Last week’s blog, in which I related an email conversation with Kevin Sothman with Long View Genetics LLC, spurred Kevin to offer some further thoughts.
“In chart 2, the top five reasons given to eat less beef have to do with health. Two years ago, I had a heart valve transplant. It was because of a genetic defect that we are finding in my family.
“While I was in the hospital, the doctors thoroughly checked me over. I do not have high cholesterol, blocked arteries, high blood pressure, or diabetes. The nurses would come in to give me the medication that I am now on and would ask what I did for a living. When I told them I raised beef, the next question was what medications I was on before coming to the hospital.
“My response was nothing. I didn't even take aspirin for a headache. They were surprised to know that someone who ate beef seven days a week didn't have health problems, and were glad to learn that beef was not a health risk.
“Thirty years ago, a medical student set up a booth at the state cattlemen's convention and gave free cholesterol tests. His goal was to prove that people who ate a higher amount of beef than average would have higher than average cholesterol. The results were just the opposite. I believe the medical profession has caused the beef industry a lot of damage and think they need to do more than what they've done to correct it. P.S. I now have a cow valve in my heart. Everyone teases me that I am now part cow.”
My mother also has a cow valve in her heart. The surgeon gave her a choice of a bovine valve, a pig valve or an artificial valve, which he was pushing. Without hesitation, Mom chose the cow valve. The surgeon was (probably still is) a vegan, and the look of disgust on his face was most satisfying.
Beef has a great health and nutritional story to tell. The beef checkoff, within its budget limitations, does a good job of taking that story to health professionals. But we can do more and it shouldn’t take a hospital stay for beef producers to do a little one-on-one educating.
I am now going to prove myself a hypocrite. I don’t do social media. I suspect many of you who are of my vintage don’t either. I try not to use the word “hate,” but when it comes to computers, I could make an exception.
Yet, BEEF routinely encourages you to use social media to reach consumers with your story. And we should. So, as a good friend and former co-worker would say after we discussed the project at hand, “OK, then. Let’s get about it.”