The sorrowful saga also fuelled a powerful social media campaign - a campaign Sonnen-King found herself at the center of earlier this week.
"I'm getting calls about Oatmeal every three or four minutes," she said. "Even people from Fort Worth are calling asking, 'What can I do? What can I do?'"
Sonnen-King directed people to get in touch with Geren. But even her discussions with the state representative bore little fruit.
"Absolutely, it was no at that point," she said.
For their part, stock show organizers claim they began discussing a different fate for Oatmeal after learning he had cataracts.
"Upon learning the steer had cataracts, members of the veterinary community and others began exploring opportunities to further understanding and education on the steer's condition in a university setting," Friday's press release said.
Regardless of the reasons for the show's about-face, livestock proponents made it clear that steers like Oatmeal are born to be slaughtered.
Writing in Beef Magazine, Amanda Radke called out Oatmeal's supporters for "equating a market steer to a pet."
Matt Brockman, the show's publicity manager, put it more bluntly.
"You can develop a bond with an animal, but at the end of the day we know why they're here," he told the Star-Telegram. "These kids are providing a safe and nutritious source of protein."
The animals, of course. Not the kids. Unless they're goats. Then that's fine.