Was PETA at your state fair this year? Although this dates a few weeks back, I thought this story was worth sharing. Apparently, PETA made its first attempts at participating in the Texas State Fair this year. Any guesses on how the Lone Star State responded?
According to this blog featured in the Dallas Observer, animal-rights zealots with PETA hoped to have a booth at the fair to share their propaganda with the masses of the South.
In a letter to the state fair board, the group writes, "Greetings from PETA. We are writing to request outdoor exhibit space at the state fair for a thought-provoking twist on the traditional 4-H booth--one revealing the damaging side of animal agriculture that the public is increasingly curious about. PETA's display will represent a more realistic side of the meat, dairy, and egg industries, with the four H's standing for 'hellish for animals,' 'hazardous to the environment,' 'heart attack-inducing,' and 'hypocritical for teaching kids to care about only certain animals and to disregard others.'
"We will screen this video narrated by Sir Paul McCartney, which illustrates these points through undercover video footage from factory farms and slaughterhouses, where animals have their throats slit while they are still conscious and are even skinned alive. The video also shares data from the United Nations about the meat trade's devastating impact on lakes and rivers, as well as various health studies about how meat contributes to the obesity epidemic, heart disease and cancer. The display will also include free copies of PETA's vegetarian/vegan starter kit."
Of course, the Texas State Fair sent the PETA boys packing, but obviously, the organization has been successful in sharing messages like these at other events. As far as the organization's four H's go, I have a few thoughts.
PETA says, 'hellish for animals,' I say that ranchers have a deep respect for the animals and follow National Beef Quality Assurance practices to ensure healthy, happy animals and a safe, wholesome end product.
PETA says 'hazardous to the environment,' I say that ranchers were green before green was cool. We are the original environmental stewards. Sustainability is our middle name as we make strides to leave the land better than we found it and improve upon it for generations to come.
PETA says 'heart attack-inducing,' I say animal protein and fats, (yes, I said fats) are an essential part of a healthy, well-balanced diet. Fat is a natural component in food and an important part of a healthy diet. Protein is an important fuel that helps us feel satiated and packs a slow-burning energy punch like nothing else. Back to fats found in beef, did you know half the fatty acids in lean beef are monounsaturated, the same heart-healthy type found in olive oil? And, about 1/3 of beef's total saturated fat is stearic acid, which has been shown to have a neutral effect on blood cholesterol levels in humans.
PETA says 'hypocritical for teaching kids to care about only certain animals and to disregard others,' I say one of the first lessons I learned on the ranch is the circle of life. I think Nebraska rancher Trent Loos says it best, "Everything lives; everything dies; but death with a purpose gives full meaning to life." This 'H' is reminiscent of CNN's blog this summer accusing 4-H youth of being cold-blooded killers for harvesting their show steers at the end of the summer. Read the blog here.
There's only one 'H' in my book, and that's "Heck no, PETA." The science, emotion and truth is on our side. Now it's high time for us ranchers to band together and share the good news of beef production with the world. Saddle up; let's get to work!