I’m sure “watching Oprah” is not at the top of your to-do list this fall, but you might find something interesting next week. On Tuesday, October 14, the Oprah Winfrey show is taking on animal agriculture – and one Illinois farmer has a starring role.
Matt Kellogg is a hog farmer from Oswego, Illinois, and also a college classmate of mine. He taped the show one day this past week, and gave National Geographic reporter (and frequent Oprah contributor) Lisa Ling a day-long tour of his operation. The good news is that Oprah had a diverse set of opinions represented – including himself, a “happy pigs” organic hog farmer from Iowa, and a well-known vegan who’s publicly stated that his goal is to end animal agriculture in America. The bad news, as Matt relates, is that it’s hard to tell what tone the show will take following the editing process.
The vegan involved is also leading a charge in California to pass Proposition 2, called “The prevention of cruelty to animals.” And as Matt relates, after reading that much, who wouldn’t vote for it? Should the proposition pass, Matt says it would increase the cost of food, as there’s no way to raise the numbers of animals necessary to feed the world in the manner it suggests. His vegan co-star appeared to understand that, as well. (says Matt, “refer back to elimination of animal agriculture”)
Furthermore, Matt adds: “The guy on the show is a Yale grad, Washington Lobbyist, that has never taken care of a single farm animal! Yet he feels the need to tell me how to raise pigs. He spouts number and stats (half of which are bold-faced lies) and paints a false image of animal agriculture. He is a good speaker and likes to talk over people and over their heads to impress them.”
Matt did feel that both Lisa Ling and the audience was friendly to his side, offering him a long round of applause. “A number of people came up to me after the show and told me that they agreed and were upset that things can become laws this way. A woman, a vegetarian at that, even approached me and thanked me for telling my side and expressed how she was on my side.”
Guess we’ll have to tune in to see how it all shakes out. Regardless, Matt certainly had the opportunity of a lifetime to share agriculture’s story with an enormous national audience – and one that arguably makes the vast majority of grocery-buying decisions in this country.