Animal rights activists masquerading as consumers

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Consumer demand is powerful. It can be the champion of a company’s success or the culprit of their failure. What I find even more interesting is how consumer demand is defined. Does a group of people with no intention of ever buying a restaurant’s product qualify as their consumer? With the avalanche of recent restaurant and retail pledges caving to pressure from animal rights organizations, it seems so.

At the Animal Agriculture Alliance’s recent Stakeholders Summit, speakers offered insights about consumer demand – suggesting consumers aren’t the ones demanding restaurants and grocery stores to change their supply chain policies at all. Dr. Dan Thomson of Kansas State University stated, “activists today are masquerading as the consumers.”

I have yet to hear a person order their chicken sandwich only with meat from “slower-growing” chickens, so Thomson’s statement didn’t surprise me. Although I understand why restaurants adopt certain sourcing policies in the face of mounting activist pressure, it would be refreshing to see a company stand up against the “self-appointed food police” as Diane Sullivan, an anti-poverty and affordable food advocate calls them. Thankfully, there is still at least one brand with a backbone – Domino’s Pizza.

Tim McIntyre of Domino’s Pizza

Tim McIntyre from Domino’s shared how the pizza company hears from animal rights “extremists” all the time, but they value the hard work of farmers and ranchers and will never make a policy announcement threatening farmers’ livelihoods [cue standing ovation].

Animal rights organizations hide behind the guise of being concerned about animal care and well-being, but in reality they are campaigning for animal rights. No matter how well animals are cared for, if it benefits humans in any way it is unacceptable in their eyes. The pressure campaigns are about one thing – driving up the cost of production and in the end, consumer costs to put farmers and ranchers who raise meat, milk and eggs out of business.

I urge the consumers who don’t want to be bullied by animal rights organizations to take a page out of Domino’s playbook and stand up and take action. A simple thank you to our favorite restaurant or the manager at your grocery store can go a long way.


  1. Animal activists are potential consumers. There are animal-free alternatives for every animal product. Businesses that don’t strive to be cruelty-free will limit themselves to a smaller customer base. Businesses like Dominos would make more money if they catered to all consumers. Their “backbone” seems to be interfering with their business sense.

    1. Their “backbone” could interfere with gaining a few very vocal consumers. On the other hand, how numerous or desirable are those consumers? What are the odds they’d ever eat at Domino’s?

      Changing practices would likely lose Domino’s other consumers who boycott places like Chipotle and Subway. I mean, would you actually purchase from a place that demonizes your family, friends, and livelihood?

      How have food fads become this status symbol thing anyway?

  2. Businesses like Dominos understand that making demands on the farmers that source their food will increase costs. Eventually those costs must be placed on the consumer. Raising their prices to satisfy a minority of unlikely consumers, is not good business.

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