Name of Intervention/ Program
Food Animal Concerns Trust – Healthy and Humane Food Campaign

Background and Situation Analysis
Since 1982, Food Animal Concerns Trust (FACT) has envisioned a world in which all food-producing animals are raised in a humane and healthy manner, and where everyone has access to safe and humanely produced food. More recently, FACT has worked to increase awareness about antibiotic-resistant superbugs and carcinogenic chemicals in the animal feed of factory farms — which can pose risks for people, animals and the environment — by calling on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to prohibit the routine use of medically important antibiotics for disease prevention. Antibiotic-resistant “superbugs” cause approximately 1.27 million deaths globally each year. They kill someone in the United States every 15 minutes. The major cause of the spread of superbugs is the overuse of antibiotics; but the FDA, who is tasked with making sure that drugs are safe, has consistently failed to address this overuse. A huge portion of the overuse occurs in the production of meat, where almost twice as many antibiotics are used as when treating sick people. The meat industry relies on antibiotics to maintain productivity in the unsanitary facilities where most food animals are kept. The FDA supports this unsustainable system by approving drugs that allow the meat industry to be profitable despite the terrible conditions in which animals are raised. Much work is left undone, including creating a system to collect data on antibiotic use and prohibiting the continuous use of antibiotics in feed, but FACT’s efforts have so far culminated in a Telly and Davey Award-winning video campaign, as well as the FDA publishing its intent to withdraw approval of the carcinogenic drugs.

Priority Audiences(s)
Our primary audiences included medical professional societies and associations, as well as patients and vulnerable populations, with an eye toward these groups putting pressure on the FDA. These populations were specified as people who have treated, experienced or are currently experiencing related illnesses or are at-risk for antibiotic-resistant infections.

Behavioral Objectives
With the goal of convincing the FDA to fulfill its public health mission by restricting or prohibiting dangerous animal antibiotics, we prioritized three main objectives: 1. Increasing awareness of the connection between antibiotic use in farming and the threat to human health. 2. Increasing demand for policy changes that place prohibitions/restrictions on antibiotic use in farming. 3. Increasing corporate leadership in purchasing animal products that prohibit overuse and/or misuse of antibiotics in their raising of livestock animals, particularly from Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs). To fulfill these, FACT prioritized the creation of a video series, op-ed placement, interviews and consumer-facing messaging. We measured success through earned placements and action taken by the FDA.

Description of Strategy/Intervention
After conducting a situational analysis that included staff interviews, media content analysis and a message review, FACT created a strategic communications plan aimed at elevating the conversation around dangers of antibiotic misuse in farming by showcasing subject matter experts. To achieve this, we focused on four approaches. 1. Conducting proactive and reactive earned media outreach to secure strategic media placements, including feature articles, spokespersons’ expert commentary and op-eds. 2. Placement in podcasts through a podcast media tour, including outreach to top food, health, agriculture and policy podcasts. 3. Utilizing the new FACT blog to serve as a virtual think tank with the mission of putting an end to the wrongs of factory farming, expanding humane farming, and providing wider access to healthy, humanely produced food. Consistent and frequent posts dedicated to the issues of antibiotic misuse in farming, with promotion through partners and social media, built out this approach. 4. Creating a video series highlighting the dangers of antibiotic-resistant superbugs and calling for change in the FDA’s policies.

Two spokesperson training sessions were conducted to prepare for media interviews. Related outreach included top food, health, agriculture and policy podcasts. Media personnel were provided with spokesperson bios, background resources and video content. Tailored talking points were developed for each spokesperson, as well as general talking points. For earned media outreach, we conducted proactive and reactive pitching to earn strategic media placements, including feature articles, spokespersons’ expert commentary and op-eds. Priority media outlets included science and medicine publications, mainstream progressive and policy online outlets and top-tier national outlets such as Politico, The Hill, STAT, The Messenger, Nature, Agweek, Progressive Farm, Feedstuffs and others. We developed and placed three op-eds in STAT and The Messenger, as well as coordinated an interview tour resulting in 13 placements including radio, podcasts and a feature in Grit Magazine. Features included national programs such as Doug Stephan’s American Family Farmer, In the Rising Podcast: A Health and Wellness program and Talk Farm to Me, as well as Get Connected — a radio program aired across New York City and the tri-state area. We also collaborated on blog posts, infographics and other videos outside of the award-winning series featuring content that outlined the risks of overusing antibiotics and emphasized the importance of purchasing from sustainable farmers. A social media strategy was developed and enacted to position FACT as a thought leader, to build awareness of, support for, and action around expanding humane farming, and to ensure a safe and healthy food supply by expanding FACT’s digital tool integration and targeted audience engagement. This was made possible through the development of recommended goals, key audiences, key messaging, strategies and tactics, performance benchmarks, key audience growth strategies, and implementation approaches for each major social media platform. The highlight of the social media strategy was the development and distribution of a five-part video series explaining the dangers of carbadox. This video was distributed by the 19-organization coalition Keep Antibiotics Working.

Evaluation Methods and Results
For more than five years, the FDA has acknowledged the carcinogenic properties of carbadox, yet it still remained on the market. Our efforts helped advance overdue policy change with the FDA publishing its intent to withdraw approval of the carcinogenic drugs. In addition, our five-part video series won a Telly Award and a Davey Award.

Entry Letter: T