Is Boycotting Worth It?
You know a list of people we’d like to prevent from harming our interests. Most people find comfort in, “simple” lists. Unfortunately, life is not so simple.
Recently an animal industry publication published a list of entertainers they branded as “anti-agriculture.” The posting went on to encourage a boycott of the performances these entertainers are involved in such as film, video, live music, etc.
But this list had people who have worked with other more conservative entertainers and some are even cross listed for being Republicans. So boycotts hurt whom again?
For every boycotted entertainer, some 60 or more additional workers are potentially hurt. These are people who may have any variety of viewpoints including more conservative views. These include teamsters, shippers, electricians, gaffers, grips, sound engineers, lighting specialists, entertainment finance and banking, printers, and some are even the same marketing, advertising, and production enterprises that serve animal agriculture, too.
Is there anyone in the country who doesn’t realize that marketing for a professional athlete or performer in Hollyweird is a do-what’s-trendy-today proposition that may switch 180 degrees tomorrow?
The animal industries irrationally focus on a profound minority critical of some or all their products or production practices. What’s missed is what is at the root of the industries’ collective public relations vulnerability—a positive, sustained focus on their primary stakeholders.
As of 2008, only 3.2 percent of U.S. adults, or 7.3 million people, followed a vegetarian-based diet. It was 1 percent in 1971 or about 2.1 million people. No huge movement there. In 2008, about 0.5 percent, or 1 million, of those are vegans, who consume no animal products at all and the total remains about the same today.
We have 312.5 million people in the U.S. Most of them—some 80 to 90 percent collectively—eat meat, wear leather, own animals, use a multitude of animal industry by-products, and care little if animals are used appropriately and humanely in teaching, research, service, and slaughtered for our diet. That is the market and should be the only primary focus now and for the future for the animal industries.
Most other industries would love to have the market share the animal industries have. Yet, the industry wastes enormous amounts of time, money, and precious effort trying to bloody the noses of fickle entertainers or people with different-than-my eating habits. Instead, they should be stewarding the very consumers who buy their products.
The thought is not lost on other product marketers. Take a look at any football broadcast and see how many beer ads feature young people cooking meat. How about TV and Internet ads for restaurant chains; see many that are not featuring meat or seafood; much of the latter farmed now, too? Car ads often include pets. Dodge trucks uses cattlemen, wranglers, horses, and cattle as the parsley garnish for their ads. And a gecko sells insurance while a talking dog sells online dating sites.
If the animal industries were as negative as a miniscule number of activists would have us believe, no marketer in their right mind would feature them in advertising.