By Carol R Williams, MS, RDN
In yet another example of direct democracy gone wrong, California’s Proposition process will again deliver its ill effects. This time it is the 2018 support of an animal welfare proposition which requires more space for breeding pigs, egg-laying chickens and veal calves.
It is animal welfare organizations, namely the Humane Society, that have pushed this flawed agenda purporting that animals raised for food are being mistreated. However, it is no secret that to get the most return on any animal raised for food it is crucial that the animal be kept healthy and void of stress.
Stress can result in immunosuppression which can lead to an increase in the susceptibility to disease that can cause overall reduction in growth. The alleged cruelty of confinement is only for a short time after conception when mom-to-be is vulnerable to typical aggressive behaviors from other pigs, and again briefly after giving birth to protect newborn piglets from being crushed by their own mother. Simply put, profits are lost in the mistreatment of animals raised for food. However, the animal welfare advocates and politicians knew full well the larger impact of Prop 12.
Most of the hogs subject to Prop 12 reside outside California. Due to the nature of pork production, processing and marketing, virtually every out-of-state producer will have to comply with California rules. Thus, there is a big impact by Prop 12 on interstate commerce of which animal welfare advocates and politicians were well aware.
Very few pork producers will be complying with this proposition which takes effect the first of the year. This will negatively impact the pork product supply and in turn raise the price. The increase costs for pork producers are significant and these costs will be passed along to the California consumer whether or not they voted to ensure that Porky had more space.
The situation is created whereas pork becomes scarce and expensive: this is the agenda for the promotion of the plant-based diet. The implementation will advance subtly through various institutional and corporate channels, most likely via the alternate protein industry.
The plant-based and alternative protein movement is focused on more than industry disruption. It is an ideology focused on replacing traditional food with a utopian food solution. It is as political as much as it is commercial. In the two great dystopian novels of the 20th century, Brave New World and Nineteen Eighty-Four, synthetic food provided by the state is linked to survival.
A nation’s protein food supply and its political ideology are linked. Controlling the means of production and interfering with food supply is a theme of totalitarianism: fascist Mussolini and Marxist Stalin both did it to their respective countries, and American settlers did it to Native American Indians by exterminating the buffalo. The tool of today’s tyranny is faux meat.
Consumption of nutrient dense animal source foods is associated with wealth, health, physical strength and intelligence. Together these attributes empower the individual and enable independence from the state. The end game of the plant-based diet agenda is not about treating animals with humanity, but treating humans like animals.
The anti-animal agriculture narrative, the plant-based diet agenda, the calls for the introduction of a meat tax, and anthropogenic (human-caused) climate change are all branches of the same tree.
James Richards writes in The Road to Ruin, “Climate change is a convenient horse for elites to ride in the implementation of a new world order….Climate change is the perfect platform for implementing a hidden agenda of world money and world taxation.”
Impossible Foods, the company receiving much of the alternate protein limelight, has attracted nearly $400 million in total funding. The company counts Google Ventures and Bill Gates among its investors. The profitability of taking what should only be considered livestock feedstuffs and processing this into human-consumable products, is an extremely lucrative business. A 4-4 ounce pack of Impossible Burger patties retails for around $10.
A barrier to preventing alternative protein products from entering the mainstream food supply is consumer preference. Most consumers will only buy imitation products if they can be made cheaper and more appealing than the “Real Deal”.
Based on the dismal results of 2 years of sales data from Australia, a globally recognized test market, McDonald discontinued its veggie McPlant Burger before spending time and money on this product that was not likely to succeed in the US. Burger King’s Impossible Whopper has been in US franchises since 2016. It is both vegetarian and vegan-friendly, two audiences that McDonalds is choosing to avert. Well established and highly competitive fast food chains must carefully balance customer appeasement and consistent economic growth. With the sales of plant-based meats at less than 3% of the packaged meat sales in the US, these products have a long way to go in replacing conventional meat.
Josh Tetrick, founder and CEO of JUST, Inc., an alternate protein company, has said, “If you can figure out how to get the cost down and the quality better, it doesn’t matter if they (consumers) care about animal welfare, if they understand anything about the GFSI (Global Food Safety Initiative), or if they believe in the science of climate change, or if they are a Trump voter….that’s when the switch (from conventionally produced meat to cell-based/lab-grown meat) will occur.”
Patrick Brown, the CEO of Impossible Foods said that, “The whole mission of the company is to completely replace the use of animals as a food technology globally by 2035. And it is unequivocally the most important mission in the world, full stop.” He also said, “I want to LITERALLY overthrow the scientific publishing establishment….that is what I want to do. The idea is to completely change the way the whole system works for scientific communication.” Brown only wants studies published that are conducive to his commercial interests. And as the co-founder of the journal, Public Library of Science, as well as teaming up with Dr. Marco Springmann, a vegan activist, he is well on his way.
A meat tax has not yet found much favor with politicians who understand that pushing up food prices in a sure way of instigating our own Arab Spring. However, plant-based protein companies are likely to lobby for a meat tax and by colluding with biased academic researchers, they will strive to compile a body of “evidence”.
Understanding who is promoting this movement, who is profiting from the attempt to shift dietary patterns, and why this disturbing agenda is being pursued ought to be the livestock industry’s primary focus but unfortunately they have been slow to dissect the anti-animal agriculture narrative and formulate a solid rebuttal.
The consumption of nutrient dense animal source foods–a fundamental pillar of a thriving society–is being dangerously threatened. It makes no sense to remove real nutrition from our nation’s food supply.