A journalist has said what many of us have long feared: that government will have to start forcing people to eat less red meat. All the signs suggest that he’s right.
Forced to Eat Less Red Meat
A journalist has said what many of us have been suspecting for some time now: that governments – in this case the British government specifically – will have to start forcing people to eat less red meat if it is to meet its ambitious climate change targets.
Christopher Snowdon, who heads the Lifestyle Economics unit at London’s Institute of Economic Affairs, was appearing on the newly launched GB News network when he uttered the words many of us have been waiting to hear spoken openly.
‘The political reality is that Boris Johnson is going to have to stop advising people to fly less and eat less red meat and find ways of forcing people,’ Snowdon said.
Unspecified ‘draconian actions’ and ‘meat taxes’ were mentioned.
Snowdon did, at least, note that forcing people not to eat red meat would prove hard ‘in a democracy’, and drew attention to the Gilets Jaunes protests in France, which began over the rising cost of fuel and lasted for a year, before the Coronavirus pandemic brought them to an end – some might say rather conveniently for the beleaguered Macron government.
‘I think the government is gonna really struggle to get the public onside when they see what’s required to meet these targets.’
We’re inclined to agree with Snowdon that such measures are likely to prove unpopular. Recently, for instance, we reported that among Australian men surveyed, a massive 73% suggested that they would rather lose ten years of life than give up meat. But what chance will people
The interview comes against the backdrop of the UK Government’s National Food Strategy, a major public inquiry into the state of British food that was commissioned in the wake of UK’s decision to leave the European Union. The inquiry, headed by ‘entrepreneur’ Henry Dimbleby, has a particular focus on food security, which includes the ‘climate impacts of current means of food production.’
In a press release to mark the launch of the initiative, Dimbleby said:
‘We’re launching the call for evidence today to gather insights and inspiration to help transform our food system.
These could be policies or ideas that make it easier for us to make more informed decisions about the food we eat; that make food production more environmentally sustainable; that help food businesses and communities to thrive; or that could put our country at the forefront of innovation in the coming years.
Whether you are someone who works in a food business, a farmer, a food processor, an interested citizen – whoever you are – we want to hear from you. We can’t wait to read your submissions and hear about your ideas.’
The future of farming?
Many suspect, with some good reason, that the wooly bureaucrat-ese of such statements disguises the intentions of a government that has already made up its mind about what we should and shouldn’t be eating.
The conclusions of the inquiry are likely to be that people should give up meat and meat-based products for a largely or even entirely plant-based diet, which will include a ‘healthy’ serving of ersatz meats and protein derived from novel sources such as algae.
It has already been reported, in the London Times no less, that the National Food Strategy will conclude that consumption of algae instead of red meat will be one way to ensure ‘food security’ for the UK.
Whether the government accepts the Strategy’s recommendations, and how it chooses to encourage or even enforce them if necessary, remains to be seen. The phrase ‘beef tax’ has already been used in the context of a suggestion by Minister Michael Gove that there needs to be ‘an end to affordable food’.
While taxes or price increases on meat products seem a likely first step towards compelling a reduction in consumption, other more outlandish suggestions are also being made. A bioethicist at NYU, S. Matthew Liao, has suggested that humans could be made to undergo gene therapy to make them allergic to red meat, in the same manner as some people become allergic to red meat when they’re bitten by the lone-star tick.
Liao has repeated this bizarre statement a number of times, including at public events and in an interview with the Atlantic, in which he also suggested giving humans cat’s eyes to reduce the need for lighting. He has also suggested shrinking humans by up to 15% to reduce their carbon footprint.
At a 2016 panel event at the World Science Festival, Liao made the following bizarre statement.
‘It turns out the larger you are – think of the lifetime… energy that’s required for larger people rather than smaller people – but if you were smaller, just by 15 centimetres… I did the math, it’s a mass reduction of 25%, which is huge. And a hundred years ago we were all much shorter, about 15 centimetres smaller. So think of the lifetime greenhouse gas emissions if we all had smaller children. And that’s something we could do…’
The bioethicist’s statement soon descended into uneasy laughter, as the other panels expressed their incredulity, with one asking ‘How small should we make them?’ ‘We should all be small enough to be eaten by cats’, Liao replies.
Whether it actually comes down to genetically engineering humans to solve the ‘climate crisis’ remains to be seen, but events of the fifteen months should have alerted all of us to the potential for scientific interventions not of our making or choice to dictate almost every aspect of our lives, even down to whether we can go out and who we have sex with.
This man wants to shrink your children and make them allergic to meat, all in the name of ‘saving the planet’
It’s undeniable, at least, that the debate about reducing meat consumption and switching to plant-based alternatives has taken a much less consensual turn recently. Look at Oatly’s ‘Help Dad’ campaign, for instance, in which ‘enlightened’ teenagers berate their tragically ‘unenlightened’ fathers for choosing to drink real cow’s milk instead of a slurry of oats, sugar and vegetable oil. For shame!
There can be no doubt that this is a deliberate strategy. In large part, it’s the result of a growing recognition that taste and health appeals are radically insufficient to get people to make the switch from meat to plant-based alternatives.
Click here to read the latest admission by scientists that plant-based meat alternatives are no better than other forms of processed food.
A recent study confirmed that social pressure was far more effective than taste or health appeals in getting people to choose plant-based burger options, and the authors of the study concluded that brands would have to change their marketing strategies in light of these findings.
Don’t be surprised if governments take notice now and do the same. The age of dietary choice may very swiftly be coming to an end.