A group affiliated with the advocacy group "People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals" staged a protest outside of Sioux Falls' John Morrell plant this afternoon, to highlight what it says is the inhumane treatment of animals throughout the U-S food chain. A Dell Rapids hog farmer is defending those protestors tonight...but only to a certain point.
The protest caught many off guard but it also caught everyone's attention: two of the protestors, naked and covered in fake blood, laying in oversized meat containers and wrapped up in cellophane. All of it meant to send a message and change minds. Leila Sleiman is with PETA. "PETA is here to remind people that whether it's a person, a pig or a chicken...flesh is flesh...before these animals are killed for their flesh and end up in cellophane, they suffer greatly."
PETA consistently earns the ire of ag producers with protests like this one. We were able to catch up with Dell Rapids hog farmer Bruce Burkhart, who told us while a vegetarian lifestyle is fine, there has to be balance. "If we choose not to eat meat I'm concerned about the source of protein then...our bodies do need protein." Burkhart then surprised us by saying he supports the folks from PETA and their protest efforts, saying his father and two of his kids have military backgrounds and fought for freedom of speech. "I will stand beside anyone and fight for their freedom of speech but when that freedom of speech they are exercising includes misinformation or disinformation that's kind of what I'm concerned about."
PETA says it is not in the misinformation business. they want people to realize that animals die so people can eat meat...and they wish that would change. "What many people don't realize is that animals feel fear and pain, just like you and I."
PETA says people who chose a vegan lifestyle decrease their risk of heart disease, stroke and cancer.
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