Cattle Company Forces Change in Michael Pollan University Lecture

1_00_off_burgers_large Finally, someone puts some pressure on Michael Pollan. He’s scheduled to speak at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in an unopposed keynote speech for college students geared on the topic of animal agriculture and food production. However, in a recent article in the Triple Pundit, sources revealed that David Wood, chairman of the Harris Ranch Beef Co., urged the university to put on a forum with well-respected agriculturalists on the panel to counteract Pollan’s statements. Way to go David! Here is an excerpt from that article…

After receiving pressure from the owner of an agribusiness — that just happens to be a major donor — the university decided to turn what was to be a guest lecture by noted sustainable agriculture guru Michael Pollan, into a “panel discussion” including a scientist favored by the beef industry, according to the Los Angeles Times. In an angry September 23rd letter to the university president, David E. Wood, chairman of the Harris Ranch Beef Co., wrote, “While I understand the need to expose students to alternative views, I find it unacceptable that the university would provide Michael Pollan an unchallenged forum to promote his stand against conventional agricultural practices..”

Allowing Pollan to speak unchallenged had made Wood “rethink [his] continued financial support of the university.” Wood has pledged $150,000 toward a new meat processing plant on campus. Pollan, who has encountered such resistance to his appearances before, told the university he could lecture, or he could participate in the panel, but not both. Cal Poly made its decision, and quickly assembled a panel featuring Pollan, Gary Smith, Monfort Endowed Chair in meat science at Colorado State University, and Myra Goodman, co-founder of Earthbound Farm Organic, one of the largest organic businesses in the country.

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