Me: Allegations that Biden is “banning meat” prove that good-faith conversation on reducing meat consumption is impossible. Conservatives react hysterically to even modest proposals, like funding lab-grown meat, for basically cultural reasons.— Zack Beauchamp (@zackbeauchamp) April 26, 2021
Right-wing Twitter: pic.twitter.com/qJiFeOYpFL
Joe Biden’s Secretary of Agriculture had to come out yesterday and clarify that the Biden administration isn’t planning to ban meat-eating in order to fight climate change.
“Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Monday dismissed a myth spread by conservative media that President Joe Biden intends to stop Americans from eating burgers and steaks as part of his plans to combat climate change.
“There is no effort designed to limit people’s intake of beef coming out of President Biden’s White House or USDA,” Vilsack said during a virtual briefing hosted by the North American Agricultural Journalists. “Sometimes in the political world, games get played and issues are injected into the conversation knowing full well that there’s no factual basis.” …”
The Daily Mail article about the issue that was published over the weekend went viral. The reality of the situation is that there is an obvious disconnect between 1.) the Biden administration’s stated goal of slashing carbon emissions by 50% by 2030 and 2.) maintaining industrial animal agriculture.
Ezra Klein made this exact point in his article “Let’s Launch a Moonshot for Meatless Meat” which was published in the New York Times on Saturday:
“About a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions are traceable to the food supply chain. Animal agriculture accounts for about three-quarters of those emissions and nearly 90 percent of those in the average American diet. A 2020 study found that even if all fossil fuel emissions ceased today, the food system would still push warming more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, which most scientists consider unsafe. “The 7.8 billion of us on this planet cannot have a steak every night,” Inger Andersen, executive director of the U.N. Environment Program, told me. “It doesn’t compute.”
It’s these next paragraphs where I fear I might lose you. It’s easier to argue for human welfare than animal welfare. I spent most of my life not just as a meat eater, but as an enthusiastic one. …”
These people are dancing around the issue.
You can’t have a steak every night. It just doesn’t compute. Only people like Michael Bloomberg should be able to afford to eat a steak every night. This is the most elitist shit ever.
They’re not banning meat-eating to fight climate change because obviously doing so is politically radioactive. Instead, the plan is to reduce carbon emissions that come from the food supply chain by offering “voluntary conservation programs that provide financial incentives to land owners to retire environmentally sensitive land from farm or livestock production or to adopt practices on land still in production to help sequester carbon or to reduce other greenhouse gas emissions.” In other words, they want to pay farmers not to raise livestock in order to reduce the meat supply to fight climate change. The overall effect of intervening in the economy like this would be to raise food prices for working class and middle class Americans and nudge them into eating shit like “Beyond Meat.”
“There is no intent to take land away from farmers. The goal here is to create new opportunities for farmers to benefit by embracing climate-smart agricultural practices,” Vilsack said. “There are a number of things we can do and will do, but none of it involves taking anybody’s land away from them or using eminent domain. It’s not going to happen.”
Vilsack also said there were false claims being made that Biden somehow planned to limit people’s meat consumption to reduce methane and nitrous oxide emissions from livestock.
The land-grab accusation persists despite the administration’s emphasis on voluntary conservation programs that provide financial incentives to land owners to retire environmentally sensitive land from farm or livestock production or to adopt practices on land still in production to help sequester carbon or to reduce other greenhouse gas emissions. …”
You see, it is “voluntary” for now.
They’re asking farmers nicely to stop producing livestock and paying them to do so.
Zack Beauchamp of Vox explains the crux of the problem:
“Here’s the problem, though: If Biden’s climate plan doesn’t do something about meat, it’s probably going to fail.
Globally speaking, livestock production represents a significant portion of overall greenhouse gas emissions. The reasons for this are intrinsic to meat production itself; there is no way for humans to consume meat in the way we do without abettingcatastrophic warming.
Ruminant animals like cows, kept in numbers much larger due to meat and dairy demand, emit methane gas through their bodily functions — a pollutant more potent than carbon dioxide. Raising allegedly more climate-friendly meats, like chicken, also emits significantly more greenhouse gases than plant-based protein productions. Animal agriculture necessitates clearing huge amounts of land, a significant cause of deforestation in places like Brazil’s Amazon. Concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), factory farms where animals are crowded into tiny cages and kept in horrific conditions, create massive feces lagoons that intensify the methane problem.
There is, in short, no way around the problem: If we want to keep climate change at a manageable level, we need to change the way we produce and consume animal products.
The Biden administration may or may not eventually take steps to deal with this problem. But the hysterical reaction to a falsehood that it is going to be doing so suggests just how explosive the reaction will be if Biden actually moves in this direction. …
To make matters worse, animal agriculture is also a huge business, meaning that billions of dollars would likely line up behind pro-meat Republicans. A new study reported by my colleague Sigal Samuel found that animal agriculture industries have already spent millions trying to undermine climate policy, when there’s been no federal effort to intentionally reduce American meat consumption. Imagine how hard they’d fight if there was one.
This conjunction of forces — the cultural power of meat and the interests of Big Agriculture — make the issue of reducing meat consumption politically challenging. …”
We’re not saying you have to eat Michael Bloomberg’s Bug Burgers.
We’re just totally saying that we are going to have the government tinker with the food supply chain in order to raise the price of meat to nudge you into eating Bug Burgers.
Note: You might have to live in a bugman capsule too.