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PCRM targets beef industry during pandemic

Amanda Radke
Cowgirl Perspective, Mitchell, S.D.

There have been many horrifying, disturbing and alarming headlines in the news to process since the pandemic hit and shutdowns began in March 2020.

As Americans grappled with worry about the virus, financial strain due to loss of work, emotional heartaches due to isolation, loneliness, marital stress and the list goes on, we also must be keenly aware of how activist groups are capitalizing on this crisis.

Our nation, and the world is currently experiencing a crisis of emotional, physical and economic repercussions as we wage war against the coronavirus. And while many of us are just trying to survive, keep our jobs and take care of our families, there are others who seek to destroy our way of life and our agricultural industries.



“Never let a crisis go to waste,” is an old saying that is being put into use in real-time as activists seek to undermine and debilitate farmers and ranchers.

With a mission of stripping producers off the land and replacing meat, dairy and eggs with faux versions of the real deal, we can see exactly how they plan to do just that with some of these initiatives. And unfortunately, while our eyes are focused on the day-to-day stresses and pressures that 2020 has ushered in, we are failing to see the wolves circling our operations.



In a recent move, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) — a group with ties to PETA — has placed billboards in Lincoln, Neb., asking Gov. Pete Rickets to help the state transition to plant-based proteins for health reasons.

The billboards read, “Governor Ricketts: Can Nebraska switch to a safer food supply like beans over beef? PromotePlantProtein.org! Paid for by PCRM.”

According to the Norfolk Daily News, “The organization said protein sources go beyond beef, pork and poultry. It would like to see the state consider offering grants, tax credits and other incentives to companies producing plant-based protein products such as veggie dogs and veggie deli slices.”

Additionally billboards have been placed in other states, as well, including my home state of South Dakota, where three billboards set up in Pierre read, “Can South Dakota close the slaughterhouses and produce plant-based protein?”

Obviously, this campaign proves we have our work cut out for us to reach the public and highlight the nutritional benefits of beef. And while it’s very frustrating to see activists gaining media headlines and beef being the target of misinformation campaigns, yet again, I’m even more concerned that folks will fall for this type of messaging without even questioning what PCRM really is.

Of PCRM and their mission, Protect the Harvest reports, “On April 7, 2020, the group filed a legal petition for rulemaking with the U.S. Surgeon General to demand that all live animal markets in the United States be shut down immediately. Due to the role played by the Wuhan, China Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in spreading the virus, PCRM makes the false claim that any type of animal market has the potential to spread COVID-19 from animals to humans.

“In addition, the group is petitioning President Trump to rescind his order for United States meat processing plants to remain open. PCRM’s shameless maneuvering during a time when Americans are already suffering from loss of income and shortages of essential goods demonstrates the group’s incredible disconnect from reality, disregard for the true well-being of the population, and degree of extremist zealotry.

“With numerous meat packing plants closed or greatly limited due to a shortage of workers caused by COVID-19, America is getting a painful glimpse of what even a partial shutdown of the meat industry means for the public — sparsely stocked meat cases at the grocery store.

“Meanwhile, for some sectors of the animal agriculture industry, even a limited number of closed plants have forced the euphemistically phrased “depopulation” of surplus animals — thousands of healthy, finished meat animals wastefully destroyed for lack of somewhere to send them to be processed into meat and byproducts, and no other options to house them.

“If PCRM had its way, this situation would overtake all of animal agriculture in the name of COVID-19, and result in the entirely wasteful deaths of literally millions of animals that would otherwise become part of the nation’s food and product supply chain.”

To close, social media is full of many statements, some fact and some fiction. We must do our own due diligence, ask the tough questions and present factual, useful information that the public needs during a time of crisis.

There’s plenty of beef nutrition information out there, but it’s up to us to share it. Let’s get to work.