau Spokesman quoted Rep. Steve King discussing his amendment to the Farm Bill, labeling those individuals concerned with appropriate and healthful care of livestock as “animal activists.” Every responsible livestock producer in Iowa should consider him or herself an animal activist and be concerned about those producers who purposely shirk appropriate and necessary care for the health of their animals and the ultimate safety of the food for the American consumer.

King represents producers as well as consumers, and I find his blanket term of “animal activist” offensive.

As for the consumers of Iowa-grown fruits and vegetables, those who shop the hundreds of Iowa farmers’ markets each week; for the individuals who have an appetite for soy products made from Iowa-grown soybeans; for the grocery store chains like Hy-Vee, which are placing a greater emphasis on locally grown produce and agricultural products and support their local growers, King denigrates the efforts of Iowa producers and the choice of Iowa consumers alike to live a healthy lifestyle.

In 2010 was the DeCoster debacle: the recall of half a billion eggs, the sickening of hundreds of Americans and the black eye this gave to Iowa agriculture, all due to its sloppy and irresponsible care of its hens, poor maintenance of its farm and lack of attention given to its operations.

Producers who are willing to take appropriate and necessary care and provide thoughtful oversight to the safe production of all elements of our food stream will be the ones that cause “Produced in Iowa” to mean quality to the consumer — unless Rep. King believes these are efforts practiced only by “animal activists.”