Monday, August 18, 2014

Environmental and Climate-Change Wackos Starting to Target Livestock and All Americans Who Eat Meat

Jayson Lusk, a professor of agricultural economics at Oklahoma State University, writes in WSJ:
The documentary film "Cowspiracy," released this week in select cities, builds on the growing cultural notion that the single greatest environmental threat to the planet is the hamburger you had for lunch the other day. As director Kip Andersen recently told the Source magazine: "A lot of us are waking up and realizing we can choose to either support all life on this planet or kill all life on this planet, simply by virtue of what we eat day in and day out. One way to eat takes life, while another spares as many lives (plant, animal and otherwise) as possible."

James McWilliams, vegan author of the 2013 book "The Politics of the Pasture," argues that modern agricultural, and the cattle industry in particular, are part of a global food-supply system so damaging that the only moral solution is to give up eating meat entirely.

Each to his own, you might say. But these ideas are working their way into government policy proposals. For example, Angela Tagtow, a self-described "environmental nutritionist" formerly with the Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture, was recently tapped to head the U.S. Department of Agriculture's effort to revise federal dietary guidelines. This is a sign that the new recommendations are likely to go beyond nutritional science to incorporate environmental considerations. Many observers believe that meat will be specifically targeted for scrutiny.

Environmental nutritionists argue that the social and environmental costs of meat production—obesity, chronic disease, the production of green-house gases such as methane, etc.—are not reflected in prices at the grocery store or restaurant. "The big-ticket externalities are carbon generation and obesity," New York Times columnist Mark Bittman recently wrote. He argues that beef prices don't reflect these externalities and that "industrial food has manipulated cheap prices for excess profit at excess cost to everyone."


  1. I keep praying for that meteor to hit DC but so far, no good....

  2. What we (the human race) don’t know. Specifically what the scientific community does not know. Even more specific, what we think we know but do not. EPJ have an idea of how wrong the “science” of economics can be. Science has establishments that are economically, philosophically and politically motivated. They spout such inaccuracies as “the science is settled” and produce deadly advice such as the “food pyramid”. Knowing how wrong the establishment often is is a huge reason to judge all solutions with the NAP. In my opinion especially those regarding nutrition.

    Also in my opinion those that fault the currently most prevalent agriculture practices for health and environmental issues are correct. As EPJ readers know, what is not usually discussed is how distorted the agriculture industry is due to government intervention. How different would the industry be if the norm were more toward the practices of “grass ranchers” in the line of Polyface Farms? How much more healthy would be the food? How much more would the environment be sustained?

  3. Meat is not the reason people are obese, as we have moved towards a higher carb diet during the obesity epidemic.

  4. "What we (the human race) don’t know. Specifically what the scientific community does not know. Even more specific, what we think we know but do not. "

    Stopped reading there. Work on your game.

  5. Obesity is not an externality. It is something each individual creates in him- or herself by choosing what to eat and esp. by leading a sedebntary life not in sync with their calorie intake. And like with constantly rising tobacco taxes, that hardly stop anyone from smoking, rising prices based on fake externality arguments is going to do nothing to stop obesity but actually, q.v. the biofuels disaster, is going to upset some delicate balance in the food production logic at some other, probably quite, as yet, inscrutable point. As for "... revise federal dietary guidelines ..." - the real culprit are carbo hydrates. Only from carbs can the human body synthesize fats! Fats are only burnt as calories (which is why some ketogenic diets, though not without risks, at least work). But the government and other advocacy groups have for decades told people not to eat fat - with the evidence of at least a mysterious correlation in plain sight: the more fat has been demonized, the fatter people became.