business news in context, analysis with attitude

The Wall Street Journal reports on how the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, which represents beef producers, launched a “Masters of Beef Advocacy” (MBA) program two years ago: “The course trains ranchers, feedlot operators, butchers, chefs—anyone, really, who loves a good, thick rib-eye—in the fine art of promoting and defending red meat.

“Nearly 2,000 graduates have completed the program. The cattlemen aim to train at least 20,000 more, in the hope of building a forceful counterweight to the animal-rights advocates who denounce beef production as inhumane, and the vegetarian activists who reject beef consumption as unhealthy.

“The advocacy effort comes at a tough time for the beef industry. Beef consumption in the U.S. plunged from a high of 94 pounds a person in 1976 to less than 62 pounds in 2009, according to the American Meat Institute, a trade group representing beef processors.”

According to the story, “School districts across the country have adopted ‘Meatless Mondays’ and are dishing out bean burritos in lieu of burgers. And this winter, the U.S. Department of Agriculture issued new dietary guidelines advising consumers to replace some of the meat in their diet with seafood.

“Meanwhile, veggie evangelists at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals have turned heads with ever-more-racy campaigns, including sending models clad only in strategically placed leaves of lettuce to hand out tofu hot dogs on street corners nationwide.”

However, “beef has its own celebrity backers - actor Matthew McConaughey has done radio spots - but industry strategists decided that the best way to promote the product was to put the men and women who produce beef front and center. Their goal: convince skeptical consumers that the shrink-wrapped sirloin tips in the supermarket aren't artery-clogging commodities mass-produced on factory farms, but wholesome meals turned out with great care by hard-working families.”
KC's View:
I guess the thing that gets me about all this discussion is that it seems so absolutist. I wish we could get to the point where the people at PETA could promote their agenda without demonizing everybody who disagrees with them.

Here’s where I stand ... and I have the suspicion that a lot of people are just like me:

I like eating meat. I have no moral, ethical or nutritional problem with it. But I also like eating seafood, love pasta, am okay with fruits, and will even nibble on a veggie and put soy milk on my cereal from time to time. My goal is great taste first, decent nutrition second ... and I want as many food-related experiences as possible. I don’t mind when people explain their positions to me, but don’t lecture me and don’t demean my choices...and I promise not to demean yours.