If red meat had a publicity agent, he or she would be fired by now. Publicity agents are supposed to plant positive news about their client and kill any negative publicity. But ever since James Garner, the face of the "Real Food for Real People" beef campaign, suffered a heart attack in 1988, there has been nothing but bad publicity about red meat.
Consider this succession of damaging events.
Mad cow disease surfaces in the US in 2003, with three cows diagnosed with the fatal disease by 2005 and the sources never found.
Chairman and CEO of McDonald's Corporation, Jim Cantalupo, suffers a fatal heart attack at a company event in 2004.
Charlie Bell, Cantalupo's replacement as McDonald's CEO, is diagnosed with colon cancer two weeks after taking office and also dies.
Fast Food Nation and The Omnivore's Dilemma , books unfriendly to the meat industry, stay on the New York Times bestseller list for years.
Video of abused "downer" cows sparks the largest meat recall in US history, tarring the National School Lunch Program in 2008. Big Meat reacts to undercover leaks by trying to criminalize farm videos.