Subtle messages to our youth

On Monday of this week I received an email from an 11 year old niece. In it she asked for my support of her efforts to help the less fortunate in the world. Included in the email was a link to a website that gave a list of 10 actions youth can take to help combat world hunger. While there were many worthwhile activities in the list of actions, number 1 on the list was ‘become a vegetarian’.


Obviously I don’t agree with this action. I replied to my niece with a short note on why animal agriculture is part of the solution to world hunger, rather than the cause of world hunger. Her reply back – I hadn’t thought about that.


My niece is a very caring young person who is developing into an individual who will make a difference in people’s lives in the future. However, the ready access to mis-information that she readily accepted as ‘good’ for humanity is something that we should all be concerned with.


Fortunately for my niece (at least in my opinion), I had ready access to information that broadened her horizon. How many youth around the world are making life changing decisions such as vegetarianism based on what they believe to be good causes?


In the case of the email linkage my niece sent me, I tracked down the source. It was part of a website in Australia that promote vegetarianism, and cleverly hid the message as among a long list of behaviors and actions that few would disagree with.


The National Pork Board is very active in the effort to educate consumers (including youth) on the role of animal agriculture and pork production in the world economy. However, increasingly it will be up to each of us to take every opportunity, such as I did with my niece, to educate people one-on-one about what we do and how we do it.


All of us need to become familiar with the role of animal agriculture in feeding the world so that at every opportunity we can make one more young consumer say – I hadn’t thought about that!

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