Your Opinion: Livestock comments draw response

Dear Editor:

I mostly try to ignore Joel Timmon and Jeff Flemming’s derogatory comments about the livestock industry and the consumption of meat, knowing that their knowledge comes from slanted sources.

But, I have had enough people ask me if I was going to respond to Timmon’s latest unveracious remarks about, well, livestock and meat, that I just had to.

Contrary to his comments that it has been a “bad” year for meat, it has been a very good one. As the rest of the world grows economically they seek to purchase animal protein and the U.S. is positioned to export what ever they demand. Exports for 2012 are expected to increase 3.6 percent.

For every pathogenic recall of a red meat product (or eggs) there have been recalls of fruits and vegetables with listeria, e-coli, salmonella in lettuce, spinach, radishes, peanuts and tomatoes.

Just recently the arsenic levels of grape and apple juices have caused concern and the fungicide in orange juice has put a halt to its import. And who could forget the deadliest pathogenic food outbreak in 10 years, the killer cantaloupe.

Seriously, no food group is immune and recalls are costly. There will always be a concern on any product that is imported.

Timmon and Flemming want everyone to believe that people who raise livestock are cruel and malicious, that we could not possibly care about the animals that we raise for food and profit.

The ranch that they referred to in Castro County, Texas, is in the heart of the area that has been plagued by an almost two year drought. Several thousand acres of pastureland has burned because of it, killing thousands of livestock and burning many more.

Putting an animal out of it’s misery is the toughest thing to endure if you raise livestock, but it is necessary. A veterinarian is not always available for that feel-good euthanasia that we wish were possible.

To suggest that a pick ax to a cow or calf’s head at a time when the price of each is at an all-time high and these animals are a livelihood source was done callously and without feeling is an insult to all who raise livestock.

These days there is so much information taken out of context or purposely falsified to suit an agenda posted on the Internet. The old saying “if it’s too good to be true, it probably isn’t applies to adulterated allegations.

Issue-oriented letters to the editor in response to this or about other local topics are welcome. All letters should be limited to 400 words. The author's name must appear with the letter, and the name, address and phone number provided for verification. Letters that cannot be verified by telephone will not be published. Send letters for publication to editor@newstribune.com

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