Elk Ranchers Applaud Arby’s for Serving Elk & Venison Sandwiches

November 2, 2017


Elk Ranchers Applaud Arby’s for Serving Elk & Venison Sandwiches

The North American Elk Breeders Association (NAEBA) is announcing its support of Arby’s restaurants serving elk and venison sandwiches. Last month, Arby’s restaurants featured a limited offering of venison sandwiches in over 3,000 stores and offered elk sandwiches in select stores in three western states.

NAEBA, which serves as an international breed registry organization for the United States, Canada and Mexico, has seen elk ranchers and enthusiasts across the continent praise the new menu items as it allows more consumers to be exposed to alternative livestock meats. 

NAEBA supports Arby’s for offering these products and hopes this continues in the future. Elk meat is a healthy red meat alternative. It is high in protein and low in both fat and cholesterol. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, elk is actually healthier than grilled chicken.

Elk, like bison, is becoming a more popular alternative meat and elk ranchers in the United States cannot keep up with the demand. NAEBA believes this is a positive indicator as more restaurants continue to serve elk on their menus.

NAEBA is disappointed to see a special interest group in Montana publicly criticizing Arby’s for the new product claiming elk is “wildlife”. In terms of elk ownership, elk is regulated as livestock in almost every state with a farmed elk industry, as well as at the federal level by the United States Department of Agriculture.  Elk is part of a $4 billion-dollar farmed elk and deer industry in the United States.

On this same token, NAEBA is confused why the Montana Wildlife Federation is targeting Arby’s restaurants but turning a blind eye to restaurants in mountain west states that have served elk for decades that is imported from elk and red deer ranches in New Zealand. Moreover, with Thanksgiving approaching, will the Montana Wildlife Federation criticize consumers for purchasing frozen turkeys at supermarkets?

There will always be people that do not agree with elk being raised on ranches.  However, elk is a highly regulated livestock industry. In fact, President Teddy Roosevelt’s own Department of Agriculture published a report in 1908 that encouraged elk and deer farming to become a major alternative livestock species. 

The North American Elk Breeders Association, or NAEBA, is a 501(c)(5) non-profit organization representing the elk ranching industry in the United States, Canada and Mexico. Formed in 1990, NAEBA is recognized by federal authorities as the voice of the industry and enjoys Allied Industry Status in the United States Animal Health Association. 

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