Meat Industry INSIGHTS Newsletter

970623 Ranchers Upset Over Children's Magazine Saying, "Don't Eat Meat"

Cattle ranchers are upset over an anti-beef article in a children's magazine linked to the Smithsonian Institution. "Please don't eat me!" says the cover of the current issue of Muse, a calf peering placidly into the camera. The magazine contains quotes such as "The hamburger on your plate is some dead cow's muscle."

"It was one of the most biased articles I think I've ever seen written about vegetarianism," said Alisa Harrison of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, which represents 230,000 cattle producers.

Under an agreement, Chicago-based Carus Publishing pays the Smithsonian for using its name. Smithsonian magazine has the right to review the content of Muse, a new publication for kids aged 6 to 14 with a circulation of 80,000.

Smithsonian reviewed the article's text. But because of a "mix-up," the pictures, graphics, sidebars and quotes weren't screened, Smithsonian officials said. "It was an error in editorial judgment and a breakdown in communication," said Ron Walker, publisher of Smithsonian magazine. "It was a physical mistake, not one of an agenda or a special interest."

Muse publisher Bob Harper said the editor in charge of the March issue is being reassigned within the company. "I hope people will look at the whole content of our magazine and not just one issue and see that this is an anomaly," he said. In the next issue, Muse will publish letters from ranchers' kids rebutting the first article.u

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