The livestock industry lost a clear voice of reason with the recent passing of straight-talking veterinarian, Scott Hurd. Hurd's ability to make sense of the often complex "rest of the story" behind food safety issues helped defend animal agriculture on issues such as antibiotic use and animal welfare. He passed away last week after battling cancer for several months.

As Meatingplace.com reports, Hurd spoke on behalf of animal agriculture in the media and social media, including National Public Radio, USA Today, Huffington Post, and the Dr. Oz Show. Hurd maintained his own blog site called “Hurd Health.” A year ago, he started a blog on Meatingplace titled, “The Gentle Vet," and he wrote several articles for National Hog Farmer as well.

Kay Johnson Smith, the CEO of the Animal Agriculture Alliance noted that Hurd served as an outspoken champion for truth relative to farm animal and food safety issues, and he worked hard to diligently correct misinformation, as well as the misrepresentation of the facts surrounding issues, such as the important role of antibiotics in caring for animals.

 

Meatingplace reports that Hurd started his veterinary career at a dairy practice in South Central, Pennsylvania. This was one of the first practices in the country to computerize their herd health records and the data collected in this program piqued his interest in epidemiology. As a result, he earned a Ph.D. in epidemiology and economics from Michigan State University in 1990, after graduating from veterinary school at Iowa State in 1982.

Hurd spent 15 years of his career in government service, working in three different branches of the USDA. He was also appointed USDA's deputy acting under secretary for food safety in 2008. There he served as the country’s highest-ranking food safety veterinarian and policy advisor to the Secretary of Agriculture.

Hurd was most recently an associate professor at Iowa State University’s Department of Veterinary Diagnostic and Production Animal Medicine, as well as director of the Food Risk Modeling and Policy Lab at Iowa State.

Hurd is survived by his wife, Susan, his seven sons and his daughter. Visitation will be at St. Cecilia Catholic Church in Ames, Iowa, from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, April 6. Funeral mass will be at 10:30 a.m. Monday, April 7.

A memorial fund is being set up to support parenting and family missions programs through the Regnum Christi Mission Corps, a youth formation and leadership training program. Donations can be written to Dr. Scott Hurd's Charitable Memorial Fund and sent to the family at 3275 400th Street, Roland, IA 50236.