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·         It’s the ‘End of Meat’, so shut up & drink the oil: NYT tries to berate its readers into a plant diet

·         NYT: The End of Meat Is Here



It’s the ‘End of Meat’, so shut up & drink the oil: NYT tries to berate its readers into a plant diet


Graham Dockery, Opinon, Russia Today

21 May, 2020


Dockery is an Irish journalist, commentator, and writer at RT. Previously based in Amsterdam, he wrote for DutchNews and a scatter of local and national newspapers.


Supermarket shelves are empty and slaughterhouses are cesspits of disease. With the coronavirus breaking supply chains, the New York Times has proclaimed the ‘End of Meat’. Why do these people only deal in absolutes?


“Meat comes with uniquely wonderful smells and tastes,” author Jonathan Safran Foer wrote in the New York Times on Thursday, “with satisfactions that can almost feel like home itself.” 


Yet, he continued, these satisfactions won’t be with us much longer. Raising livestock is bad for the environment, slaughterhouse workers are getting sick in record numbers, factory farming is cruel and inhumane, and vegetarianism is healthier and cheaper. And, because this is the New York Times, a meat-based diet is also racist, given the fact that the workers who prepare America’s steaks and sausages are overwhelmingly black and brown.


He’s right on some counts. The evils of factory farming are well-documented, and ought to horrify anyone with a shred of humanity. Chickens shouldn’t be so genetically modified that their brief existence is spent in agonizing pain. Pigs, who have emotions every bit as complex as dogs, shouldn’t be confined to iron prisons


 Furthermore, the consolidation of America’s meatpacking industry is bad for animals and farmers alike. Four companies now handle 85 percent of all beef production in the US, and three of these firms control 63 percent of the country’s pork production.


The companies – Tyson Foods, Cargill, the Brazilian-owned JBS S.A., and the Chinese-owned Smithfield – have been criticized before for underpaying farmers and workers, and for horrific abuse at their plants.


Elite nonsense


Yet the notion that a vegetarian or vegan diet would usher in a bright new future is elite nonsense. Saying this is not "industry propaganda," despite what he argues.


Safran Foer claims that adopting such a diet would be cheap. Citing a 2015 study, he claims that “a vegetarian diet is $750 a year cheaper than a meat-based diet.” What he didn’t explain is that the vegetarian diet studied by researchers was dreamed up by one of the researchers themselves in the 1990s as a weight-loss program that substituted olive oil for meat.


Meat may be murder, but an oil-based slimming diet is torture, and all but the most masochistic would gladly pay a premium to get their protein from animals.


Environmentally, the vegan future isn’t as green as its proponents like to make out. Demand for avocados, soy and palm oil has accelerated deforestation around the world. A 2016 study found that if humanity switched over to a vegan diet, we wouldn’t be able to sustain as many people, while another group of researchers caused a stir in 2018 when they found that removing livestock from fields would have “devastating” consequences on biodiversity and nutrition.


Even the Guardian, the torchbearer of all things liberal, ran a column in 2018 arguing that, “Rather than being seduced by exhortations to eat more products made from industrially grown soya, maize and grains, we should be encouraging sustainable forms of meat and dairy production based on traditional rotational systems.”


Eating meat is ‘racist’


But you should just shut up and drink the oil, you Nazi, because eating meat is racist. By continuing to demand meat, consumers are putting the “overwhelmingly brown and black” slaughterhouse workers of America at risk of catching the coronavirus, not to mention the occupational hazards that go along with working in the meat industry, Safran Foer argues.


As well as hiring America’s black underclass, the meatpacking industry depends on the labor of illegal immigrants. Nearly a third of all slaughterhouse workers are illegal immigrants who work for a third less than their American counterparts, but you won’t find the New York Times advocating for tougher border controls. That would be racist, by its own rules.


Instead, the paper went with its tried and true approach of shaming its white liberal readership, appealing to their overdeveloped guilt complexes. Likewise, arguing in favor of raising wages and improving welfare – incremental change – won’t grab headlines like ‘The End of Meat is Here’ does.


The dichotomy is false. Instead of choosing between industrial murder-factories and vegetarian utopia, there are several ways that America’s meat supply-line can be overhauled. First of all, the meat processing monopolies could be broken up. These firms can effectively dictate prices to farmers, ensuring that only the biggest, industrial farming operations can survive. Just last month, a pair of US senators urged the Federal Trade Commission to do just this.


Additionally, US Department of Agriculture regulations could be relaxed to allow farmers to sell their animals to small-scale local producers. At present, slaughterhouses need to have a USDA inspector on site, and only the largest facilities can afford to do this.


Kentucky Republican Rep. Thomas Massie wrote a bill aimed at undoing these regulations several years ago, and in light of the recent spate of slaughterhouse sicknesses, has again tried to push it through Congress.


Paying more for meat ...





The End of Meat Is Here

If you care about the working poor, about racial justice, and about climate change, you have to stop eating animals.


By Jonathan Safran Foer, Opinion, The New York Times (NYT)

May 21, 2020


Foer is the author of “Eating Animals” and “We Are the Weather.”


Is any panic more primitive than the one prompted by the thought of empty grocery store shelves? Is any relief more primitive than the one provided by comfort food?


Most everyone has been doing more cooking these days, more documenting of the cooking, and more thinking about food in general. The combination of meat shortages and President Trump’s decision to order slaughterhouses open despite the protestations of endangered workers has inspired many Americans to consider just how essential meat is.


Is it more essential than the lives of the working poor who labor to produce it? It seems so. An astonishing six out of 10 counties that the White House itself identified as coronavirus hot spots are home to the very slaughterhouses the president ordered open.


In Sioux Falls, S.D., the Smithfield pork plant, which produces some 5 percent of the country’s pork, is one of the largest hot spots in the nation. A Tyson plant in Perry, Iowa, had 730 cases of the coronavirus — nearly 60 percent of its employees. At another Tyson plant, in Waterloo, Iowa, there were 1,031 reported cases among about 2,800 workers.


Sick workers mean plant shutdowns, which has led to a backlog of animals. Some farmers are injecting pregnant sows to cause abortions. Others are forced to euthanize their animals, often by gassing or shooting them. It’s gotten bad enough that Senator Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican, has asked the Trump administration to provide mental health resources to hog farmers.


Despite this grisly reality — and the widely reported effects of the factory-farm industry on America’s lands, communities, animals and human health long before this pandemic hit — only around half of Americans say they are trying to reduce their meat consumption. Meat is embedded in our culture and personal histories in ways that matter too much, from the Thanksgiving turkey to the ballpark hot dog. Meat comes with uniquely wonderful smells and tastes, with satisfactions that can almost feel like home itself. And what, if not the feeling of home, is essential?


And yet, an increasing number of people sense the inevitability of impending change.


Animal agriculture is now recognized as a leading cause of global warming. According to The Economist, a quarter of Americans between the ages of 25 and 34 say they are vegetarians or vegans, which is perhaps one reason sales of plant-based “meats” have skyrocketed, with Impossible and Beyond Burgers available everywhere from Whole Foods to White Castle.


Our hand has been reaching for the doorknob for the last few years. Covid-19 has kicked open the door.


At the very least it has forced us to look. When it comes to a subject as inconvenient as meat, it is tempting to pretend unambiguous science is advocacy, to find solace in exceptions that could never be scaled and to speak about our world as if it were theoretical.


Some of the most thoughtful people I know find ways not to give the problems of animal agriculture any thought, just as I find ways to avoid thinking about climate change and income inequality, not to mention the paradoxes in my own eating life. One of the unexpected side effects of these months of sheltering in place is that it’s hard not to think about the things that are essential to who we are.


We cannot protect our environment while continuing to eat meat regularly. This is not a refutable perspective, but a banal truism. Whether they become Whoppers or boutique grass-fed steaks, cows produce an enormous amount of greenhouse gas. If cows were a country, they would be the third-largest greenhouse gas emitter in the world.


According to the research director of Project Drawdown — a nonprofit organization dedicated to modeling solutions to address climate change — eating a plant-based diet is “the most important contribution every individual can make to reversing global warming.”


Americans overwhelmingly accept the science of climate change. A majority of both Republicans and Democrats say that the United States should have remained in the Paris climate accord. We don’t need new information, and we don’t need new values. We only need to walk through the open door.


We cannot claim to care about the humane treatment of animals while continuing to eat meat regularly...


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