Farm Ireland

Thursday 22 February 2018

Why not everyone was impressed by Mark Zuckerberg's farm visit

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

When Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg visited a farm in South Dakota recently, he praised farmers but not all his Facebook followers were impressed.

The social media magnate said he has always thought people should be thankful and understand where food comes from.

Indeed, he said that for a year he set a goal to only eat meat that he killed and helped butcher himself.

Zuckerberg highlighted that a lot of US cattle start their lives in South Dakota where he said there are about three times as many cows as people.

Posted by Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday, July 12, 2017

“South Dakota is in its third year of a bad drought, and that makes it tough to feed the cattle.

“One of the ranchers told me it's the worst drought he can remember -- and maybe the worst since the 1930s,” he said.

Zuckerberg visited  the Norman family on their 2,500 acre cattle ranch. He said the family will probably need to shrink their herd of 500 cattle by 10-15pc since that's all the land can support.

“The Normans are proud of the work they do - not just feeding the country, but helping provide things like insulin, leather and makeup ingredients that also come from cattle.

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“Families like theirs don't always get a lot of credit, but we depend on the work they do,” he said.

However, Zuckerberg came in for some criticism on Facebook, after he posted details and pictures of the visit, with members of the vegetarian and vegan communities among the most vocal.

Posted by Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday, July 12, 2017

One facebook use said “It is not good to killing animals for food with your own hands. How you can sleep at night after doing all this. Please ask your lovely daughter what she says about killing and eating a cow who gives you milk.”

Another posted : "Disappointed " and "Disgusted" are understatements for what you believe is "true" regarding animal agriculture . This shows you show no compassion by encouraging animal cruelty and exploitation.”

However, Zuckerberg also drew praise from the farming community with many Facebook users saying the farming sector is often overlooked.

One user said “Thanks Mark for taking the time to highlight agriculture and where our food comes from. All to often people make judgements without getting the facts. Not all land is suited for growing plants, livestock allow us to use this land for production to feed the world.”

While another said “I think this is amazing. It is so important for people to understand where their food comes from. Cattle are more than just meat. They provide over 500 by-products to consumers.”

Zuckerberg's post has been shared by over 16,000 people on Facebook and been reacted to by over a quarter of a million people.

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