CNN is reporting on another factory farm bailout. Just when large swathes of people make the free choice to eat fewer animals (in fact, 21% of college students limit their meat consumption) that’s when the US government swoops in and bails out the factory farms. The US recently spent 40 million dollars on chicken farm bailouts. It’s not the first time and it won’t be the last.
MFA crunched the numbers:
“According to the The Wall Street Journal, the chicken bailout, combined with similar buyouts last year, gives chicken factory farmers ‘an extra $86 million in government chicken purchases above the roughly $100 million the USDA buys in scheduled chicken purchases for a year.’ All of this government aid is in addition to the estimated $1.25 billion the chicken industry saved per year in feed costs from 1997 to 2005 due to taxpayer-funded subsidies.”
Here’s how it works:
When the “free market” speaks and consumers eat less meat (due to compassion or fear) there is a surplus of meat. Animal agribusiness drops the prices in response, but sometimes that’s not enough. So then they ask government to bail them out by buying up the surplus. Goverment agrees and then sends the cheap surplus meat to public schools and other programs like church food banks and the Boys and Girls Club.
When this happens it becomes an integral part of the meat-consumer cycle. Since so much of the surplus winds up in the mouths of needy children (who are dependent on government programs for food) those children grow up to become habitual animal eaters, wrongly thinking that meat is a necessary part of a healthy diet when in fact meat is not necessary at all and in fact, excess consumption of animal poducts is linked to heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity and other health problems.
(Remember, “It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases.”)
Like the tobacco industry, the meat industry knows that many of their consumers are dying. The success of their product requires early indoctrination. The meat industry knows that in order to increase profits (because our economy depends on growth, not stability) they must encourage young people to become habitual and excessive consumers of animal products. Making deals like this bailout – where surplus meat products wind up in public schools – are all part of the plan to keep meat in kids mouths (and prevent anyone from seriously questioning the ethics of eating animals in an age where it’s not necessary).
Most Americans don’t eat enough fruit and vegetables. But they eat plenty of animal products. (In fact, the average American eats twice as much meat as the global average person.) This is not the time for government to buy up surplus chicken products and feed them to poor people. Rather, poor people deserve the same free choice that wealthier people have: the choice to eat a healthy diet! We all desrve the freedom to choose compassion and health. We all deserve the right to eat a diet that limits or omits animal products!