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I Picked a Fight with an
Antia-Ag About Race

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

By M. P. Cremer

In 2017, when I got in the first few vegan, animal rights and anti-ag Facebook groups, I made a self-vow to “observe with no engagement.” I did this for two reasons.

Reason number one: I didn’t want to get caught up in petty arguments. I knew if I commented on the ridiculous opinions and false facts shared by anti-ags, it could turn into a full-time job in the worst way possible. See, the thing with anti-ags is you can argue with them until you’re blue in the face and absolutely nothing will change. Their opinions will stay the same, and you’ll just look like a hot-headed fool. 

Reason number two: I didn’t want my cover blown. I knew, and still know, if I interacted with anyone in an anti-ag group, my “under cover agvocate” status would be revealed and I’d be kicked out of those Facebook groups. If I got kicked out of the groups, I wouldn’t be able to see what anti-ags were really saying about agriculture.

These reasons have always been in the back of my mind, and I have only broken my vow a handful of times. However, all those times were to ask a question, not to pick a fight – this was, until this past weekend. 

I casually scrolled through Instagram the other night and saw an upsetting post from an anti-ag. The post read as follows.

“How many cattle ranchers and pig farmers do you think support #BLM? My guess is about zero percent, but go ahead and keep defending the meat industry and making these guys rich.”

“I’m speaking from personal experience here. I’ve lived in all-white ranching and farming communities and believe me when I say they don’t welcome #diversity but keep laughing at people who call the meat industry #racist. It is 100 percent racist, and I can give MANY examples.”

I read this, sat my phone down and stared at my shoes. I picked up my phone, read it twice more, once out loud, sat my phone down again and contemplated commenting back. 

I told myself to count to 10 – no – 30. Actually, 60. I thought to myself, “This is it, this is the straw that breaks the camel’s back. After nearly five years of silence, I can’t hold my tongue on this one.”

My comment read: “Funny, my dad’s a fourth-generation farmer and rancher, and he adopted a person of color who works on the ranch with him. Don’t group agriculture as a whole into this.”

The original poster then accused my father – a hardworking husband and dad; a guy who’s been preaching for 17 years; a man who empties his pockets for the person on the side of the road holding up a “will work for _____” sign; objectively the best man I know – of “adopting free labor,” to which I responded my brother, Zack, gets paid just as any other ranch hand does.

To my surprise, a vegan influencer came to my rescue. They called the original poster “low” for their comments. 

The influencer and the poster battled it out for a while, and then, in the blink of an eye, I couldn’t see the post anymore. 

Upon further investigation by a good friend of mine, the original poster not only blocked me, but deleted my comments, as well as the vegan influencer’s. This means they wanted to make a bold statement, but delete any shred of push back they received.

Now, let’s evaluate this together. Maybe I commented because this post made me instantly ticked, maybe I was a tiny bit hangry, maybe I was in a frustrated mood from falling down a ski-hill all dadgum day and maybe I shouldn’t have done it. 

I mean, I preach being “WARM” – welcoming, approachable, respectful and mindful – all the time. And no, I didn’t really break away from being WARM, but I didn’t really lean into it either.

I guess this post ticked me off so bad because the original poster brought up a stereotype which drives me crazy. 

I’m not naïve, I know racism still exists – I’ve seen it myself and heard it myself. But you can’t group an entire population of people together and say every single person in said population is this way or that way. 

Maybe in the original poster’s experience, most of the farmers and ranchers they encountered were in fact racist. 

But does this really track? I mean, it would be like me saying, “I hate skiing, I’m terrible at it,” and give up on it forever just because my first time down the hill I fell about a dozen times.

I shouldn’t write off skiing forever; this person shouldn’t write off farmers and ranchers as racists forever; and I can’t let them influence others to do the same thing when there’s a prime example of a ranching, anti-racist who raised me.

I guess the point I’m trying to make here is this: There’re some things you can’t help but stand up for, and it’s okay to fight back if you’ve got the ammo.

Another agvocate and I discussed this encounter briefly after it happened. She said she commented on the original post as well but low and behold, her comment was also deleted and she was then blocked. 

I told her this was the closest thing we’ll ever get to a win over someone like this – their opinion may not change, but at least they feel threatened enough by the truth to censor it from their followers.

Looking back, I think I have to view this post as an opportunity to educate rather than venom poisoning the minds of the original poster’s followers. 

It was an opportunity for me to educate their followers for the few hours my comment was still live. 

It was an opportunity for me to practice engaging with anti-ags without being blinded by rage. And above all, it was an opportunity for me to stand up for farmers and ranchers in regard to a statement I know for a fact is blatantly false.

This was a small win for ag in my book. One of these days, the tiny battles will add up and we’ll win the war on agriculture. 

But today, I make a new vow: I’m going to do everything I possibly can to make sure we have a victory in the long run – and I promise, I won’t break this one.

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    Antia-Ag About Race
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