BEEF Daily

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly: 3 Things You Need To Know Today

From horse slaughter, to Dr. Oz, to acts of animal abuse, here is what ranchers are talking about this week.

I’ve poured over this week’s buzz and rounded up three of the most popular items being discussed by farmers and ranchers on social media right now. Here is the good, the bad and the ugly on these hot topics.

1. Horse Slaughter in the U.S.

The Good: A judge has cleared the way for a horse slaughter plant to open.

According to, “As early as next week, horses may be slaughtered and butchered for their meat for the first time in seven years in the U.S. A federal judge in New Mexico in a ruling cleared the way for a meat company in that state to begin slaughtering horses. U.S. District Judge Christina Armijo dismissed a lawsuit by animal welfare groups that had sought to prevent plants from starting up again.”

This ruling would help restore the health of our horse population in the U.S. Plus, it would eliminate poor treatment of the horses in other countries, where they now have to be shipped. Like it or not, being able to slaughter horses in a federally-regulated and inspected plant ensures these animals are harvested with respect and dignity, instead of left to the mercy of long truck rides, poor handling and/or neglect or abandonment.

The Bad: Not so fast. Horse slaughter has been halted just days after the ruling.

Fox News reports, “A federal appeals court has temporarily put the brakes on plans to resume horse slaughter for human consumption in the U.S., after a New Mexico judge last week dismissed a push by animal rights groups to stop the practice. The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver issued a temporary injunction barring the Department of Agriculture from inspecting the plants. Slaughterhouses in New Mexico and Missouri had hoped to start up as soon as this week after the federal judge in Albuquerque threw out a lawsuit by the Humane Society of the U.S. and other animal protection groups.”


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2. FFA Students Raising Beef Cattle

The Good: FFA supports young people who are interested in learning about production agriculture. From coast-to-coast, urban and rural students alike are getting new opportunities to get hands-on experience in raising livestock.

The Bad & The Ugly: One local FFA student’s steer was set on fire at a school barn.

According to KSBY, “Paso Robles police are looking for clues to find out who set a steer on fire. It happened recently at the Paso Robles High School agriculture barn. The five-month old steer was found by its owner when he stopped by to feed the animal.”

This act of animal cruelty is intolerable. I suspect this was the act of animal rights activists, but no word has been reported on the culprit yet. Needless to say, no acts of animal cruelty should be tolerated by our industry. Whether this was intended to be a sick practical joke or malicious act of violence, this is an unfortunate story where both the FFA student and the steer have been made victims.

3. Bridging The Gap From Producers To Consumers

The Good: More people are seeking information about where their food comes from, opening up an opportunity for ranchers to get involved in the conversation. Programs like the Masters of Beef Advocacy can help prepare ranchers for conversations with the media and consumers.

The Bad: Many consumers are getting their information from a sensational Dr. Oz.

Emily Mottax Webel wrote an excellent blog post explaining how Dr. Oz uses fear-mongering to boost ratings. She responded to a particularly troubling episode where Oz targets farmers.

Webel writes, “When I began to watch the trailer for yesterday's episode, I was nervous. The music alone was nerve wracking. Then, the picture of a combine in a wheat field showed up, dissolving into a corn field waving in the breeze, and then a crop duster (cue even scarier music), followed by ripe fruits and vegetables. All the while, the intense voice over guy was spewing details in regards to the ‘best kept secret in the food industry.’ I watched as Dr. Oz then illustrated the use of pesticides using people spraying small spraying devices on a bucket of corn. Woman after woman joined this illustration, all the while, Dr. Oz was explaining how the use of pesticides since the 90s has increased, and how also we can blame all the miscarriages, learning disabilities and birth defects on us, the evil farmer. But, surprisingly missing during this time was a farmer.”

Read her entire blog post here. 

Do you have any food for thought to offer on these three hot topics? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.


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Discuss this Blog Entry 5

Jo-Claire Corcoran (not verified)
on Nov 6, 2013

I do not understand the beef industry supporting the slaughter of horses for food. The beef industry prides itself on producing a high quality product raised under strict food safety standards and yet, you condone and actively finance the resuming of the slaughtering of an animal not raised for human consumption. Such behavior brings into doubt the ability and or the intent of the beef industry to raise under food safety standards the cattle which are slaughtered for human consumption.

How can I, and other consumers, trust an industry which promotes the slaughter for food of an animal, which violates every food safety standard established and required, to ensure the safety of the end consumer.

I've asked this question several times and have yet to have anyone in the industry answer.

Susan Ottersbach (not verified)
on Nov 6, 2013

Does the beef industry support the slaughter of horses? Do they support the consumption of an animal that is not raised for food, since they are injected with carcinogens that are harmful to humans.

David P (not verified)
on Nov 7, 2013

It would seem that the answer would be to disallow those drugs, test for residues, and heal the horse industry. Many within the beef industry support horse slaughter because we've seen what's happened to the horse industry, the purported abuses of those animals that's happened at unregulated foreign slaughter plants, and we see resuming INSPECTED, HUMANE slaughter as an answer. To ask if the industry is united in this belief shows a clear misunderstanding of the beef industry. We're not united about ANYTHING.

Frank Schlichting (not verified)
on Nov 7, 2013

Why not just use the meat for dog food? oops I forgot some dog owners treat dogs better that their own children.......they would never feed them horse meat! Well cat food then, they have 9 lives anyhow the carcinogens shouldn't bother them!

maxine jones (not verified)
on May 28, 2014

So long as our government allows the indiscriminate breeding of feral horses living on government controlled lands in the western states, and pays very generously to private landowners to house some of those horses there isn't room for on government land, we will have a problem. Add to that the numbers of horses abandoned by owners who found caring for their 'pet' horses to burdensome and costly, and we have a HUGE problem of excess horses.

Demanding an end to consumption of horse meat IN OTHER COUNTRIES, is extremely disingenuous of those who do so. Who are they to tell other people what they may not eat???? If the practice of telling others what they shall not consume continues, why not begin with truly pet animals, cats and dogs? They still are eaten in many places in this world.

Obviously, the real intent is elimination of ALL animals as food. The claim of all horses being routinely injected with banned substances is highly suspect as an excuse to end horse slaughter. Do they really know the facts regarding that claim, and whether or not ALL horse meat is sold as food for humans?

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What's BEEF Daily?

BEEF Daily Blog is produced by rancher Amanda Radke, one of the U.S. beef industry’s top social media “agvocates.”


Amanda Radke

Amanda Radke is a fifth generation rancher from Mitchell, S.D., who has dedicated her career to serving as a voice for the nation’s beef producers. A 2009 graduate of South Dakota State...

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