IT has been a long time since I read anything this close to old-time yellow journalism.
"In the Belly of the Beast" by Paul Solotaroff is an artfully written piece of propaganda in Rolling Stone is an artfully written piece of propaganda using all the shrewdly worded emotional strike points favored by domestic terrorist groups like PETA and ALF.
It would delight Sinclair Lewis and thrill Leni Riefenstahl. It's written with the kind of foreboding horror usually reserved for movie trailer voice-overs for films like "Texas Chain Saw Massacre."
The subtitle should get your blood pressure soaring to triple digit numbers: "A SMALL BAND OF ANIMAL RIGHTS ACTIVISTS HAVE BEEN INFILTRATING THE FACTORY FARMS WHERE ANIMALS ARE TURNED INTO MEAT UNDER THE MOST HORRIFIC CIRCUMSTANCES. NOW, THE AGRIBUSINESS GIANTS ARE TRYING TO CRUSH THEM."
Solotaroff contributes articles to Men's Journal and Rolling Stone. He writes for Vanity Fair, GQ, Vogue and the New York Times Magazine, and he's the author of two books: Group and The House of Purple Hearts.
It comes as no surprise that he lives in New York City and that he didn't interview anyone in animal agriculture. I suspect that he gave a review copy to Ingrid Newkirk, the crazy founder of PETA, a cat and dog slaughtering animal rights organization once described as having a media strategy that seems to be three parts B-list celebrities, one part fake blood and five parts boobies. If you have ever seen their ads, you'll understand.
"Belly of the Beast" is a veganistic tome painfully short on reality and scant on facts (www.rollingstone.com/feature/belly-beast-meat-factory-farms-animal-activists). Read it for yourself. I'm sure your non-ag friends will ask you about it. Or maybe just skip it if there is anyone in the room with any sensibility.
Your non-ag friends will ask questions of the "have you quit beating your wife?" sort.
Solotaroff speaks of heroic but plain-looking people bravely sneaking hidden cameras into "dark, filthy, pestilent barns" to "deliver knockdown blows to the Big Meat cabal" and talks of chicken dung piled 6 ft. high.
He mentions animal feed that is "an assortment of trash, including ground glass from light bulbs, used syringes and the crushed testicles of their young."
Wow! He forgot to accuse farmers of selling their children to roving bands of gypsies and the massive tasing of piglets for the amusement of everyone involved in agriculture.
He did quote Wayne Pacelle, big boss of The Humane Society of the United States, describing him in a most bromantic way as "the film-star-handsome president and CEO of the Humane Society, the largest and most powerful nonprofit guardian of animal rights in America."
Can we stop this animal rights crap right now? Please? I am all for animal welfare, but animal rights is a step too far.
The care and feeding of our cattle, sheep, hogs, chickens, turkeys, goats, cats and dogs are the most important thing for 99.9% of people involved in animal agriculture. Searching through thousands of barns and hundreds of slaughtering plants to find a mere 15 minutes of often carefully edited video and using it to slander an entire industry is just what I called it — slander — and it ought to be treated as such.
*Chuck Jolley is president of Jolley & Associates, a marketing and public relations firm that concentrates on the food industry.