Even if you’ve never watched Ree Drummond’s Pioneer Woman, you’ve probably seen her on The View or the Today Show or Good Morning America.
Cooking show hosts usually aren’t that controversial. Some are funny, some are hot, some are gay icons, some become memes.
Ree Drummond, however, is no stranger to being divisive. This time, she’s accused of supporting a mass horse slaughter.
Drummond famously runs a blog titled Pioneer Woman, a wildly successful endeavor that is all about cooking for her family.
They live on a ranch in Oklahoma where her young children are homeschooled, so that’s the general vibe that she has going for her.
Ree has a cooking show, also Pioneer Woman.
Of course, Ree Drummond has been accused of racism in the past. At one point, she joked about having confused having a tan with being black.
Another time, she pulls “Asian hot wings” out of the oven as a game day snack, and members of her crew protest that they don’t “trust” the wings.
(To be clear: there are a lot of Asian and Asian-inspired wing sauce flavors; someone claiming to dislike or mistrust them might be xenophobic and definitely has bad taste, but that particular instance wasn’t necessarily racist.)
This time, however, Drummond stands accused of something very different.
Earlier this month, she traveled to Arizona and spoke at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s trade show, writing on Facebook:
“The irony of me speaking to 3,500 cattlemen and cattlewomen was not lost on me.”
“It was an honor to speak about how much I’ve enjoyed sharing glimpses of ranch life on my blog, TV show, and social media for the past twelve (!) years.”
She received the Distinguished Service Award at the event.
But now she’s being slammed for partnering with an organization that allegedly supports the mass slaughter of Federally protected wild horses.
As reported by Radar Online, Director of Wild Horse Affairs for the Wild Horse Freedom Federation, Debbie Coffey, writes:
“For many years, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association has been pushing for the slaughter of America’s wild horses & burros, and their organization was listed on the Steering Committee of the secretive ‘Slaughter Summit’ held in Utah in 2017”
Coffey effectively accuses Ree Drummond of hypocrisy, of using horse motifs as part of her branding.
Furthermore, it looks like she believes that the Drummonds are making money from both sides of the wild horse issue.
“All the while, Drummond Land & Cattle Co., co-owned by Ree’s husband, Ladd Drummond, has been paid over $20 million in taxpayer dollars to warehouse captured wild horses on his private property.”
Coffey says: “Talk about buttering your bread on both sides.”
For those who aren’t steeped in the culture of … well, pretty much anything with hooves … the “Horse Slaughter Summit” in Utah was an invitation-only event.
One whose goal is to assemble groups and individuals who believe that, well, wild horse populations need to be culled.
Wild horses are federally protected (animals who aren’t federally protected often run the risk of being hunted to extinction, for food or hides or for sport or simply because humans with guns find them inconvenient).
You’d think that a “horse slaughter” summit, which is emphatically not what they called it, would be about normalizing horse meat in the American diet or something.
(Eating horse is almost taboo, even though unlike dogs, cats, and humans, horses are rarely family members or part of society; this is inherited from British culture.)
But this was actually about certain people feeling that the rangelands cannot sustain growing horse populations, and that some should be “humanely euthanized.”
We don’t know the true motives of everyone at the summit – some of them, at least, were certainly looking after their own financial interests.
Wild horses can indeed be inconvenient to some ranchers. And no one is accusing Ree Drummond herself of having been there.
All that she did was address a cattle industry group. It absolutely fits her brand and we don’t see anything particularly sinister or hypocritical about her actions.
In fact, if her husband makes money off of wild horses being alive, doesn’t that – if anything – give her motive to want more wild horses around?
Just a thought.