We are adopting political campaign tactics now in this industry, and I would argue it’s not a positive step. One of the sad developments in the GIPSA debate has been the constant parade of personal attacks. This week, R-CALF called out Western Kentucky University’s Nevil Speer, an animal science professor and Ph.D. who has an MBA and brings a worthwhile perspective to many economic issues.

One of Speer’s articles was passed out in a packet of information at a Nebraska Cattlemen meeting. The R-CALF alert, which characterized the information as packer propaganda, actually went into some detail trying to make the case that Speer is a part of a packer conspiracy that has the goal of destroying independent cattlemen.

I know Speer and he is not a lackey for the packing industry. What’s more, these types of attacks are outside the realm of common decency and are simply unethical. He may not agree with you, he could even be wrong, but his opinions are based on sound data and his motivations and commitment to this industry should not be questioned.

When someone resorts to attacking the messenger, they must have trouble with the message. Attempting to demonize men of good character to achieve a political aim may be accepted practice in elections, and it may even be effective, but making these types of unfounded allegations is simply wrong. And, if they actually believe them, it becomes downright scary.

Speer loves the industry and has always been committed to the next generation of producers; it’s not a coincidence that he became a college professor. He may not share R-CALF’s views on how to better the industry, but he deserves far more respect than what he got in this latest attack.