At first blush, one would have thought the recent E-coli 0157:H7 outbreak in the spinach industry would have been a neutral event for cattle. Sure, we've had our issues with E-coli 0157:H7, but we've also made great strides in reducing the problem.
While no one should strive to benefit from a food-safety scare, and one has to feel for spinach growers devastated by the outbreak, one would have thought the increased concern regarding food safety of vegetables wouldn't have been a negative for beef. Yet the beef industry was moved right into the crosshairs, as activist groups pointed at the cattle industry and grain feeding as the cause of the problem. In fact, cattle have been fingered so intensely that it's easy to forget the problem was with spinach.
We're seeing the same tactics being employed over the Florida Congressman exposed as sending obscene and immoral text messages to congressional pages. The media focus is being directed at those who weren't even directly involved. It appears politicians and the anti-beef groups are using the same playbook -- if something bad happens, try to attach blame however you can to advance your agenda.
In fact, just yesterday, media reported on a situation in the celebrity-rich Malibu area of California where the septic tanks of the super-rich are suspected of fouling Pacific shore waters. Environmental officials plan to use DNA testing and court warrants to hunt down the leaky septic tanks.
"When the results of these tests come back, I'll bet that once again we'll find that it's people's meat addiction, not their septic tanks, is causing this pollution," Malibu actress/activist Pamela Anderson wrote in an email, FoxNews reported. "The best thing any of us can do to fight pollution is to adopt a vegetarian diet," she said.
Figure the logic of that one out.
I suspect it won't be long before the anti-beef groups begin to try to link the recent spate of tragic school shootings to beef consumption and modern ag.
-- Troy Marshall