Thursday, December 19, 2019

Politicized veganism

Do we really have to tolerate local, state, national or UN officials telling us what we may eat?

Duggan Flanakin

The average American ate some 220 pounds of red meat and poultry in 2018, according to the US Department of Agriculture, surpassing a record set in 2004.  But some politicians have joined anti-meat and climate change activists in a massive effort to restructure the American diet – and to ensure ... and mandate ... that the rest of the world will be stuck with a mostly plant-based diet.

Last March, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio shocked America’s meat producers by announcing the expansion of “meatless Mondays” to all New York City public schools. The reason?  “To keep our lunch and planet green for generations to come.” So now they claim eating meat also threatens the planet.

Monday Campaigns is a national organization that collaborates with the Center for a Livable Future (CLF) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Its goal is to reduce US meat consumption by 15% “for our personal health and the health of the planet.”

Finnish researchers in 2012 investigated the intended and unintended effects of mandatory “vegetarian days” in Helsinki schools. While the compulsory restrictions “increased healthy and sustainable dietary patterns,” they also resulted in “psychological reactance, hedonic dislike, and noncompliance.” Refuseniks at a Finnish military base leave behind dumpsters of empty pizza boxes on forced-vegan day.

Liberal-progressive local governments are already looking at replicating de Blasio’s bold move. For example, a resolution calling for Meatless Mondays in Hawaii public schools came close to enactment in the Hawaii State Legislature in 2019, and supporters are hopeful it will become law next year. 

One of the world’s leading voices condemning meat consumption is the United Nations. In 2018 it bestowed one of its “Champions of the Earth” awards to Patrick O. Brown of Impossible Foods and Ethan Brown of Beyond Meat. The awards follow and buttress UN Environment Programme claims that “our use of animals as a food-production technology has brought us to the verge of catastrophe.”

Both Browns insist that, because “the destructive impact of animal agriculture on our environment far exceeds that of any other technology on Earth, there is no pathway to achieve the Paris climate objectives without a massive decrease in the scale of animal agriculture.”

The anti-meat campaign has hit other top echelons of the UN. Christiana Figueres, former executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, recently stated her hope that restaurants of the future will “treat carnivores the same way that smokers are treated [today].  If they want to eat meat, they can do it outside the restaurant.” But not the way they’re treating meat at COP-25 in Madrid.

The UN is also touting a “study,” published in the journal Nature, which claims that “huge reductions in meat eating are essential to avoid dangerous climate change.” The authors implore western countries to cut their beef consumption by 90 percent.

Then in almost its next breath, the UN hosts yet another gala affair and lavish meals at 5-star hotels in Bali, Brazil and other lovely locations, attended by countless thousands of activists, bureaucrats, reporters  and politicians. Why should these ruling elites have to worry about “carbon footprints” and rules they promulgate for the rest of us, the world’s unwashed masses, who will comply or face the consequences?

The Economist published results of two other “studies” claiming that going vegan for two-thirds of meals could cut food-related carbon emissions by 60 percent. Total veganism is “the most environmentally friendly,” with “die-hard leaf-eaters claiming to have knocked 85% off their carbon footprint.”

It all follows a familiar, predictable, totalitarian pattern that ought to set off global alarms. Find a target of “eco-progressive” hate. Vilify the target, and demand that it be restricted or eradicated – to prevent yet another civilizational or planetary cataclysm. Redefine science and morality to drive the agenda. Reward and publicize those who support the claims and campaign. Condemn and silence anyone who questions or challenges them. Impose new rules.

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