COLUMNISTS

Radke Report: Clinging to my guns, my bible and my beef, too

Amanda Radke
The Radke Report
Radke

A blogger in South Dakota recently wrote quite the critique about me.

He spent a great deal of time and energy trying to paint me as a lunatic. He didn’t like that I sound the alarms on how animal rights activists, environmental extremists, politicians, celebrities, and a biased media continue to smear the reputations of livestock producers, chip away at our property rights, and ultimately make animal products more expensive for consumers through their efforts.

The target of these ruthless and unrelenting attacks lands squarely on the back of the cow.

Never mind the fact that the beef cow upcycles feedstuffs that would otherwise end up landfills. She also grazes on marginal lands that would otherwise be barren deserts. She takes the grass and grains that she consumes and then converts it into nutrient-dense beef and 100+ life-enriching by-products.

One three-ounce serving of beef provides 25 grams of protein and 10 essential nutrients, as an example. And that nutritious and delicious source of protein is the squeaky wheel in the climate change discussion?

Give me a break.

When used nose-to-tail, the beef animal truly enhances our everyday lives, even the life of this writer who strongly disagrees with my stance.

What was interesting is that he really didn’t appreciate my views on fake meat replacement products, although I’m guessing he never considered the climate impact and the human repercussions that come with highly processed, imitation meats.

In his op-ed, this blogger wrote, “Inventors, manufacturers, salespeople, and other hustlers are out there every day trying to convince people to change their shopping habits and buy new goods and services. Sometimes those new goods and services are brief trends, sometimes they are brilliant and lasting successes, and sometimes they fail and are forgotten. That’s capitalism. Is Radke afraid that beef makers and her other favored Big Ag producers can’t survive healthy capitalist competition?”

Make no mistake — I love capitalism, and I love capturing true market value for my products based on meeting the needs of what the consumer wants. If a healthy competition is what this guy is after, then yes, by all means, please place the synthetic junk next to my ribeyes and T-bones in the meat case, and we’ll see which items sell first.

Based on the tanking stocks of these fake meat companies and the fact that even in a hurricane when the shelves are bare, consumers still pass over the imitation junk, I think beef will do just fine in a fair competition.

However, when there’s a push, starting from the top down, to paint meat as the bad guy, to regulate livestock producers out of existence, to regulate steaks to only the affluent, to blame climate change on the cow, to steal our nomenclature and slap it on your fake meat labels, to attack the reputation of my beef and make unsubstantiated claims about it, and to try to make it the ONLY choice on the meat case — well, then we have a problem.

The agenda is clear to me, but you don’t have to take my word for it. When you read about some of these companies and their vision for the future of food, it’s hard to deny the plan moving forward.

Meat grown using 3D bio-printing. Pork grown in a petri dish. Chicken grown using fermentation. Proteins grown using swabs of human cheek cells. Burgers made from crickets, kelp, maggots, and mealworms. Schools serving bugs to children to mitigate climate change.

Our sausage developed in a laboratory, growing on a “scaffold.”

The future looks weird, friends. And perhaps I sound like an old, fuddy-duddy rancher who simply can’t adapt to change, but if this is what will be offered at the grocery store for consumers, consider me very worried about the health of humanity and the planet.

I’m simply not buying the benefits they are trying to cram down our throats, and as that blogger so adequately pens it, I will be “clinging to my guns, my Bible, and now my beef, too.”

Amanda Radke is a fifth-generation rancher from Mitchell who has dedicated her career to serving as a voice for the nation’s beef producers. A 2009 graduate of South Dakota State University with a degree in agricultural communications, education and leadership, Radke is a blogger for BEEF Daily blog.