A friend called my attention to this Reason Magazine blogpost about a recent Farm Bureau poll. It's a strange one - check it out at: http://reason.com/blog/show/123776.html.
They have made the assumption through some faulty logic that people must not mind animal suffering and tried to justify existing farm conditions with the poll. Their conclusion is that people prefer that 11,500 animals suffer rather than one human. They didn't describe the suffering though - and certainly didn't show it. I bet if I polled the same people but gave them information about the animal suffering vs. the human suffering the result would be different. Also, the suffering to the human appears to be an implied economic one, while the suffering on animals is physical and psychological/emotional. It is interesting also to note that the question supposes there is a new technology which can only help either one human or x number of animals - a ridiculous proposition to begin with. Further, the animal suffering is needlessly inflicted by humans on animals, while presumably the human suffering is not (if it is physical suffering).
On a semi-related note, I was reading a book yesterday that described the killing of some animals for the fur trade by literally sticking a red hot poker up their asses, so as to leave no mark on the skin which would be created by a knife cut, bullet wound, or other means of killing. It seems even poison would be a kinder (though more expensive and therefore apparently ruled out) method of killing than that. The question posed was would women still enjoy wearing fur if they knew how much the animal suffered in death. Obviously, they don't mind buying fur and know the animal died, but knowing HOW it died may well impact their choices. Likewise, people buy factory farmed meat, and don't mind eating other creatures, but if they knew the conditions the animal lived in and the pain it suffered in death (many chickens being literally boiled alive, or other animals being cut apart alive when the machines in the factory don't perform as planned, or hundreds of other examples of suffering) perhaps it would affect their choices. In fact, as more people learn about farming practices more and more people try to buy free range and humane raised meats and organic products.
Too bad Farm Bureau is spending it's time trying to justify rather than reform cruel farming practices. There are many family farmers who care a great deal about the welfare of their animals and are members of that organization - every one of them should complain.