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Remembering (and channeling) Dr. Scott Hurd

The last time we talked with Iowa State University’s Dr. Scott Hurd, he was joyfully, if not playfully, musing about all the topics he could cover in his new blog for Poultry Health Today. 

At first, Scott politely balked at the project because, in his modest view, he was “pretty much a cattle and hog vet.” At the same time, he saw it as another opportunity to do what he did best: Help the industry tell its story about modern production practices with remarkable passion, honesty and clarity. He sprinkled his words with lots of salt, too.

Unfortunately, Scott’s sudden illness forced him to put his new poultry blog on hold.  After his passing in late March, we mourned the loss of not only a great champion for the meat industry, but also an immensely talented communicator. We can only hope that he finds time to whisper in our writers’ ears.

Words can’t express our admiration for Scott’s efforts, so we combed through his blogs over the past year for some of his most memorable passages.  He’s certainly going to be missed. 

The Editors


                                                             •           •             •

“What impressed me about Hollywood? Nothing. There is no real glitter. No real glamour. No reality at all. But the nothingness that impressed me most was that most people know nothing about farming and food production…I am not just picking on Hollywood. I am confident that a very large majority of our urban and suburban friends all over the country know nothing as well. This is one reason they are willing to pay extra for many food features, such as ‘all natural’…”

                                                             •           •             •

“If [local news] reporters experience the reality of farming and food production, they will be less critical. If they see and feel the human lives working to feed their own families as well as others, then food will not seem so strange.  Maybe people won’t make up so many false stories and expectations.”

                                                             •            •             •

“…during those frigid nights and days, I kept wondering about all the ‘wonderful’ free range (outdoor raised) pigs and poultry.  How are they doing? Do their caretakers sit smugly by the fire, congratulating themselves for ‘doing the right thing? Here in the Midwest, I don’t think any animals, other than adult cattle, should be allowed outside. Most humane humans will likely agree.”

                                                             •            •             •

“So what matters, markets or morality?  Obviously, morality matters. It is wrong, unethical, and immoral to make animals suffer needlessly.  Most farmers are not doing that.  They button these animals down in cozy heated buildings with high ventilation and lots of fresh water. THANK GOODNESS.”

                                                             •            •             •

“Those that argue against the use of any antibiotics in livestock raised for food should consider that animals not treated for and exhibiting residual effects of illness are more likely to cause food-borne sickness in humans.”

                                                             •            •             •

“Larger concepts, such as the inputs required to produce meat (like land, water, fuel, and labor) are far removed from what…consumers consider when they make purchasing decisions.  Many of these technologies are used to promote efficiency, which is often translated to ‘greed’ by the listening consumer. This knowledge gap and negative connotation makes the need to improve efficiency irrelevant to the average consumer who can’t comprehend why a farmer or a butcher wants to make a profit.”

                                                             •            •             •

“Animals need medicine also…Failure to prevent and treat illness is an ethical breach.”

                                                             •            •             •

Read more articles at Poultry Health Today.

Posted on April 11, 2014


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