Friday, September 12, 2014

MEATONOMICS by David R. Simon

The cost of eating meat is more than substantial. If Americans gave up meat today, one sixth of the country would be returned to other agriculture or native use, an output of greenhouse gases greater than that produced by internal combustion engines would be curtailed, and untold billions would be saved in payouts that are given as subsidies by the government to keep meat cheap in visible price at (invisible) taxpayer expense. That Big Mac is more expensive than you think: it’s more like $11. So says David Robinson Simon in MEATONOMICS, detailing the $414 Billion which meat eating costs society each year. And then there’s the pollution which cow, pig, and chicken manure produces, and the depressing cruelty that the meat industry’s robber barons impose on animals to process them quicker (with hormones) in the Nazi war camp conditions of feed lots, tight stinking pens, and darkened grain barns that look like barracks for prisoners. (I recall seeing a report on a pig processor in North Carolina that wouldn’t let the press in to take photos, or even show them the kill floor without cameras. Aren’t pigs highly intelligent and sensitive creatures whose organs can often replace our own?) Simon relates the costs to the economy and the world due to meat consumption, as more land and water are used to produce grain for animal production than for human Americans…while grains are not meant to be eaten by cattle, and can make them sick. Used to be, he says, that thousands of small farmers raised cattle and other animals on open grass ranges, but in recent decades the trend has gone toward giant corporate farms who hustle cattle into fed lots ever earlier, while chickens never see the light of day. Narrated by the always engaging Christopher Lane, this audiobook is a must hear for anyone wanting to lift the curtain hiding butchers from investigative audit. The book ends with a solution sure to be fought by the massive meat lobby and Cargill: a tax on meat consumption to make the prices reflect what Americans are actually paying anyway. Fish farms are also a target. Not only are inferior fish escaping from farms (such as in Alaska) and breeding with wild species, but if something isn’t done soon, fish populations will collapse because fishermen are being paid to fish ever dwindling stocks…which they wouldn’t be doing if they weren’t being paid by subsidy checks taken directly from our wallets in taxes. 

1 comment:

  1. Just too many people being born, makes meat production unsustainable. McDonalds should introduce cricket burgers. They eat bugs in Asia. High protein, low cost. McCricket. Better than slicing up Bambi or little lambs to make shish kebabs.