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Our Hen House on the Evening News, Debating the Farm Bureau

By Mariann Sullivan — September 19, 2013

1186709_10151834510788904_1109752044_nTwo appearances on the evening news, talking about factory farming, cruelty, food sustainability, (the myth of) “humane” meat?!?  Who could have guessed we would have such an amazing opportunity?

During our recent trip to Virginia to speak at Vegan Night Out (an inspiring and wonderful event, I might add, which we will talk about on an upcoming podcast episode), we were invited by local TV station, WHSV, to appear with anchorman Bob Corso on his nightly interview. Before we went on, we figured the questions would be mostly about where we get our protein, and that we would have to struggle to get the animal issues in. But no — this was an interviewer who really wanted to know what was happening to animals on modern farms!

Well, we told him. Questions ranged from what the mission of Our Hen House is; to where the worst cruelty to animals is found; to how poor people will be able to afford food without factory farming. After we were finished shooting, Jasmin and I were in shock; did we really just get 5 whole minutes of (mainstream) air time talking about the problems with animal agriculture, and the glaringly obvious solution? Turns out, we were not the only ones who were perplexed by the platform we’d been given. Not surprisingly, our interview apparently ruffled some feathers.

After the Farm Bureau demanded equal time, I was asked back the next night to debate a Farm Bureau representative. This time, the discussion ranged from what conditions are for laying hens, to what “family farm” really means, to whether factory farming is the norm. The representative and I, needless to say, did not see eye to eye. One thing I had on my side that she did not have on hers were the facts. If I do say so myself, I think it went pretty well. But judge for yourself.

We are thrilled that WHSV and Bob Corso tackled these topics. If you are so inclined, leave a comment on the station’s website, or visit their Facebook page, or Bob’s Facebook page, to thank them for going where so few television stations are willing to go.






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(11) Readers Comments

  1. Chrystene
    September 20, 2013 at 1:25 am

    You were great, Mariann! Gracious, clear, well-spoken, and as you said, you had your facts straight. and... what the -- cutting chickens beaks isn't done anymore!!?? And her grandpa is nice to his dairy cows? How does he treat his veal calves? Has she been cryogenically frozen on some Norman Rockwell farm circa 1940 and just thawed out for this program? Wow. Great work you.

  2. Mariann Sullivan
    September 20, 2013 at 8:01 am

    Thanks, Chrystene! It does make one wonder what's going on at the Farm Bureau...

  3. gretchen primack
    September 20, 2013 at 11:32 am

    you guys were tremendous, and that woman in the response was so ignorant, and mariann handled her so beautifully.

    • Jasmin Singer
      September 20, 2013 at 5:02 pm

      thank you so much, gretchen! xo

  4. Stewart
    September 21, 2013 at 7:30 am

    Hey you two, You both did a great job the first night, and how wonderful that the Farm Bureau asked for equal time, so that the message could get more media attention and Mariann could wipe the floor with their spokesperson. If anyone has their car, home, or other insurance with the Farm Bureau, be aware that your premiums support their anti-animal lobbyists, spokespersons, etc. Switch to another insurance carrier, and urge your friends and families to do the same.

  5. Stewart
    September 21, 2013 at 7:42 am

    By the way, Mariann, that was a great way to put it, that the rich eat animals and the poor eat nothing! It reminded me of a quote from another great thinker and social justice activist who preceded you, Gandhi, who said "The cows of the rich eat the food of the poor."

  6. Kristen
    September 22, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    So proud of you ladies for speaking up for animals in such a powerful way. Special props to Mariann, as I know how introverts do not necessarily love making television appearances! Very impressed that the news program was interested in doing a small segment on animal rights. May this be the start of a growing trend.

  7. Bunnyhugger
    September 24, 2013 at 10:28 pm

    I love you ladies! I just watched both videos and was very impressed. .. Such grace under pressure... And you managed to fit so much into such short segments. As a fellow introvert I feel your pain, Mariann, but you didn't let it show!. You both give me so much hope and much to aspire to. Thank you for all you do. I can just feel anxieties rising at farm bureaus across the land!



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