Sunday, September 24th, 2017

Meat subsidies strip other food industries to the bone

Casey Ledoux / Free Press Staff

Posted on April 29, 2013 in Perspectives
By USM Free Press

Written by Fatoumata Issifi Hidjo

Would you go into a fast food restaurant to order a hamburger if you knew it would cost you over $50? Would you order steak in a fancy restaurant if you knew it was going to cost you over $200? In truth that’s already what you are paying. When is the price you pay not the price you pay? When the government helps to foot the bill.

The U.S. government subsidizes the beef industry. The government subsidies are for corn to feed the animals and water and land for them to graze on. If the beef industry had to pay fair market value for these resources, a Happy Meal would turn into an Unhappy Meal very quickly. Those subsidies are funded by taxes collected from the American taxpayer – that’s you and me. And it doesn’t matter whether you are vegetarian, vegan, pescetarian (those who eat fish, but no other meats) or belong to any sect, creed, religion or faith that prevents eating certain kinds of meat, you are not exempt: if you live in the U.S and pay taxes here, you’re paying for that big, juicy, $50 Big Mac along with the rest of us.

Sixty three percent of the U.S. government food subsidies go directly or indirectly to subsidize the meat and dairy industries. Less than 1 percent goes to fruit and vegetable cultivation. Less than 2 percent goes to nut and legume cultivation. Stopping meat subsidies would raise meat prices dramatically. If I cannot afford meat I will not buy meat; However, I could buy fruits and vegetables if the decreased governmental subsidy for meat is used to subsidize fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes. Shifting subsidies will help provide healthy and affordable diet choices for all Americans.

America needs to reallocate its food subsides. Now that America is struggling to provide health care for its disadvantaged populations, it is time to focus on the cause of health problems. Poor diet causes problems such as hypertension, heart disease and, most alarmingly, the high rate of obesity and type two diabetes that is increasingly affecting our youth. The better our diet, the healthier we are and the less we will desperately need that health care. Shifting our food subsidies will help ourselves and the environment, and help to safeguard the health and future of the next generation of Americans.

In this tough economy people buy the food they can afford instead of making healthy and environmentally sound choices. In a country like the U.S., healthy foods should not be a luxury. Our tax money should not be used to harm us. If the subsidies to the beef industry were ever cut so that we would get a more accurate sense of what things should cost, we would see Ronald McDonald would go out of business or quickly be replaced by Ronald McHealthy.

Be involved – don’t let your taxes work against your well-being. Let your senator know that you sent them to D.C. to look after you, and that they should support only farm subsidies that increase the well-being of America.

Fatoumata Issifi Hidjo is a Junior in the USM honors program.

  • I Can See You

    you are such a terrific career killer. Kudos!

  • jshicke

    I do it to reduce methane emissions. I eat all these cows to save you. Please donate to my cause.

  • Luke smith

    I think that was his point.. taken into account the affects on the environment and depleting graind and food sources from 3rd world countries, without the subsidies everyone would have to go vegan or at least reduce meat to a rare luxary like it was in the past. This would be significantly better for distributing food on a global scale and for the environment with the ethical issues aside. Without people paying the true cost of meat then the environment will only continue to get worse and worse until we run out of land and have to stop eating it in 50 years time anyway, might as well stop now before we fuck up the planet.

  • Luke smith

    You wrote this article as if healthy foods are more expensive… even with all the subsidies vegetables and legumes are significantly cheaper than living off an omni diet. I have had a few friends do £1 a day food challenges to raise awairness for world hunger and although they are usually omni they had to cut out meat dairy and eggs for the challenge. The fact that its still significantly cheaper without all the subsidies being invested should really say it all

  • MinkStole

    You come across as a meat industry type……using the shaky straw-man “but grain and corn get big bucks too like us ( the meat industry) !’…..without of course identifying yourself as one of them……..so your point is government wastage of taxpayer money ….mine is that that tax money is also used to prop up the meat industry PLUS Big Pharma ( in it’s profitable ‘treatment’ of meat diet causing diseases). Not to forget the devastating impact meat production has on the environment. There is no reason that industry should be subsidized at all.

  • LA Chefs column

    Actually the 40% figure is a relatively easy one to provide sources for….here for example is a graphic chart from the USDA showing the recent history for uses of corn, http://www.ers.usda.gov/ImageGen.ashx?image=/media/521847/cornuse.jpg&width=480 ..though it isn’t a distinct pile of corn…different parts of the kernal go to different things as this graphic clearly illustrates: https://fortunedotcom.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/corn_industry_graphic.jpg?quality=80

    I also never claimed that crop insurance was solely for feed, so I think you misunderstood what I wrote. The crop insurance is just that insurance for the crop however the crop is used be that for feed, seed oil, biodegradable plastic, alcohol or whatever for corn, and other things for other crops.

    The real problem is the support of the monocrop industrial farming system. That’s what’s truly destructive. Ruminants should be eating grasses, and other livestock can eat farmed insects, food waste and agricultural by-products. Much of animal Ag already eats a lot of the Ag by-products. For example all the husks from almonds go to livestock as do a lot of distilled grains. .

  • Micheal kennedy

    “Reducing food costs for the majority of Americans who eat meat is hardly the worst way tax money could be spent. If you don’t like that, oh well. That is the way it is, so learn to deal with it.” Really, so it is good that the billion dollar sick care industry treating ( you guessed it) animal product related diseases should ALSO like the meat industry continue in prosperity ?

  • Micheal kennedy

    Don’t intend to diffuse your McCarthy era inspired paranoia, but private. for profit corporations receiving ( unfairly) public money is corruption, not an example of pinko communism……strawman statement you got there.

  • Micheal kennedy

    “At least meat subsidies benefit most Americans. You are in the minority. Sorry.” At least you are acknowledging your true colors …….you’re sure you are not advertising here? How does diabetes, colo-rectal and pancreatic cancers, obesity, etc ‘benefit’ most Americans? It benefits the sick care industry to be sure.”That tax money will still be taken regardless, the only difference is that it will be spent on something else’ Why treat this like some sort of ‘fait accompli’? It ( wasteful tax expenditures) is carved in stone ? Slavery ended, nothing is absolute, sorry to disappoint you..

  • Micheal kennedy

    ‘Like it or not, far far more people have meat as a main staple of their diet than vegetarian preferences, just because you don’t care about meat prices going up doesn’t mean most people wouldn’t.’ This is not a good rationale for continuing the subsidies, the W.H.O has designated meat in it’s category 1 for cancer risk……it is not healthy, period. Want cheaper veggies? Cut out the subsidies for meat and re-direct them to more plant production.

  • Micheal kennedy

    ‘Putting a tax on foods that have little to no nutrition and using that money to subsidize LEAN MEATS AND veggies/fruits would be a much more reasonable compromise’ No vegetarian would make this suggestion, they do not consume any meat…… making the meat all pretty and lean will not reduce it’s health problem potential ( various cancers, diabetes, etc) ‘Americans are privileged enough to be able to have a meat rich diet, and most of us enjoy that luxury’ Most of us ? So you cannot be a vegetarian…..also ‘most of us’ were taught decades ago that cigarettes were cool, chic, and healthy, there is a difference between what we are told is healthy and what is in fact healthy.

  • Micheal kennedy

    “40% of corn alone goes to ethanol production” Source ? You said this before I noticed. ‘ The crops would still be (and are) subsidized if they weren’t (and aren’t) used for feed. So it’s a somewhat specious argument to blame meat entirely for crop subsidies especially too since a number of other crops also receive price supports that aren’t used for feed including for wheat, cotton and rice ” Yes , said crops would feed people, as they should, not increase the profit margins of Roy Kroc inc ( McDonald’s) and other unhealthy meat enterprises. Now isn’t that a waste of taxpayers’ money, subsidies for rice, corn etc ( a high percentage of total subsidies ? not likely) that will feed them in turn, instead that money in your view should continue to go to a disease causing and environmentally devastating industry. Why not set up and start subsidizing a big eclair industry, if we want to continue on the road to absurdity ? At least the disease potential might be less and certainly sweet tooths would be satisfied . Much of the meat subsidies also pay for online advertising, of course.

  • Micheal kennedy

    Same as for the war protest used by some taxpayers (like Henry David Thoreau) you could always refuse to pay a portion of your taxes owed, for this very reason

  • Micheal kennedy

    So the handouts to the meat industry are only $20 billion ( in America) now? Last I heard it was about double that……where is your source for this, not to mention a source for the preposterous statement “you are wrong about where most of them ( subsidies) go btw, 90% go to 5 crops, corn being at the top, and most of corn going to ethanol’ Much of the taxpayer supported subsidies the industry receives goes to advertising, needless to say.

  • Micheal kennedy

    You want citations, sources, etc, yet your own ‘evidence’ to offer is a testimonial ” I work in a butcher shop”…..seriously? Do you need sources about the $38 billion in subsidies per year (U.S) that goes to meat and dairy advertising etc, too ?

  • Samuel DeBoard

    yes this is true but can the world do this and have the land to do it i doubt it. they are already cutting down all the rain forests for mostly beef and farming for soy and corn for beef.

  • Anonymous

    “Diet for a New America” said all this in the early 90’s. It had all the citations in the back, mostly from USDA.

  • Robert Hansard

    Say no to animal flesh

  • Bob Spinazzola

    Dave, your model is hardly sustainable, and that’s the problem with beef and pork. Factory farms cause suffering and massive environmental damage, smaller operations like yours may be more humane, but still consume more land and resources than our increasingly burdened planet can afford.

  • Charles F. Morissette

    You’re correct, to a degree. First, we know we need animals for the proper wellbeing of the environment (desertification studies where they removed animals like elephants and had more desertification back this idea). . . But, that’s a different thing then what you’re talking about.
    What you’re talking about is animals being used for food however. And yes, you could remove all subsidies from farms – but then we’d be right back to people eating dramatically less animal products and meat, like we were in the past. Why? Supply would drop drastically. No cheap grain to feed tons of animals, coupled with needing to use way more space to raise animals on grass, and you have a recipe for turning everyone vegetarian or vegan by force of necessity.
    Or do you honestly think that industrial farms are done because they’re evil and not because they’re effective?

    Either way, I guess that’s why your name is either LA Chef or LA Chef columnist (minus the ist). So keep flipping meat for money, or keep writing about those who flip meat for money, but try not to strain your brain to much in the future with scenarios that don’t exist in the real world.

  • LA Chefs column

    The crops that receive subsidies (actually price supports) aren’t exclusively for animal feed. 40% of corn alone goes to ethanol production. A lot of corn and soy go into process foods and highly processed vegetable oil too. The crops are used as feed because they are subsidized (cheap). The crops would still be (and are) subsidized if they weren’t (and aren’t) used for feed. So it’s a somewhat specious argument to blame meat entirely for crop subsidies especially too since a number of other crops also receive price supports that aren’t used for feed including for wheat, cotton and rice

  • LA Chefs column

    With properly managed pasture raised livestock with paddock rotations, especially in integrated systems, manure isn’t an issue like it is with industrial systems; manure is a benefit called fertilizer.that builds soils- soils that retain more water. Now as for water, in general, again for pastured based systems,the water to grow grass is called RAIN. There’s no irrigation. Plus ruminants get 70 to 90% of their water needs through the grasses they eat. So just because you don’t understand the differences between pasture based and industrial systems doesn’t mean that pasture based ones get or need all the subsidies that industrial ones do

  • Baller man

    Baller man

  • soylent green

    Communism rules
    Ask any corporate entity

  • soylent green

    Have you seen the national debt vs GDP lately? 102%+

  • Kyle Flatt

    Eat more fruit and vegetables. carbs (corn and corn syrup) are also heavily subsidized. partly because its food for the meat we grow.

  • Bryan

    Or we could go to a libertarian system were we all keep our money and spend it as we like to. We all get taxed about half as much and then can choose to pay “true” prices for the things that we personally enjoy. Those who go to the national park, pay a realistic fee to keep it. Those who drive on that specific road, pay a toll to maintain that specific road. Those who want to eat meat, can pay a realistic price for that piece of shit.

  • Bryan

    Why do you then defend taxation that you don’t believe and say we should all just be forced to live in this pile of crap we don’t agree with? You should fight to change the system. If you don’t think the gov’t should spend your money on a defense program, then speak up. This is a serious injustice, so don’t resort to say “to bad so sad” especially when you know there is something wrong with the status quo.

  • Michael

    I’ll say that they’re wrong. Americans eat tens of billions of burgers every year, for the government to pay anywhere near $50 in subsidies for each of those it would have to be half the federal budget. With other meat included it would be several times that. Complete bullshit.

  • Heather Riede

    Love this article!! Well said!!

  • Guest

    nice fallacies, but easily disproven with math. 310 million americans. 195lbs of meat per year each. 20 billion in subsidies per year (you are wrong about where most of them go btw, 90% go to 5 crops, corn being at the top, and most of corn going to ethanol). even if you assumed that every penny of that 20 billion went to meat, it’s not going to be a $45 dollar difference for a big mac, it’s going to be 33 cents per pound of meat…

  • jessica

    I knew it. I knew something fishy was going on. Its way too cheap the cost of meat when you take in the price of feed, water, land and labor for meat. Vegetarians should be pocketing money.

  • Jeff White

    Meat and dairy subsidies are socialism. They benefit nobody.

    You do know that animal products cause cancer, diabetes, obesity… ah hell you probably doubt evolution, the big bang, arithmetic and global warming too.

  • Jeff White

    Meat is inherently expensive. It’s communist government meddling in the market that makes it appear cheap. We should end that welfare program.

  • Jeff White

    We could take a healthy chunk out of the War Department and use it for free health care… shame nobody’s solved that problem yet. We are an industrialized nation aren’t we?

  • Jeff White

    You mean people still eat animals? What are they trying to do, make themselves fat and impotent?

  • DStack

    Did you read the article? Animal-based foods are making everyone sick. We pay for it with medical bills and absurdly high insurance costs on top of our taxes. Also, the industry is immoral and dishonest and would crash without government subsidies and ag-gag laws. Not very American.

  • DStack

    Because they won’t make you sick and fat like meat will.

  • Anonymous

    vegan for 15 years. no need for meat & dairy. corrupt gov’t

  • Riley Cowell

    Vegetarians are gay. VEGAN PRIDE!!! Asshole….

  • Charles F. Morissette

    I significantly doubt you don’t receive any subsidies unless your farming zone is for veggies – or worst yet, normal industry, as land is heavily subsidized. Same with that, do you feed them bottled water or tax payer subsidized water on way more then a 500 to 1 ration with veggies? Do we count in the cost of getting rid of your animal waste or not? Just because you don’t understand where the subsidies come from, doesn’t mean they are absent.

  • raj

    I am a vegetarian, I am being ripped. Just remove all subsidies and redirect all that money to improve infrastructure, education and good (non destructive) research. Also I didn’t realize my tax money is contributing to meat subsidies which is against my principles.

  • pyrodice

    It must be a new experience, trying to argue with somebody who won’t justify their ethics using statistics.
    You finally caught on though: I am an anarchist. And not just some skinny malnourished teenage punk spray painting walls, but the sort of person who understands that you don’t have to apply force to people to get them to do what’s in their own best interests, and you don’t have to get them to forsake their best interests for society to continue.

    Answer me just one thing: what justifies the initiation of force against peaceful people?

  • Jackie Debs

    The more I read from you the more I realize that I am the crazy one for even trying to talk sense to someone as far gone as you. You have literally sat here this entire time trying to argue that all taxation should be abolished. You honestly think so simplistically that you truly can’t see why that is a ridiculous notion. I guess societies throughout history didn’t have people as brilliant as you to tell them such. Too bad isn’t it?

    You are a certifiable nutcase. No one in their right mind is trying to arguing that government is highly efficient with their use of tax money, but even if they were, it still wouldn’t be as batshit insane as what you purpose. In your mind, the world is so black and white as to think that the entire western world is too stupid to realize that they are being duped, or “robbed like the mafia” as you so eloquently put it.

    I am so glad that goofy opinions like this are not taken seriously by the majority of Americans, or we would live, quite literally, in anarchy. I have wasted too much of my time attempting to explain the most basic of economics with someone as politically fringe as yourself. Nothing is going to convince you that taxes are necessary, or that it is irrational to expect them to be molded to individual preferences and beliefs. It is like trying to convince someone that the world is round.

    Have fun on the fringe. I truly hope you make it back to the real world of logic one day. Take care.

  • pyrodice

    Well, let’s see… I’ve never been EITHER stoned, or a hippy, but I’ll be shocked if you can say the same to at least one of those. I’m actually a two-tour veteran who learned the hard way just how BADLY government spends our money.

    You REALLY want to bring up roads? Next you’ll be word-vomiting about Somalia, because you’ve “heard” how it’s a libertarian paradise, all evidence to the contrary (It’s a failed state). Here’s how badly government mis-manages roads: At times of PEAK DEMAND, they SHUT DOWN a lane except to those who pay the LEAST in gas-taxes towards the maintenance of that road. Hybrids, multi-passenger vehicles and motorcycles can use it, despite paying a fraction of what you do, for “their fair share”. Also, if a government fails to keep a road in repair, they don’t get punished, but if the people who LIVE there repair it on their own money, government ensures that it’s “up to their standards”, and will punish or fine them for having done their job for them. Note that it costs the people who live there a fraction of what the road company charges the government. Think about that. Think also about the fact that I just pointed out that roads are made by PRIVATE COMPANIES. Government doesn’t BUILD a damn thing, they just take money and give it to others. That’s all they ever do.

    Your point is “hurr durr” (a lot, I note) and then something about how you think people are too stupid to spend money on the stuff they need in life. Tell me: Can I withhold the money they spend on bombing children in other countries without withholding the money they spend on feeding them here? No? Then I’m not paying them a cent. I’ve been doing that for years, and I’m right to do it. Aww, now *I’M* spending *your* dollars, still don’t have a problem with that?

    “Clearly you have no clue how subsidies work, at all”

    Clearly ONE of us doesn’t, but it ain’t me. Government has agents with guns, and they’ll send them around to make sure you pay what they demand. Seeing anything familiar? That’s what the mafia’s “protection money” looks like, too. Who cares what it goes to? Taxation is a theft of legitimately acquired wealth, and it doesn’t matter if a mugger puts your wallet into the poor-box at church, he’s still a criminal.

    “But you know what? Lets stop “forcing” people to pay taxes for those too and let the prices go up on all of those as well. Because, its not like it even reduces the cost right? If we didn’t pay our 25% or so in taxes, surely we could afford higher prices in all food products across the board! BRILLIANT!”

    Exactly! You know, saying something sarcastically doesn’t make it dumber. A thing actually has to BE dumb to sound dumb. Taxing people so their grocery bill is lower is like sitting in a bucket and pulling up on the handle to try and use it as an elevator. But sure, if it still seems like a good idea to you, why not have the government pay ALL the costs of food, right? I mean, the USSR did that, and it worked out JUST FINE for them!

    “If only we had an ideological, undereducated, goofball to tell us all these simple truths before, we could have avoided all this nasty tax stuff all along!”

    Oh, is my philosophy too simplistic?
    What’s yours? “Let government do it!”
    Wow, that’s profound, and deep.

    See, here’s what you’re missing: When government pays to make a thing universally available, they don’t increase the supply, so it costs them WAY more to make such a huge bulk move… In contrast, the market’s supply and demand work to discourage everyone from wanting the same thing at once. Oh, is hamburger $5/lb now? Maybe ground turkey is less… Maybe Emu is less… Maybe we can skimp on it by putting more oatmeal in the meatloaf mix… and JUST MAYBE we can pick something that doesn’t COST us a shitload per pound. D’you think people are too dumb to do that?
    Then why do you trust how they vote, and who they vote for?

  • Jackie Debs

    Jesus christ, it is like talking to a stoned hippy with you. Lets follow your brilliant line of ideological “logic” for a second.

    “hurr durr, I don’t even drive a car, I shouldn’t have to pay taxes that will be spent on roads that I don’t use”

    Hurr durr, I don’t even go to the doctor, my tax money should not have to go to medical research”

    “Hurr durr, end the foodstamps program, I don’t beleive in redistributing my tax dollars to people who need food assistance!”

    “We need to stop THE MAN from taking our money for things we don’t want or use. man! We shouldn’t even have a government! They aren’t magical! Lets just have a society ran on donations man! We can spend our money only on our individual pet causes! If I want a road, i’ll give my money for a road! ”

    Clearly you have no clue how subsidies work, at all. You probably don’t even realize that the US government also subsidizes Corn, cotton, wheat, rice, soybeans, dairy, peanuts, sugar, oilseeds, honey, and vegetable oil products. But you know what? Lets stop “forcing” people to pay taxes for those too and let the prices go up on all of those as well. Because, its not like it even reduces the cost right? If we didn’t pay our 25% or so in taxes, surely we could afford higher prices in all food products across the board! BRILLIANT!

    If only we had an ideological, undereducated, goofball to tell us all these simple truths before, we could have avoided all this nasty tax stuff all along!

  • pyrodice

    For the second time on this page, it’s NOT reducing costs, it’s just redistributing them so you pay for meat whether you eat it or not, but I’m sure that doesn’t matter to you, since you’re clearly someone who doesn’t think you’d have the common sense to know how to spend your own money, if government wasn’t threatening you. I expected better, but clearly since I got a “only government can do X” attitude, I’ll readjust to talking to a conspiracy theorist who clearly believes that government is run by aliens, or perhaps androids, because otherwise nobody could possibly ever believe that “government does stuff that people can’t do”. For the rest of us who recognize that GOVERNMENT IS MADE UP OF PEOPLE, they’re not so magical.

  • Jackie Debs

    Yes, government should just ask everyone how they want their tax money to be spent individually, for 300 million individual preferences. I don’t know what kind of ideolistic fantasy land you are dreaming of, but that is not how representative democracy works. If you don’t like it, feel free to stop paying taxes and see how it works out for ya. Or I guess you could continue posting rage filled rants on the Internet about it. I am sure that will help.

    Reducing food costs for the majority of Americans who eat meat is hardly the worst way tax money could be spent. If you don’t like that, oh well. That is the way it is, so learn to deal with it.

  • pyrodice

    And if that’s too vague for you, let me rephrase: If you want me robbed, grow a sack and come do it yourself. Stop hiring people or voting for ones who will do it FOR you. Coward.

  • pyrodice

    First, I get the impression that you think I’m a vegetarian of some sort. I’m not. I’m just not a statist that thinks taxation is somehow cool because you can “get free shit” out of it. That’s completely utilitarian, which is a retarded and self-destructive philosophy. I don’t HAVE to be a “special snowflake” to know that if I earn money, I’m the one who has the highest say as to where it goes. Taking money from people to use AGAINST them is bullshit. It’s no better than the mob robbing you and using your money to buy bigger guns for next time. That’s pretty much how the world was under feudalism,and you’d think we’ve moved on, but I keep meeting people like you who think it’s just peachy as long as you get to be IN the mob.

  • Jackie Debs

    First off, that is making a very silly assumption that extra money is being taken directly from you for this benifit. That tax money will still be taken regardless, the only difference is that it will be spent on something else.

    Why should veagans be exempt from having their tax dollars used for that? It doesn’t matter if you are morally opposed or not any more than it matters that I am morally opposed to the massive defense spending or giving aid to brutal countries. It is going to happen regardless. You are not a special snowflake. At least meat subsidies benefit most Americans. You are in the minority. Sorry.

  • pyrodice

    The same logic says that if I’ve been imperiling you for weeks and I suddenly stop, I’m saving your life.
    My folks have a large veggie garden and a chicken coop. They sell eggs, and occasionally eat a chicken. You’re not even preaching to the choir here, you’re lecturing the professor.

    So you don’t care that you’re STILL paying higher prices for your meat, but doing it in the form of taxation?

    How can you justify taking tax dollars from someone who is morally opposed, though? Taking a vegan’s money to pay for killing animals is like taking an atheist’s money and using it to build a church or buy bibles.

  • Jackie Debs

    Call it what you want, if the policy is changed, meat prices will go up. Period. Like it or not, far far more people have meat as a main staple of their diet than vegetarian preferences, just because you don’t care about meat prices going up doesn’t mean most people wouldn’t. Want cheaper veggie prices? It’s much easier to start a individual garden than raise your own animals for meat.

  • pyrodice

    No, HIS taxes don’t change, but the math works out that he’s “ahead of the game”, or a “net tax recipient” of the money allotted to this end.

  • pyrodice

    It’s not “driving up” the cost of something to stop artificially altering the market.

  • David West

    Tax on foods?
    How about a free market without any subsidies. Taxation is theft.

  • BoostedSRT

    someone wants that, they down voted you. Don’t talk bad about their fake meat burgers!

  • JD

    This comes off like a vegetarians tantrum. Driving up the cost of meat is not the only way to get healthier. Putting a tax on foods that have little to no nutrition and using that money to subsidize LEAN MEATS AND veggies/fruits would be a much more reasonable compromise. Americans are privileged enough to be able to have a meat rich diet, and most of us enjoy that luxury. We could stand to cut out some of the meat, but having to pay “50 dollars for a bigmac” (A figure I highly doubt is supported by any actual facts) is not anything that Americans need to be subjected to.

  • Dave Tubman

    You are an idiot. I work in a butcher shop. Unlike most butcher shops we raise our meat ourselves, the only thing we don’t do slaughter. We also don’t engage in the worst (although cost efficient) practices of the meat industry. Our meat is pasture raised, grass fed, no antibiotics (unless necessary), no corn no soy. Oh, and did I mention we pay all of our employees living wage? We pay market value for all the resources it takes to make the product, and in the case of labor, more. We receive no subsidies. But our ground beef is seven a pound, a T-bone will rarely run you more than twenty. I don’t agree with subsidies to the meat industry, nor most of its practices. There is a lot of room for valid criticism. Your criticism is not valid, however, because you have absolutely no facts or citations to back up your assertion, and clearly no experience in the relevant field

  • Myron Jobra

    Not only are there no citations to back up your claims, but you also fail to mention that these “subsidies” are price supports. Corn is at an artificially high price due to government intervention.

  • I think more gardens with veggies in them, tomatoes are just as pretty as any flower! 🙂

  • abj

    So if a person eats steak 4 times a month, $800 of his tax is going into meat subsidy? And the rest of the government is running on $200?

  • Kyle Platt

    Why do you want me eating more carbs 🙁

  • Tanya Sitton

    Nice article! And it’s not just about monetary costs — the meat industry externalizes costs in so many ways, from environmental pollution to water waste to hideous treatment of workers (who then — because they’re not paid a living wage, don’t have retirment accounts, etc) rely on Medicaid and Social Security/ Disability when they’re permanently disabled from unsafe conditions in factory farms and slaughterhouses. Our food and subsidy systems are wildly disfunctional, and way past due for a serious overhaul! For more (with sources) on externalized costs of meat, here’s a starting point… http://www.cafothebook.org/thebook_myths.htm
    Thanks for the post! 🙂

  • danmac

    It doesn’t keep the cost of meat down. You pay that cost through your taxes.

  • Jackson

    Citations and sources would be nice. I’d hate to write my congressmen without the facts.

  • Do you wanna, like, I dunno, cite any sources for your numbers? Presumably you got them from somewhere. But a claim like “the true cost of a hamburger is $50” requires you to show your work for how you arrived at that number. I’m not saying you’re right or wrong, because I don’t know – indeed I suspect that the true cost of a burger is indeed astronomically high – I do mean to say that your article needs some work for this reason, though.

  • Paul Newcomb

    Yeah…I want meat that’s torn apart by a machine, tainted with fecal matter, urine, and disease from other animals, sprayed with disinfectant and re-dyed an unnatural pink color. YUM.

  • robert gould

    Well if it keeps the cost of meat down then that is a good use of my tax money.