How Do Consumers View Cattle Production?

Yesterday Amanda Radke shared an interesting email from a reader of her Beef Daily column. It’s a grossly disturbing viewpoint of cattle production, pulling scenes from many documentaries and films. I’ll share the viewers message below. What would your response be to such statements?

“Amanda, all animals processed conventionally are super-stressed out, terrified, and their cortisol and panic levels are out of sorts, and then we eat that crap. Your portrait of the lives of animals simply isn’t accurate except in fairy tales or, in rare exceptions, at family farms. I wish you were right, though! Just like with humans, emotions are very much recorded on a cellular level. This has been scientifically documented. So, it may sound ridiculous, but we very much are eating not just the hormones pumped into them to keep them pregnant all the time, but we are eating their panic, fear, stress, pain and anxiety, which affects us, unfortunately. Hell, that describes most Americans. You are what you eat; it can’t be said enough! Cows are usually super-diseased, ill, miserable and abused, unless you are getting local grass-fed, pastured cows that are killed most-humanely.

“When was the last time you read up on this or watched a documentary on current conventional farming methods? I highly recommend the documentary ‘Earthlings;’ it’s available for free on Google video or YouTube. Just watch the Kosher cow footage, which is supposedly the most humane, but truly the most violent, savage and painful things I’ve ever seen. I would also encourage you to read the book, ‘Slaughterhouse’ by Gail Eisnitz, featuring interviews with slaughterhouse employees, not animal rights activists. It’s as detailed as it gets. The book ‘Skinny Bitch’ pretty much devotes a chapter to stories from that book, as well.

“I see you are from the Dakotas. It’s very likely you have access to some old school, non-hormone ridden, grass-fed, much-happier cows that aren’t killed so callously and in such gruesome ways (i.e., hung upside down still alive after they were stuck poorly with no anesthetic, then skinned alive, bleeding and kicking so hard that they are a threat to the skinner, who either then paralyzes them, still conscious and sentient, by sticking them in the spine, and/or cuts their legs off while still alive, and continuing to dismember and skin fully conscious and terrified animals. This is the mainstream way — the norm).”


This is a real example of how consumers perceive work of farmers and ranchers across the country. Follow this link to read Amanda’s response and the many following comments from readers. This situation only emphasizes the need for farmers and ranchers to reach out to consumers with the real message of food origins.


  1. My first reaction is “WOW”. I have followed Amanda for several years and have no doubt that she responded in a professional mannor and provided this person with some real truth and details about what really goes on at the farm. I probably would have started with over 90% of american farms and ranches are FAMILY owned and opperated. Just because the farm name ends with and Inc., LLC, or Corp doesn’t mean that it is not owned and ran by husband/wife, father/child or siblings. Then I would have followed with the “grass fed” beef are also harvested in the same harvest facilities as “conventional” beef. Third I would have sent her/him a plane ticket to visit our farm, some of my customers facilities and give them a real tour of how cattle are raised and treated.

  2. My second reaction to the first, and now to the blog: “Sadly, but Ignorantly, this is probably typical of our day.”

    Consider the distance folks are from the small minority of farmer/ranchers who are still producing our food sources. This distance is a big problem and it seems to getting worse.

    We need to bridge this gap somehow, and I know it will require some major life/live changes (choices) for folks to choose a slower paced lifestyle (investment). Agriculture is not a quick fix or fast investment, but it will ALWAYS be a fundamental and staple necessary to our existence in this life.

    Now, for my personal rant: Knuckleheads and naive, arrogant folks are deceived by superfluous philosophy of some so-called and presumed utopian existence, and it ‘aint’ happenin.’ Common sense and godly lives have always sustained our civilization, and God gave us this created and orderly life to learn and live. It’s the best existence, but not a very popular one nowadays! But, I’ve never cared too much about popularity or pop-culture. All my heroes have always been cowboys….

  3. Wow, I hear a lot of crazy things while selling meat at the farmers market, but this takes the cake! I cannot believe how some people will believe anything they hear! I am glad that she wrote to Amanda so that Amanda can resond – looking forward to reading it!

  4. Interesting discussion indeed.
    And I fully agree with you, the ag ‘movement’ must not stop informing consumers about the true facts and figures.

    Nonetheless, we may not forget to also fight those black sheep that are responsible for the bad image of farmers/ranchers. Those that DO treat their animals unfair, cruel and whatsoever. Those need to be found and punished with all legal manners!

  5. Hopefully that person took Amanda’s response and passed it on to people in her circles…we can only hope, because likely that person’s friends are of the same misinformed opinion. At least if one person is enlightened at a time, ag is better off today than it was yesterday in that regard. But those of us in ag have our work cut out for us, as there are a lot more people out there that don’t have a clue as to how things are really done.

    Kudos to Ryan and everyone like him that are working hard to help get the true message out there!!

  6. One thing that I feel needs to be done is putting together a series of video clips of cattle in different situations from around the country to show just how cattle live and are treated. I put out a call for clips several months ago and so far have only received one clip.

    I have a couple of my own, but want ones from various operations, including feedlots, showing cattle on pasture, being moved (in both pastures and feedlots) and processing (without hot shots). If I can get 8 to 10 minutes of clips ranging from 30 seconds I will put them together with clips explaining the difference between the myths being perpetrated from animal rights groups and what is really happening. Once the video is ready I will load it onto You-Tube and post it on facebook, twitter and have it on a couple of different websites so it is readily available for everyone in the industry to use.

    If you send a clip, just make sure it is compatible with WMM files and include the name of your operation so I can give you credit at the end of the video. Email it to bob(@)

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