Nov. 29 2017 07:00 AM

The time has come for farmers to stand up to animal rights activists.

For years now, animal rights activists have been actively involved in every animal industry including dairy, hog, and poultry to name a few. For years they have slandered the name of your industry, company, and the name you passed down to your children, with no mercy. For years they have stood in the way of trucks going to market, they have shut down processing plants, and they have tainted our names by spreading false narratives.

More recently in California, an animal rights activist group kept a specific dairy under surveillance for almost a year, trespassed numerous times, stole a calf from its hutch, made a video demonizing the dairy and its co-op, and held protests near the dairy all the while local news outlets covered the story. The best part? They openly admitted to spying on the facility, trespassing numerous times, and thievery because they know they will get away with it.

These groups are running rampant and everyone is scared to put their foot down and say enough is enough! These activist groups are out there actively planning thefts and disruptions to our facilities, trying to find ways to shut down the barn yard industries, and we are supposed to sit back and let them walk all over us? Bull!

I grew up in a household that did not believe in starting fights. If you could walk away from a fight then you did. But if the fight was brought to you, you finished it. Well, I’m here to tell you the fight is here and we as an industry have tried talking our way out of it for years. We have been nothing but giving. We have always turned the other cheek. But I’m done. If they want a fight, then let the dust fly!

We as an industry, not just dairy but all of agriculture, need to start standing up for each other in unison. The days of watching your neighbor as they got attacked and then muttering to yourself “Thank God that is not me” are over. We have all done that for too many years. We cannot let these groups slander our names and our businesses any longer.

They need to learn that they are not above the law. They need to learn that there are consequences for disturbing the peace, slander, trespassing, and theft. These people have confused our passiveness and politeness for weakness. It is time they learn the truth.

By no means am I condoning violence. Physical altercations are not the answer. Our power is in numbers and truths. We as the agriculture industry need to start acting like a team. Do you want to play?

Tyler Ribeiro

Tyler Ribeiro is a fourth-generation dairy farmer born and raised in California. He is currently partners with his father at Rib-Arrow Dairy in Tulare where they proudly ship their milk to Land O’Lakes. Tyler is actively involved in the dairy industry, holding leadership roles in various organizations locally and across the United States.