Veterinarian H. Scott Hurd, a prominent and respected scientist and advocate for animal agriculture, passed away last week after a battle with brain cancer. A leading authority on food safety and antibiotic use in livestock, Hurd wrote prolifically, skillfully and passionately on these issues in recent years, bringing civility and reason to the often heated dialogue.

Hurd most recently served as associate professor at Iowa State University’s (ISU) Department of Veterinary Diagnostic and Production Animal Medicine and director of the Food Risk Modeling and Policy Lab at ISU. Previously, he spent 15 years with the USDA, including serving as deputy acting under secretary for food safety in 2008, where he directed the federal meat and poultry inspection program.

Hurd’s blog, called “Hurd Health,” brought clarity and scientific reason to the issues of antibiotic use, animal health and animal welfare. He also wrote a blog for titled “The gentle vet,” and contributed regularly to publications such as Food Safety News, helping dispel myths and misinformation about animal agriculture.

Based on information from, Hurd was a member of the American Society of Microbiology’s Public Health and Scientific Affairs Board and the Animal Health Institute’s Scientific Advisory Council on Healthy Animals Safe Food, vice chair of AVMA’s Council on Biological and Therapeutic Agents and chair of the AVMA’s Clinical Practitioner’s advisory committee.

Hurd earned his B.S. in biology from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 1978, his DVM from Iowa State University in 1982 and a Ph.D. in epidemiology/economics from Michigan State University in 1990. He started his veterinary career in a dairy practice in South Central Pennsylvania. This was one of the first practices in the country to computerize their herd health records. The data collected in this program piqued his interest in epidemiology.

According to an article from, 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.