Ryan Goodman is a generational rancher from Arkansas with a degree in Animal Science from Oklahoma State University in Animal Science, and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree at the University of Tennessee, studying beef cattle management. He is one of many farmers using social media to bridge the gap between farmers and urban customers. Follow his story daily at AgricultureProud.com or on Twitter and Facebook.
A few weeks ago, I received a Facebook message out of the blue asking to stop my support of animal abuse. The person behind the message said I may not realize it, but she believes what I do for a living is inherently cruel.
She described things she feels are wrong with animal agriculture - how baby calves are used for veal production, how cows are sucked dry of their milk until they can no longer function, and how pigs and chickens are crammed into crates to the point where they cannot move. She believes that livestock farming needs to end in favor of plant-based diets to feed the world's population.
Vegetarians are (mostly) not here just to ruin your good time. Really. I swear. I was one, myself for seven years and all I wanted at a cookout was to hang out with my friends, and not have to worry that the omnivores would gobble up all the meat-free sides before I got to the table.
Here are a few of my favorite ways to celebrate the bounty of the season and make sure all my guests leave full and satisfied - no matter how they choose to chow down.
Our explainer on gestation crates and the controversy around them hit home with a lot of our readers. At last count, over 800 of them - consumers, chefs, farmers and activists - weighed in on animal rights, the toll on farmers, the practical aspects of farming and so much more.
Here is a sampling from the ongoing discussion, and don't miss HLN host Jane Velez-Mitchell's take on why the ten-year plan to phase out crates just isn't soon enough and a debate on ethical slaughter.
How will the farmers fare?
The message may be kind and timely, but do outrageous tactics undermine vegans' central mission?
Previously - Are kids too young to understand veganism?
Parents have many talks with their kids as they grow up. There's the "birds and the bees" talk and the "sharing is caring" talk, or even the "don't be a bully" talk. Now, author Ruby Roth wants parents to have the "If it's too scary to talk about while we're eating, it's too scary to eat" discussion with their children.
Roth is talking about veganism. Like vegetarians, vegans don't eat meat, but they take that philosophy a few steps further. Vegans won't consume or use any products that contain any part of an animal. For example, they don't eat eggs or dairy and won't wear leather.
Visit Eatocracy’s new home
Don't miss a single new story. Visit us at our (temporary) new home on CNN.com