Animal Agriculture Alliance’s President and CEO Kay Johnson Smith will be featured in a new National Geographic Channel series, “Inside: Secret America.” Johnson Smith will appear in a segment captioned, “Animal Undercover,” on July 31, 2013.
The Alliance was approached in late February by series producers and investigative journalists Mariana van Zeller and Darren Foster about a segment focusing on the animal rights movement, undercover videos and farm protection, or so-termed “ag gag,” legislation. The producers indicated they were initially drawn to this topic because of the deceptive and sometimes extreme tactics employed by activist groups. Johnson Smith sat down with van Zeller and discussed the real motivations behind the animal rights movement and the truth about undercover videos.
“The American public has a knowledge gap about farming and ranching; people really don’t have any firsthand knowledge about how food is produced, so they’re very susceptible to videos presented by activist groups. ” said Johnson Smith. “Legislators in many states have stepped up and recognized the importance of agriculture, and have decided to protect our nation’s farm families.”
Van Zeller and Foster also interviewed several members of animal rights groups including Mercy for Animals, a group that frequently uses undercover video footage, often in a misleading way, to disparaged animal agriculture.
“We were pleased that the Alliance would be contacted to appear on a new show airing on a network as prestigious at National Geographic,” said Johnson Smith. “It’s important to engage with journalists--even on such controversial topics--so that agriculture’s story isn’t told by detractors.”
The series, which prominently features van Zeller as the lead correspondent, delves into topics including synthetic marijuana use, assault weapon sales and bath salts. Relying on experts in the field — members of local law enforcement, criminals willing to cooperate, victims with firsthand experience and other experts — Foster and van Zeller, both Peabody Award-winning journalists, provide viewers with an “inside” look into the worlds they're investigating.
The series premiered on the National Geographic Channel in early July and episodes air every Wednesday at 10:00pm EST.