There Is No War on Meat. There Should Be.
Conservatives’ lies about a Biden burger ban obscure a difficult truth about America’s addiction to a dangerous industry.
Nick Martin, The New Republic
April 26, 2021
Over the past few days, American conservatives have managed to wind themselves up into a full-blown meat panic. Let me try to recap.
Toward the end of last week, a Daily Mail article suggested that the Biden administration’s recent plans to reduce American emissions will include cutting the nation’s red meat consumption by 90 percent. As an unhealthy number of reactionary conservatives noted, that would amount to an allowance of roughly four pounds of meat per person each year. The story—obviously untrue to everybody who does not make their living by posting pictures of well-done steaks and bacon-wrapped asparagus on Twitter—gained traction thanks to a chorus of outrage-posts by both sitting and hopeful members of Congress, including Representative Lauren Boebert. At one low point on Friday, Fox News host Larry Kudlow misinterpreted a University of Michigan study to rave that “to meet the Biden Green New Deal targets,” Americans would have to stop eating meat completely. (There is no Biden Green New Deal, but whatever.) “No burger on July 4. No steaks on the barbie,” he said. “You can throw back a plant-based beer with your grilled Brussels sprouts and wave your American flag.”
I am almost loath to underscore this point, but none of the meat-rationing story is true, as has been pointed by numerous fact-checking publications by now. The nation’s meat consumption habits will likely not change much over the next four years. The White House has not focused on individual consumption in any of its proposals and so far seems uninterested in radically reforming the pork, poultry, or beef industries, despite spending all of last week signaling that the climate crisis is among the administration’s top priorities. Where the Department of Agriculture, Department of Labor, and Environmental Protection Agency should all be tightening the screws on labor conditions in meatpacking warehouses, runoff from hog waste lagoons, and general emissions from the industries, they are instead slapping the offenders with minuscule fines, encouraging the use of biofuels, and barely scratching the surface on implementing adequate emissions standards. Burgers, ribs, and steaks will continue to be stocked, sold, and devoured.
This kind of faux fracas over meat consumption is now occurring semi-regularly. Calls, serious or fictitious, have been issued before for Americans to eat less meat, both for health reasons and for the cumulative climate and environmental damage that industrial meat production has wrought on the planet, meatpacking workers, and neighboring communities. The most recent reminder arrived last August, when the United Nations tweeted and then deleted a post about the meat industry’s contributions to climate change. Some eight months later, we get to listen to the same song crank back up.
Here’s the truth that reliably gets buried in these uproars: We, as a nation and a society, would likely be better served if Congress and the White House did, in fact, stop subsidizing the meat production industries and created a public awareness campaign and accompanying federal program dedicated to helping people break out of our national dependency on meat...
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Biden’s climate plan won’t limit meat consumption
Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack clears up misconceptions about President Biden limiting beef intake.
Jacqui Fatka, BEEF
Apr 26, 2021
President Joe Biden does not have any plans to limit meat consumption as part of his broader climate plan, according to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. While speaking before the North American Agricultural Journalists annual meeting on Monday morning, Vilsack quickly downplayed the rumors.
“There is no effort designed to limit people’s intake of beef coming out of President Biden’s White House and USDA,” Vilsack says.
Over the weekend, Republican members of Congress and news outlets began to say that Biden’s climate plan included cutting 90% of red meat from diets by 2030.
Vilsack says the information is not based on any desire, effort, press release or policy paper that would support the notion that the Biden administration would require people to eat less meat or that USDA has some program designed to reduce meat consumption...
No land grab ...
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