Reductio ad absurdum, or argument to absurdity is the platform on which many activist groups effectively market their message. For example, This manufacturing company discharged a toxic substance in the groundwater, therefore, all manufacturing companies are “big polluters,” so help our cause to close all manufacturing plants.
Animal Rights Activists have used the same approach with success. They find the examples of “bad actors” in farming point and to them and say…farmers at “factory farms” abuse animals, therefore, all large farms are bad, so help our cause to close all factory farms.
It’s unfortunate that groups like People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) can find even one example, let alone several regarding animal abuse to further their mission. Animal abuse is not justifiable…period. I’ve yet to talk to a farmer or non-farmer who would say otherwise. But abuse happens, and PETA is more than happy to make effective use of these examples. They have an impressive PR machine and plenty of money (total revenue in 2012 reported at $31,014,236) to further their effort. And, with social media at their disposal, their Reductio ad absurdum arguments travel around the world before farming groups have a chance to catch their breath.
PETA’s most recent video is “Factory Farming in 60-Seconds Flat.” This 60-second video is disturbing, and, if you are PETA, it’s effective in suggesting the absurd: that is, all large-scale farming abuses animals; won’t you help us stop it?
At the end of this video PETA states, “If you buy milk, eggs, meat, you’re supporting this. Now that you know, what will you do? And who will you share this with?” Reductio ad absurdum, used very effectively!
On the environmental front, keep a very watchful eye on the Total Maximum Daily Load issue. It has been in the news in two prominent cases recently and could have a very significant impact on farming. To see a commentary on one of the Midwest TMDL issues, see this article by attorney Gary Baise.
Are you up against a tough environmental regulatory issue now? Are you facing unreasonable requests by regulators? If you don’t think your current environmental consultants are acting in your best interest, we can help. Ask senior environmental advisor, Jeffrey Bolin, M.S., CHMM about a Peer Review. You can reach Jeff at 248-932-0228 ext 125.