"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.