Messages About Pig Farming

A full-page ad in today's Wall Street Journal tells us why pig farmers use antibiotics. The "We Care" initiative of two pork associations strives to "promote responsible practices in all areas of farming and is a commitment to continuously evaluate and improve our methods." 

The website highlights healthy practices for pig farming, particularly defending the use of antibiotics. 


The controversy was elevated recently when Subway announced it would serve pork without antibiotics. This organization differs:

"When Subway recently announced-that soon all meat served in its restaurants would be sourced from farms that use no antibiotics at any time-some folks cheered. But, the thing is, all meat sold in the U.S. is inspected by USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service for consumer safety and must meet the same high standards regardless of production methods. Furthermore, it's not practical to never use antibiotics on a farm." 

On its website, the organization highlights "5 Ways Subway Got It Wrong" and why antibiotics are important for food safety, animal health, humane treatment, sustainability, and consumer pricing. 

Subway's announcement included this graphic: 

Subway antibiotics

The opening paragraph of the press release follows: 

"SUBWAY® Restaurants announced today that it has elevated its current antibiotic-free policy. The brand recently communicated a commitment to transition to only serving chicken raised without antibiotics important to human medicine. Today, the brand confirmed that it is beginning to transition to serving only protein from animals that have never received antibiotics across all of its 27,000+ U.S. restaurants in early 2016."

Discussion Starters: 

  • Analyze the organization's argument on its website. Which arguments are most and least convincing? How effective do you find the graphics, fonts, and other visual elements?
  • Analyze Subway's infographic. Consider the text, graphics, color, and so on.
  • After reading the related messages, what's your view about using antibiotics?