Beef industry media analysis by leader6


									               Beef industry media analysis
               January/February 2007

               The following Checkoff-funded report analyzes media                                                                                                     Due to media reporting on the winter storms that devastated
               coverage of beef and cattle industry issues through a special                                                                                           large portions of the “beef belt”, economics coverage
               service called CARMA (Computer-Aided Research and                                                                                                       increased 31 percent. In January/February, economics articles
               Media Analysis). The Checkoff-funded issues management                                                                                                  totaled 340 articles and represented 40 percent of total beef
               program commissions this analysis for tracking and                                                                                                      industry coverage. Beef marketing (311 articles) was the
               responding to beef media coverage in the following areas:                                                                                               second-most prominent category of reporting with a 19-
               diet/health, environment, food safety, beef marketing, animal                                                                                           percent increase from the November/December time period.
               rights and economics.
                                                                                                                                                                       Reporting on beef safety issues decreased 37 percent
               The CARMA system rates media coverage favorability on                                                                                                   during January and February after the Taco Bell E. coli
               a scale of zero to 100 based on criteria including headline,                                                                                            outbreak caused an elevated volume of beef safety coverage
               length, placement, number and quality of favorable and                                                                                                  in November/December. Instead, the U.S. Department
               unfavorable sources and general tone of an article. In                                                                                                  of Agriculture’s (USDA) decision to scale back bovine
               this rating system, articles that fall in the 45-55 range are                                                                                           spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) testing and adopt a new
               considered neutral or balanced. In the reports on ratings,                                                                                              “risk-based” inspection system were a focus of the media’s
               favorable means favorable to the beef industry.                                                                                                         safety-related reporting.

               Because a single article can address more than one issue,                                                                                               The Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) announcement
               it may be analyzed as part of more than one issue area.                                                                                                 about the safety of food from cloned animals and their
               Therefore, article volume and percentages across the issue                                                                                              offspring generated significant media attention for the beef
               areas will not add up.                                                                                                                                  industry this period. Articles discussed cloning primarily
                                                                                                                                                                       related to beef safety, but also addressed the animal rights
                                                                                                                                                                                      Beef Industry Media Coverage
                                                   Overall Favorability                                                                                                perspective. Several stories cast doubt on the safety of the
                                                                                                                                                                                                Volume of Coverage
                                                         January-February 2007                                                                                         technology and debated the issue -of labeling cloned food
                                                                                                                                                                                             November 2003 February 2007
                                                                                                                                                                       products. of Articles
                           44%                                                                                                                                                                 Beef Industry Media Coverage
                             Overall Favorability                                                                                                                         1600
                                                                                                                                                                          1400                                            Volume of Coverage
                                  January-February 2007                                                                                                                   1200
                                                                                                                                                                                                                November 2003 - February 2007
                                                                                                                                                                           Number of Articles
   Favorable                                                                                                                                                          2000 800
                                                                                                                                                                      1800 600
                                                                                                                                                                      1600 400
                                                                                                                                                                      1400 200
                                                                                                                                                Neutral                      0
                                                                                                                                                 35%                                     3 3 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 04 4                    5                                      6                                       7
                                                                                                                                                                                       00200200200200 00 200200 00 00 20 00 ov ec 200 eb ar pr ay un Jul ug ep Oct ov ec 200 eb ar pr ay Jun Jul ug ep Oct ov ec 200 eb
                                                                                                                                                                      1000          v 2ec n b ar r 2ay n ul 2 g 2ep ct 2 N Dan F M A M J                A S       N Dn F M A M                  A S       N Dn F
                                                                                                                                                                                  No D Ja Fe M Ap M Ju J Au S O               J                                      Ja                                      Ja
                                     Unfavorable                                                                                                                       200
                                                                                                                                 Neutral                                 0
                                        21%                                                                                       35%                                             3 3 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 04 4                    5                                      6                                       7
                                                                                                                                                                                00200200200200 00 200200 00 00 20 00 ov ec 200 eb ar pr ay un Jul ug ep Oct ov ec 200 eb ar pr ay Jun Jul ug ep Oct ov ec 200 eb
                                                                                                                                                                             v 2ec n b ar r 2ay n ul 2 g 2ep ct 2 N Dan F M A M J                A S       N Dn F M A M                  A S       N Dn F
                                                                                                                                                                           No D Ja Fe M Ap M Ju J Au S O                                                      Ja                                      Ja

             • Total volume of coverage: 846 articles
            Unfavorable favorability rating: 53 or neutral
             • Average                                                                     Media reporting on nutrition/health issues declined during
                                    Key Issue Categories                                   January and February for a 17-percent decrease in volume.
                Estimated impressions: January-February 2007
             • 21%                      331 million                                                                       Leading Sub-Issues
             • Leading media outlet: Associated Rating (bars) articles)
                                        Media Coverage Press (73
                                                                                                                            January-February were
                                                                                           Beef recipes with nutrition information 2007 the leading
                                                                                           topic BEEF RECIPES this coverage as beef received attention as a
                                                     0        10        20       30        40        50       60        70       80        90       100

                                                                                                                      223                                                                                                                                                                                 66

           During January and February, beef industry media coverage IMPACThealthy and versatile meal option.
                                                                                            OF WEATHER DISASTERS               124                                                                                                                                                        43

           increased slightly to total 846 articles. The favorability of
                BEEF MARKETING                                                               BSE/MAD COW DISEASE                    87                                                                                                                                                         50

           reporting SAFETY Key Issue Categories a 1-percentage- BEEFThe number of environment-related articles remained
                         remained neutral with a 53 rating –                                & NUTRITIONAL RECIPES                     78                                                                                                                                                                   67

           point increase fromJanuary-February 2007 2006. While the
                                   November/December                                       virtually TRADE
                                                                                                                       Leading Sub-Issues
                                                                                                            unchanged this reporting period. However,
                                                                                                                                       72                                                                                                                                                      48

           number of favorable articles increased 8
             NUTRITION/ HEALTH    Media Coverage Rating (bars) percentage points to
                                                                                                                           January-February as several articles
                                                                                           favorability experienced a slight decline2007
                                                                                                        ETHANOL                        71                                                                                                                                                      48

                                                                                            CLONING (BEEF SAFETY)                        60
                                                                                           discussed the E. coli outbreak caused by lettuce from a
           represent 44 percent of the overall volume, neutral coverage
                    0      10  20 30    40    50    60     70   80  90  100
                  ENVIRONMENT                                                                   MEAT INSPECTIONS
                                                                                               BEEF RECIPES                               57                                                                                                                                                    51
                                                                                           California field. Reports noted 55 the cattle at a nearby
           decreased 5 percentage points (35%) and unfavorable
                                                                                         GROUND BEEF (NOT RECIPES)                                                                                                                                                                                  53
                 ANIMAL RIGHTS                                                 IMPACT OF WEATHER DISASTERS                   124                    43
           coverage decreased 3 percentage points (21%).
                                                                                           farm were likely the source of the bacteria.
                                                                                                      BEEF PRICES                          47                                                                                                                                                  48
                                                     0        50       100       150   BSE/MAD COW DISEASE
                                                                                          200       250       300      350         87
                                                                                                                                 400      450       50050
                                                                                                                                                                           PATHOGENS & BEEF                                                          42                                        50
                                                                                   Volume of Coverage (line)                                                 BEEF & NUTRITIONAL RECIPES                                                   78                                                                    67
      BEEF SAFETY*The line within the chart plots the volume of coverage, i.e. Beef Safety generated 375 articles. The bars show the media coverage rating for                       LABELING                                                        42                                         52
                                                                                                                                                                         FOREIGN TRADE                                                     72                                                       48
       MARCH-APRIL 2007 each category based on a scale of 0 to 100 (0=most unfavorable, 100=most favorable and 45-55 = neutral).                                       BEEF SAFETY ASSURANCE                                                         42                           ISSUES UPDATE    53

NUTRITION/ HEALTH                                                                                                                                                              ETHANOL            250        200        150        100     7150           0            20            40             48
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     60          80

                                                                                                                                                                 CLONING (BEEF SAFETY)                                                         60                                                    50
     ENVIRONMENT                                                                                                                                                      MEAT INSPECTIONS                                                          57                                                   51
  Major news events                                                 By mid-February, the storm coverage shifted toward USDA’s
                                                                    decision to deny several states disaster aid. The Denver Post
  •   Media cover the economic effects of significant winter
                                                                    (Feb.14 editorial), along with several other media outlets,
      storms that devastated cattle producers in the “beef belt.”
                                                                    condemned the government’s disaster declaration standards
  •   BSE remains a prominent sub-issue with USDA
                                                                    and warned that if ranchers did not receive some assistance,
      announcing a 90-percent reduction in surveillance and         many would be forced out of business. The Post quoted
      backing off plans for a mandatory animal-tracking             Colorado Governor Bill Ritter who said “USDA based its
      system.                                                       denial on criteria that are nearly impossible to meet given the
  •   Government adoption of a new “risk-based” inspection          nature of the storms.”
      plan generates significant media reporting, which often
      touted the safety of the U.S. beef supply.                    Foreign trade (72 articles, 48 rating) was the second-most
  •   Cloning continues to receive media attention, both in         prominent topic in economics reporting during January and
      terms of the safety implications of the technology as well    February. Coverage discussed free-trade negotiations between
      as potential affects on animal welfare.                       the United States and South Korea and specifically the U.S.
                                                                    assertion that there could be no free-trade agreement if South
  Economics                                                         Korea continued to refuse U.S. beef. Media reporting on
                                                                    foreign trade issues also discussed USDA’s plan to resume
  •   Volume: 340 articles, 40 percent of total
                                                                    imports of beef cattle 30 months and older from Canada.
  •   Favorability: 48 rating, or neutral
                                                                    While articles noted that several trade organizations supported
  •   Leading sub-issue: Weather disasters – 124 articles
                                                                    the move, reports also commonly mentioned previous “mad
  •   Leading media: Associated Press – 50 articles
                                                                    cow” disease cases in Canada and the United States and
                                                                    overall, were slightly unfavorable for the beef industry.
  The volume of economics reporting increased 32 percent in
  January and February to total 340 articles or 40 percent of
                                                                    Following President Bush’s State of the Union address
  all beef industry coverage. These articles averaged a neutral
                                                                    in January, media coverage of ethanol production (71
  48 rating for the second consecutive period due to the fact
                                                                    articles, 47 rating) related to beef economics increased. The
  that 21 percent of economics reporting was favorable and
                                                                    president’s proposed seven-fold increase in U.S. biofuel
  48 percent neutral. Economics coverage during the January/
                                                                    production during a 10-year period led to media attention
  February time frame focused on winter weather, ethanol
                                                                    on how it would affect the livestock industry. For example,
  production and foreign trade issues facing the beef industry.
                                                                    a Jan. 24 St. Paul Pioneer-Press story quoted John Johnson,
  In January and February, media outlets across the country         president and chief executive officer of farmer-owned
  covered the effects of weather disasters (124 articles, 43        cooperative CHS, who warned that a spike in ethanol
  rating) in response to severe winter weather conditions in        demand could mean “some inflation around the poultry,
  the High Plains states. These articles primarily discussed the    beef, pork, and milk [sectors].” A Feb. 5 Business Week
  potential economic effects of significant amounts of snow,        article reported that “corn is caught in a tug-of-war between
  sleet and heavy rain; and many industry analysts predicted        ethanol plants and food, one of the first signs of a coming
  significant losses for beef producers. Mark Hitchcock of          agricultural transformation and a global economic shift.”
  Agri-Trading LLC told the Rocky Mountain News (Jan. 4)            Overall, ethanol coverage discussed the alternative fuel
  that “when the snow melts, prices for live cattle are going to    source in a favorable light, but it also noted that increased
  go down because the cattle haven’t been fed very well and         production is having – and will continue to have – a
  weight gains are going to drop.” At the same time, consumer       significant affect on feed prices.
  prices were reportedly going to rise after the storm due to a
  short term reduction in supply.                                   Beef marketing
                                                                    •   Volume: 311 articles, 37 percent of total
  Ranchers and local officials frequently were cited in articles
                                                                    •   Favorability: 63 rating, or favorable
  expressing concern for the well-being of cattle stranded due
                                                                    •   Leading sub-issue: Beef recipes – 233 articles
  to the storm. Don Ament with the Colorado Agricultural
                                                                    •   Leading media: Kansas City Star – 13 articles
  Department lamented the fact that “cattle have already gone
  a number of days without food and water” (Jan. 2, Salt
  Lake Tribune). While most reporting focused on the winter         The volume of beef marketing coverage increased 19
  weather in Colorado, some articles also noted the storm’s         percent in January and February to total 311 articles, which
  affects on other states. According to NCBA spokesperson           accounted for 37 percent of all beef industry coverage. The
  Joe Schuele, quoted in a Jan. 3 Denver Post story, the storms     tone of these articles also improved, averaging 6-points
  “had an amazing impact on the cattle and feed belt, which         better than in November/December with a solidly favorable
  runs from central Texas up to Nebraska. Some saw heavy            63 rating. The beef marketing category of coverage
  snow, some saw heavy rain and sleet, but if you took the          continues to be the most favorable for the beef industry, and
  entire area of this storm, almost every piece of it affected a    is primarily comprised of recipes (223 articles, 66 rating).
  critical [cattle-producing] area.”

 ISSUES UPDATE                                                                                                MARCH-APRIL 2007
  There were 42 percent more recipes published during            BSE (87 articles, 50 rating) received renewed reporter
  January and February, with the most prominent coverage         interest in late February when USDA announced it was
  appearing in the January issue of Food & Wine. The             scaling back testing for the disease by 90 percent and no
  magazine’s cover featured a bone-in strip steak, and inside,   longer planning to pursue a mandatory animal-tracking
  a “Best of Beef” section highlighted eight recipes from top    system. The announcement prompted concern from
  chefs and noted that beef “has become a food obsession.”       consumer advocacy groups, which supplied unfavorable
  Four of the recipes – hamburger, bone-in strip steak, hanger   quotes in related media stories. For example, a Feb. 22
  steak and prime rib roast – were accompanied by full-page      Seattle Times story quoted Caroline Smith DeWaal of the
  photographs. In addition, this special section included        Center for Science in the Public Interest. While DeWaal
  advice on “how to read a steak house menu.” Tips included      acknowledged that there have been “some improvements”
  differentiating between breeds, marbling style, labeling and   in USDA’s efforts to protect beef safety, she also said that
  wet- versus dry-aging.                                         “USDA stopped short of implementing several important
                                                                 programs that are vital not only to protect against [BSE],
  Many different types of recipes received coverage, but a       but to protect the industry against other diseases.” However,
  common theme was beef versatility. For example, a recipe       a Jan. 5 Fort Worth Star-Telegram story noted that USDA
  in the Kansas City Star on Jan. 10 highlighted the ease with   conducted a risk assessment under the guidelines of the
  which lean beef, vegetables and spices can be put together     World Organization for Animal Health before concluding
  and cooked in a Dutch oven to make a healthy and easy          that there was “minimal risk” for BSE in the United States.
  roast. Another recipe, published in the Chicago Tribune on                     Overall Favorability
                                                                 Other BSE-related coverage included a Jan. 31 report in
  Feb. 14, touted pan-seared steaks as an easy and flexible      Newsday (originally a Bloomberg News wire report) that
                                                                                   January-February 2007
  meal option and as the perfect Valentine’s Day meal.           cited a study raising the possibility that a virus caused BSE.
                                                                   Favorable                                                                                                                                                  2
                                                                 Such coverage was favorable for the beef industry.                                                                                                           1
  Beef also was depicted as a comfort food in the recipes                                                                                                                                                                     1

  published this reporting period. Both the Hartford Courant     Meat inspection/testing program (57 articles, 51 rating) was                                                                                                 1
  and Raleigh News and Observer featured beef meatloaf           the second most prominent sub-issue in safety coverage                                                                                                       1
  recipes and one report said “at some point, everyone has       this period. The primary source of reporting was USDA’s
  craved the ultimate, comforting trinity of meatloaf, mashed    adoption of a new “risk-based” inspection plan designed
  potatoes with gravy and a green vegetable.” Another News       to devote more attention to facilities that produce foods
  and Observer article highlighted a juicy and flavorful                                                                    Neutral
                                                                 vulnerable to bacterial and viral infections. Coverage ranged
  ribeye steak as the author’s favorite beef cut.                                                                             35%
                                                                 from neutral to solidly favorable as articles touted the safety
                                                                 of the U.S. beef supply and suggested the new policy would
  Separately, ground beef recipes also received significant      continue to improve beef safety. However, USDA was
  attention in January/February beef marketing reporting         faulted in some articles for implementing the new inspection
  (78 articles, 66 rating). Several recipes, including a Jan.    system Unfavorableand without adequate information.
                                                                         too quickly
  10 Seattle Post-Intelligencer recipe for Sesame Soy Sauce                  21%
                                                                 Negative reaction came from sources like Carol Tucker
  Burgers, featured ground beef as a main ingredient in easy     Foreman with the Consumer Federation of America, who
  weekday meals that can be prepared quickly.                    said USDA’s decision will “lead to increased cases of food
                                                                 poisoning” (Omaha World Herald, Feb. 23).
  Beef safety
                                                                                                                     Key Issue Categories
  •   Volume: 239 articles, 28 percent of total                                                                                January-February 2007
  •   Favorability: 50 rating, or neutral                                                                                      Media Coverage Rating (bars)

  •   Leading sub-issue: BSE – 87 articles                                                       0         10        20        30        40        50         60        70        80        90       100

  •   Leading media: Associated Press – 37 articles                        ECONOMICS
                                                                                                                                                                                                                   IMPACT OF WE

                                                                   BEEF MARKETING                                                                                                                                         BSE/
  The January/February volume of reporting on beef safety                                                                                                                                                            BEEF & NUT
  issues decreased 37 percent after reaching an elevated level           BEEF SAFETY

  during November and December due to the Taco Bell E.
                                                                 NUTRITION/ HEALTH
  coli cases. The favorability of beef safety articles in the                                                                                                                                                             CLON
  January/February time frame improved 1 point to average              ENVIRONMENT                                                                                                                                            M
  a neutral 50 rating. BSE testing, the proposed “risk-based”                                                                                                                                                         GROUND B
                                                                     ANIMAL RIGHTS
  meat inspection system and cloning were the primary topics
  of coverage in the safety category.                                                            0         50       100        150       200       250       300       350       400       450       500
                                                                                                                                 Volume of Coverage (line)
                                                                   *The line within the chart plots the volume of coverage, i.e. Beef Safety generated 375 articles. The bars show the media coverage rating for
                                                                   each category based on a scale of 0 to 100 (0=most unfavorable, 100=most favorable and 45-55 = neutral).                                             BEEF SA

MARCH-APRIL 2007                                                                                                                                                    ISSUES UPDATE 7
              FDA’s late-December announcement about the safety of                                                                                 On the other hand, media coverage of nutritional
              food products from cloned animals and their progeny led to                                                                           vegetarianism (40 articles, 44 rating) touted the dietary
              a number of beef industry safety articles about the issue in                                                                         benefits of vegetarianism and often described beef as an
              early January. While some reports were critical of cloning                                                                           unhealthy food choice. One such article cited the Cancer
              in general, most of the media discussion focused on the                                                                              Project handbook, which claims that individuals who
              labeling debate. A Jan. 2 Newsday article quoted Andrew                                                                              consume “plant-based diets tend to have significantly lower
              Kimbrell with the Center for Food Safety who said that                                                                               cancer rates than those on meat-based diets” (Anchorage
              in denying mandatory labels for cloned products, FDA is                                                                              Daily News, Jan. 17). Another nutritional vegetarianism
              denying Americans the “right to choose.” Writing in the San                                                                          article appeared in the Miami Herald on Jan. 18. Reporting
              Diego Union-Tribune, the Hoover Institute’s Henry Miller                                                                             on a study published in the British Medical Journal, the
              provided an alternative perspective, noting that the “presence                                                                       article claimed that “smarter kids are more likely to become
              of a label would be misconstrued by some consumers as                                                                                vegetarian when they grow up.” The article went on to note
              suggesting that food from cloned animals differs in an                                                                               that vegetarians are at lower risk for “heart disease, diabetes
              important way (such as safety or nutrition) when it does not”                                                                        and obesity and have a 40 percent lower cancer rate than
              (Jan. 3).                                                                                                                            [their] meat-eating peers.”

        Editorials and letters to the editor published during January
        characterized divergent opinions on the cloning issue overall.                                                                             Environment
                                                                                                                                                          Beef Industry Media Coverage
                Overall Favorability
        One reader told the Indianapolis Star that “animal cloning                                                                                 • Volume: 74 articles, 9 percentCoverage
                                                                                                                                                                           Volume of of total
                  January-February so how,
        is a relatively new science,2007 after only four years of                                                                                  • Favorability: 49 rating, 2003 - February 2007
                                                                                                                                                                        November or neutral
   Favorable can FDA be sure that it is safe?” Similarly, a Jan. 2
        study,                                                                                                                                          Number of
                                                                                                                                                   • LeadingArticles
                                                                                                                                                   2000           sub-issue: Cattle and wildlife – 26 articles
     44%letter in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution stated that FDA                                                                                 • Leading media: Associated Press – 7 articles
        “seems more apt to protect industry interests than those of                                                                                1400
        the consumer.” On the other hand, an Omaha World-Herald                                                                                    Coverage of the environment increased 1 percentage point
        editorial took a different approach: “Should the FDA                                                                                       in January and February to represent 9 percent of overall
        kowtow to scientifically ignorant consumers? Of course                                                                                     beef industry coverage. Although the tone of environment
        not. The heavy weight of scientific opinion comes down on                                                                                  reporting declined 3 points, the overall favorability
        the side of safety of products from genetically replicated
                                                           Neutral                                                                                 rating remained neutral at a 49. The overall favorability
        animals” (Jan. 2).                                  35%                                                                                    environment400coverage4odeclinedayslightlyt oinc Januaryun dueeptoov ec 007eb
                                                                                                                                                             3 3 4 4      4 4 4 4 4 04               5                                    06 r
                                                                                                                                                           00200200200200 200200 00 00 20 00 v ec 200 eb ar pr un Jul Aug Sep Oc N v De 20 FebMa Apr May J Jul Aug S OctN D 2 F
                                                                                                                                                        v 2ec n b ar p 2ay u ul 2ug 2e ct 2 N Dan F M A M J
                                                                                                                                                   coverageMofrME.n JcolipOillnesses linked to California lettuce, Jan
                                                                                                                                                      No D Ja Fe      A   J     A S           J                                      Ja

              Nutrition/health                                                                                                                     which reporters speculated was tainted by cattle from a
             • Volume: 161 articles, 19 percent of total                                                                                           nearby farm. There also were several articles that covered
             • Favorability: 58 rating, or favorable                                                                                               the cattle industry’s relationship with the environment in
             • 21%
                Leading sub-issue: Beef recipes with nutrition                                                                                     a favorable light. For example, the St. Petersburg Times
                     information – 78 articles                                                                                                     featured a piece on Jan. 21 that profiled two cattle farming
              •      Leading media: South Florida Sun-Sentinel – 12 articles                                                                       brothers who have succeeded in striking, “a balance between
                                                                                                                                                   the need to make a living and protecting the environment.”
          There were 17 percent fewer nutrition/health articles during
                           Key which Categories
          January and February,Issue accounted for just 16 percent
          of the total industry January-February 2007 period. Coverage
                                media coverage for the
                                                                                                                                                                                         Leading Sub-Issues
                                Media Coverage Rating (bars)
                                                                                                                                                                                              January-February 2007
          had spiked in
                  0    10 November/December due to 80
                           20   30    40    50    60     70  reporting on a
                                                                 90  100

          Harvard Medical School study, that speculated about a link
                                                                                            BEEF RECIPES                                                                           223                                                                                66

          between red meat and breast cancer. In response, the tone of      IMPACT OF WEATHER DISASTERS                                                                                            124                                                43

          nutrition/health articles improved to a favorable 58 rating.
  BEEF MARKETING                                                                    BSE/MAD COW DISEASE                                                                                                   87                                               50

      BEEFSixty percent of nutrition/health articles were favorable
                                                                              BEEF & NUTRITIONAL RECIPES                                                                                                    78                                                        67
                                                                                          FOREIGN TRADE                                                                                                        72
          while unfavorable coverage decreased 23 percentage points.

NUTRITION/ HEALTH                                                                                                                                            ETHANOL                                           71                                          48

                                                                                                                                              CLONING (BEEF SAFETY)                                              60                                        50
     ENVIRONMENTBeef recipes with nutritional information (78 articles, 67                                                                              MEAT INSPECTIONS                                            57                                      51
                rating) were the leading topic within nutrition/health coverage BEEF (NOT RECIPES)                                              GROUND                                                              55                                          53
                this period. For example, a prominent recipe published in
                                                                                                                                                              BEEF PRICES                                             47                                   48

                the Albany Times-Union 200 Jan. 4300 350 the health 500
                                 0         50       100        150
                                                                         on 250 touted 400 450 benefits                                                PATHOGENS & BEEF                                                  42                                50
                                                                  Volume of Coverage (line)
                of beef and included several recipes from The Healthy Beef                                                                                      LABELING                                                 42                                 52
  *The line within the chart plots the volume of coverage, i.e. Beef Safety generated 375 articles. The bars show the media coverage rating for
                Cookbook. 100 (0=most unfavorable, 100=most favorable and 45-55 from
  each category based on a scale of 0 toThe article featured quotes = neutral). Idaho Beef                                                        BEEF SAFETY ASSURANCE                                                  42                                     53

                Council Executive Director Laura Wilder, who reminded                                                                                                     250    200       150      100          50           0      20          40              60        80

                consumers there are 29 cuts of beef considered “lean” and
                emphasized the many essential nutrients found in beef.

        ISSUES UPDATE                                                                                                                                                                                                                 MARCH-APRIL 2007
  The issue of cattle manure management remains prominent          Vegetarianism
  in environment coverage as reporters discuss the effect of
                                                                   Media reporting on vegetarianism decreased from 63
  livestock production on the environment. The tone of articles
                                                                   articles in November/December to 44 articles in January
  about cattle manure management diminished 6 points from a
                                                                   and February, but favorability increased 7 points to average
  high-neutral rating to average a just-neutral 45. In February,
                                                                   a neutral 47 rating. Within vegetarianism coverage, articles
  the Tulsa World reported on a bill passed by the Oklahoma
                                                                   about the nutritional benefits of such diets were most
  Senate Rules Committee that categorizes animal manure as
                                                                   common this period (40 articles). For example, several
  a “non-hazardous” waste – an action that drew substantial
                                                                   meatless recipes published during January and February,
  criticism from citizens and officials. There also were a
  number of articles concerning the construction of new cattle     aimed to portray the vegetarian diet as fashionable, sexy
  operations near residential or commercial property, which        and healthy. A Jan. 18 Miami Herald article entitled “Smart,
  generated negative coverage for the industry. One wire           Soulful, Sexy People Don’t Eat Meat,” profiled several
  story, appearing in the Ft. Wayne News-Sentinel on Feb. 7,       celebrity and culinary personalities and their vegetarian
  covered the decision of Indiana lawmakers to outlaw large        diets. The yearly media blitz surrounding the Super Bowl in
  livestock farms. Home owners praised the announcement,           February also generated several articles offering vegetarian
  claiming that dust and odors from the farms were making          alternatives to the typically meat-friendly spectator sport.
  people ill.                                                      Vegetarian lasagna, bean dips and hummus were among
                                                                   the most popular alternatives to meat snacks for the “Big
  Animal rights
  •   Volume: 38 articles, 4 percent of total                      Ethical vegetarianism (13 articles, 40 rating) coverage
  •   Favorability: 48 rating, or neutral                          included several articles concerning the supposed American
  •   Leading sub-issue: Cloning – 14 articles                     vegan movement. A New York Times article, “Uncruel
  •   Leading media: Associated Press – 4 articles                 Beauty,” published on Jan. 11 reported the affect vegetarian
                                                                   diets are having on local economies: “This health- and
  The volume of January/February animal rights reporting
                                                                   eco-conscious population has contributed most visibly to the
  remained at the same low level observed during November
                                                                   growth of a $1.2 billion market for vegetarian goods.”
  and December (38 articles) while the favorability improved 7
  points to average a neutral 48 rating. Animal rights coverage
  continues to account for just 4 percent of overall reporting     Conclusions
  on the beef industry.                                            •   The winter weather affecting large portions of the
                                                                       Midwest and West was the most-covered topic in
  Although most of the January/February cloning coverage was           beef industry reporting during January and February.
  safety related, some articles also addressed the issue from          Winter storm coverage primarily discussed the potential
  an ethical standpoint, making it the most prominent topic            economic affects that the large amounts of snow, sleet
  within animal rights coverage this period (14 articles, 49           and heavy rain would have on cattle operations.
  rating). According to the Los Angeles Times, “as long as the
  end product doesn’t harm human health, any harm to animals       •   The volume of beef recipe coverage increased 11
  is apparently irrelevant… [cloned animals] are almost                percentage points for the period, remaining the leading
  always produced in a manner that is vastly more humane
                                                                       topic within beef marketing reporting. Beef health and
  compared with mainstream livestock production” (Jan. 12).
                                                                       versatility were a focus of the published recipes.
  An Associated Press article quoted Humane Society of the
  United States president Wayne Pacelle as saying, “American
                                                                   •   BSE remained a leading topic of beef safety coverage
  consumers are increasingly concerned about the treatment of
                                                                       during January and February, with USDA’s decision to
  animals raised and slaughtered for food” (Jan. 2).
                                                                       scale back its surveillance program receiving significant
                                                                       attention. USDA’s adoption of a “risk-based” safety
  Ethical vegetarianism was the second most prominent topic
                                                                       inspection plan also was a focus of coverage.
  in January/February animal rights coverage (13 articles, 40
  rating), but the overall volume of articles still totaled less
  than half of what it did during the last reporting period.       •   FDA’s announcement about the safety of food from
  Some articles contended that meatless diets are continuing to        cloned animals and their offspring generated media
  grow in popularity for ethical reasons. For example, a vegan         coverage in multiple categories of reporting this period.
  profiled in the Richmond Times Dispatch said she adopted a           While most cloning articles focused on beef safety issues,
  vegan diet mainly because of her extreme disapproval of the          numerous editorials and letters to the editor discussed the
  conditions in which most livestock are kept and slaughtered          ethical issues surrounding cloning, specifically whether it
  (Feb. 21). Other editorials and letters-to-the-editor implored       is inhumane for the animals.
  readers to treat all animals like pets.

MARCH-APRIL 2007                                                                                                ISSUES UPDATE 

To top