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Chaos at the Bozeman Airport

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

Hopefully, by the time y’all are reading this, I will be on a beach in Kauai, Hawaii, getting a tan and enjoying some blended concoction served to me in a coconut. However, before I walk off the plane in the land where palm trees sway, I had to put my two cents in about what’s happened recently at the airport in Bozeman, Mont. 

Posted to Facebook, literally hours before I, myself, walked into the Bozeman Airport was an ad on all the luggage carts scolding leather buyers, specifically those with leather luggage. 

Within a few days of a photo of this ad being blasted on Facebook, the Bozeman Airport took the ads down. However, we still need to think through what happened. There’s a whole lot of bad, a tiny bit of good and something we can all learn from this photo. 

The good is – and I’m reaching here, I know – this anti-ag advertisement maybe, potentially, possibly made someone in the Bozeman airport realize agriculture is more than just meat. In other words, there’s more to a cow than meets the grill. 

Every single animal slaughtered for meat has umpteen byproducts which are made from the rest of their bodies.

Cattle? Crayons. 

Hogs? Footballs.  

Sheep? Wool. 

Goats? Candles. 

Chickens? Fertilizer. 

You get the point. So, this is the very small amount of good that maybe, hopefully happened. 

The bad: It painted the cattle industry in a bad light. 

Time and time again, anti-ags around the globe have tugged on consumers’ heart strings in attempts to sway their way of life from omnivore, conscious consumer to “vegan, cruelty free,” and this ad is just another page out of the book. However, this specific ad placement was given to the wrong audience, I hope. 

Maybe this kind of ad flies in Portland or Los Angeles, but uh… This ad was put on display for an airport in a state where cattle outnumber the people three-to-one. Thankfully, within a few days of the original post and enough complaints, the ad was removed from the luggage carts. However, although the story may have ended, let’s look into this a little deeper… 

Circling back to what I said earlier about finding the right audience for this ad. The ad was not meant for staunch anti-ags and it definitely was not meant for staunch agriculturists – it was meant for the moveable middle.

The “moveable middle” is the group of consumers who weren’t raised to support agriculture or hate it. They’re people who are actively making diet decisions and can be swayed one way or another depending on what information they’ve been provided.

A good example of this is a middle-aged, suburban mom in a grocery store. She wants what’s best for her and her family, and if she sees a sign promoting Beyond Beef and it’s “health benefits,” she may choose to put her pound of 100 percent beef back in the cooler. 

However, if she saw a sign boasting beef and its nutritional value, she would most likely choose it.

When someone made the decision to run this ad, they knew that was their target audience – I think they did a terrible job of choosing to put it in a Montana airport, but nonetheless, there’s plenty of moveable middle consumers in Bozeman. This is where we learn something… 

Why can’t we, agriculturists, place an ad in the Bozeman airport? We should, I don’t know what it could hurt. If the anti-ags can do it to further their agenda, why can’t we come back with our own information?

I guarantee you, someone saw those ads at the airport and thought to themselves, “Hmm, what had to die for my suitcase to be made?” 

Instead of cowering or complaining, why don’t we lean into it?

“Yeah, an animal did die for you to have a nice, leather suitcase. And that same animal died for you to have insulin so you don’t die.”

My solution is to not swim against the current, but rather to wait until a wave is made and surf that bad boy.

The anti-ags want to make consumers think about their purchases? Okay, the damage is done, but we can make them think a little deeper. 

It’s more than just beef – it could be difference between living and dying for someone. Think about that. 

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