Feb 4, 2012

Eating Our Future: The Cost of Meat Demand in Global Markets

I hesitate to call flesh consumption a "demand"... There's so many factors involving complex (and corrupt) economics, twisted trade deals, aggressive and deceitful marketing tactics, and of course with Uncle Sam's complicity and aid.

For instance the marketing to kids about how "essential" cow's milk is... This super bowl ad is part of the National Dairy Council's "Fuel Up to Play 60" program - In collaboration partnership with the USDA.

And in mentioning the super bowl even the Defense Logistics Agency dictates provides what will be consumed by American soldiers:
The U.S. Department of Defense has shipped thousands of pounds of snacks for U.S. troops in Afghanistan to munch on while watching the New England Patriots and New York Giants battle it out in the Super Bowl this weekend.
The football feast includes: thousands of pounds of mozzarella cheese sticks, jalapeno poppers, chicken mini bites, chicken wings, pork and beef meatballs, turkey wings, chili, pizza, french fries, onion rings, potato chips and non-alcoholic beer to wash it all down.
But it looks as though the better choices of food were disregarded for industry favors interests:

With the help of government tax printed money it appears this meat/dairy/egg/military complex can't possibly fail! But is it sustainable? Maybe - If population growth is reduced... If alternative energy sources can be found... If climate cooperates... We might still be able to "feed the world" by 2050. And though it's controversial, even livestock producers acknowledge:
"the ability of the world to meet the increased food needs by 2050 could be improved if the world reduced its consumption of animal products. Reduced meat consumption would free-up large quantities of grain to be consumed directly." 
Despite better judgment though, I'm sure we'll continue to compete fight war with other humans and with "livestock" for food...

Certainly the beef checkoff and pork check-off aren't going to stop their expansion into global markets. And they sure do have a co-conspirator abettor in the U.S. Meat Export Federation.  Remember the celebrations over the trade agreements with Columbia, Panama and S. Korea?  Sure, it was going to make it "easier" to get rid of sell U.S. commodities to countries that didn't even know they wanted them!
“I thought that imported meat was of lower quality than domestic meat,” said one blogger, “but I am attracted to delicious U.S. pork now that I have experienced it.” Another blogger added: “I thought U.S. beef might not be delicious or safe before I actually tried it. Now I changed my view. It’s fresh and delicious.” 
The quote above is from a USMEF "blogger outreach program" funded in part by the USDA Market Access Program (MAP) meant to expose "creative uses of U.S. red meat in a wide variety of applications." 
Yep! It's certain that the sun will not set or rise anywhere without U.S. "meat" and the consequences it brings to both man and non-human victims. Ironically in this story it is the "old" animal killers trumped by the new animal killers... Seems that no matter how hard things are on us - The other animals always have it worse.

Finally, I realize that some will take argument that every country should encourage market growth.  And that what the US is doing is legitimate and fair. But out of curiosity I looked at what MAP funds went where. Sure they're promoting apples, asparagus, peaches, fruit cocktail, cherries, citrus, potatoes, grapes and assorted nuts and seeds. But second only to cotton was meat at $16,495,353 followed by other "livestock" commodities: 
  • poultry/eggs $5,218,646 
  • dairy $4,515,671
  • The Pet Food Institute $1,460,439 
  • The Hide, Skin & Leather Association $107,918 
  • The Sheep Industry $410,298
The least funded export? Seeds $29,701 

If the US had any sense of honor we'd stop fattening "stock" that fattens bankers. And start feeding humans instead.  As an individual we can each denounce the cannibal world order by eating and living sustainably and compassionately. Ethics demand a vegan world.  Let's get to it!


veganelder said...

Jack D. Forbes wonderful book, "Columbus and Other Cannibals" subtitled "The Wetiko Disease of Imperialism, Exploitation and Terrorism" does an excellent job of describing and decrying our "cannibal world order"...as does your excellent post. The book can be purchased at betterworld books. (http://www.betterworldbooks.com/columbus-and-other-cannibals-id-0936756705.aspx)

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Amazing post!

Harry said...

Ahhh, a subject very close to my heart.

It is a mere handful of companies that control most of the world's food supply (be that for a flesh-eating or a gentle diet). And a mere handful that control its medical supply. And hey, guess what, these are up amongst the wealthiest companies globally.

I know that VE has already pointed us to a text but I'm going to add to that (also available from Better World Books): Stuffed and Starved by Raj Patel. The title states succinctly what you'll find within. Frightening.

CQ said...

You managed to hit on all the culprits in your round-up of articles, Bea.

It's clear that the South Korean farmer -- I mean harmer -- isn't at all bothered by "his" cows starving to death, any more than it concerns him when they are knocked in the head and bled to death. Interesting that he and his ilk don't get any sympathy from his country's consumers. They only want one thing: to feed their addiction to flesh. (They, like consumers worldwide, think they are free to choose to eat animals, when in fact they are being bludgeoned into submission to this addiction by all the powers-that-be around them: governments, advertisers, lobbyists, the "health care" profession that Harry mentions, and so on.)

Yes, indeed, gluttony and greed, two of the so-called deadly sins, go hand in hand. And truly ARE deadly.

Thank goodness there's a solution to this madness: Get real. Think for yourself. Feel for others. Refuse to be fooled. Stand up to the hypnotizers. Try something new: LOVEGAN! (That's LOVE & VEGAN combined!)

Bea Elliott said...

Hi veganelder! The following is from the Amazon paperback version of the book you recommended: Celebrated American Indian thinker Jack D. Forbes’s Columbus and Other Cannibals was one of the founding texts of the anticivilization movement when it was first published in 1978. His history of terrorism, genocide, and ecocide told from a Native American point of view has inspired America’s most influential activists for decades. Frighteningly, his radical critique of the modern "civilized" lifestyle is more relevant now than ever before.
Identifying the Western compulsion to consume the earth as a sickness, Forbes writes:
"Brutality knows no boundaries. Greed knows no limits. Perversion knows no borders. . . . These characteristics all push towards an extreme, always moving forward once the initial infection sets in. . . . This is the disease of the consuming of other creatures’ lives and possessions. I call it cannibalism."

It's certainly something I'd like to read... But ouch at the price! I may just ask my library to carry this. It ought to fit well in between their shelves of Southern Cracker Cow-man books and the standard American HIS-story books that are available now. :/

Thank you for the visit and the recommendation!

Bea Elliott said...

Hi D.E.M. and thank you! I see on your blog you've recently suggested "Stuffed and Starved" by Raj Patel who Harry mentions in the post below yours...

Isn't this exactly what the web is intended for? To enlighten each other and make the message impossible to ignore!

So happy you dropped by and are paying things forward! ;)

Bea Elliott said...

Hello Harry! And thanks for the tip on Stuffed and Starved. From the website: "Half the world is malnourished, the other half obese—both symptoms of the corporate food monopoly. To show how a few powerful distributors control the health of the entire world, Raj Patel conducts a global investigation, traveling from the “green deserts” of Brazil and protester-packed streets of South Korea to bankrupt Ugandan coffee farms and barren fields of India. What he uncovers is shocking—the real reasons for famine in Asia and Africa, an epidemic of farmer suicides, and the false choices and conveniences in supermarkets. Yet he also finds hope—in international resistance movements working to create a more democratic, sustainable, and joyful food system.

From seed to store to plate, Stuffed and Starved explains the steps to regain control of the global food economy, stop the exploitation of farmers and consumers, and rebalance global sustenance."

I'll definitely have to get my hands on this book! I love the title too! It puts it in a handy nutshell - We can starve on steaks or thrive on plants.

Maybe off topic - But I've recently run into a few ag sites where they are starting to name the resources problems on wasteful consumers... Yeah - It's us consumers not devouring all of our hot dogs and sausages that's responsible for world hunger. Jeeze!

Appreciate your time and interest!

Bea Elliott said...

Hello CQ – I did range around a lot on this post... Glad it wasn’t too hard to navigate through the ports in this storm sea!

It IS a tightly woven web of lies and greed! Certainly in a microcosm the events surrounding Paula Deen really crystalize the cahoots of big ag and big phrama. Tragically while there are countless victims not even a blip on the money-making radar! It is so ugly I don’t know what to call it either - except sin.

“Think for yourself. Feel for others.” Get real indeed! – Thank you!