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A Campaign for 'Meat Without Drugs'
By: Dwayne W. Waite Jr.
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In these past couple of months, Big Agriculture has been punched repeatedly with public relations and advertising campaigns against many of its practices. Who could forget the "pink slime" issue? That raised so much attention, our stagnant Congress even thought about doing something about it.

Until the lobbyists spoke up. Congress then changed its mind.

In time, the pink slime issue faded away, just as the American Meat Institute had in mind. Now, advocacy groups Consumers Union and FixFood are joining forces to go up against BigAg once again.

This time, it is for Meat Without Drugs.

The campaign is meant to bring awareness to the dangers of raising animals on antibiotics. Though the antibiotics make the animals grow faster, and keep them healthy in all sorts of conditions, the adverse effect is the damage to our soil and water, as well as the creation of "superbugs", viruses and bacteria resistant to antibiotics.

Seems like a high price to pay, doesn't it? Well these two groups and nearly a dozen partner organizations believe so.

Below is a video the campaign is pushing. Produced by Robert Kenner.

The online presence isn't enough. Recently, the group took to NYC for a rally and presented over 500,000 signatures from all over the country to Trader Joe's, requesting that the chain only carries meat from producers that guarantee it was raised without any drugs or antibiotics. The Consumerist reports that the campaign was giving away tote bags too in order to spread the word. No one from Trader Joe's met with Consumers Union, so the rally organizers presented the petition on the spot.

The campaign will more than likely have a positive response from consumers. Its partner organizations, like MomsRising.org, have pretty solid audience bases where the campaign will resonate. What mom will freely give their child meat pumped full of antibiotics if they had an option not to? And with all the attention of obesity in the U.S., which is a disease that can makes it easier to get others, no doubt making the meat choice a cleaner option would also be a salient point.

But people can agree with it all they want. Will the campaign ultimately change anything?  Who knows. Though Not in My Food did a study about the cost of drug-free animals, surely the industry will fight back saying they would have to raise the price. And with the government hanging on the purse strings of the meat industry and its lobbyists, we doubt that any legislation will come about unless it is consumer driven. This campaign is facing an uphill climb, and it has to encourage consumers to demand something different, and create a demand strong enough to force the industry to change.

That's a tall order. Us Americans like our meat. But, we guess, that's the point.

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About the Author
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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