Wed, Nov-18-20, 07:11
Concerted corporate push to stop us eating meat should worry us all
Concerted corporate push to stop us eating meat should worry us all – Opinion: Joanna Blythman
MIGHT a meat tax be headed our way? The latest move in that direction comes in a flimsy policy paper from the UK Health Alliance on Climate Change, to which several bodies representing health professionals are signed up.
This paper rehashes policy ideas that have been floated over the last couple of years by a like-minded group of non-governmental organisations, and certain influential academics.
It draws heavily on the controversial 2019 EAT-Lancet report, which was launched to a barrage of criticism from farmers, food producers, and a range of independent academics and nutritional experts.
Amongst other things, it argued that global red meat consumption needs to be cut by half. It drew no distinction between meat that is factory farmed and meat that is produced in an extensive, regenerative manner.
Now this Health Alliance wants farmers to pay a food carbon tax, based on some highly debatable statistical calculation of their supposed carbon footprint. Meat, once again, is in the crosshairs.
It’s hard to give credence to this Health Alliance on Climate Change when it believes that the carb-rich, ultra-processed food-friendly Public Health England Eatwell Guide “is a good starting point for illustrating what a healthy, climate-friendly diet looks like”.
This diet drives obesity and ill-health.
It’s tempting to ignore this latest anti-meat push from the usual suspects and remain complacent. After all, more than 90% of the population eats meat. It’s hard to imagine either the UK or Scottish parliaments enacting a meat tax.
But bad ideas are like rot. They lurk, largely unnoticed in dark areas. By the time we notice them, they’ve become well established and problematical.
What’s more, anyone who eats the traditional omnivore diet needs to know that a meat tax is only part of the massive anti-animal foods campaign that is currently underway.
Watch out for increasingly ubiquitous phrases popping up in the public realm of food – "The Great Food Transformation”, "Food Systems Shift”, “The Planetary Health Diet”– and recognise them for what they are, a well resourced, co-ordinated, top-down attempt to reshape what we eat.
Unchallenged, such ideas would largely remove food production from the natural sphere and fill our plates with ultra-processed, multi-component foods that could generate massive profits for their makers.
Let me sketch briefly the lineage of this idea.
Taking advantage of Covid anxiety and the very legitimate concern over the climate crisis, the World Economic Forum, the Davos-based set of uber-wealthy individuals and corporates, is currently pushing “The Great Reset”, an extreme form of globalisation, a fourth industrial revolution, if you like, that would centralise control of society in a few hands.
In the food department, WEF collaborates with other influential, yet unaccountable bodies, such as the World Resources Institute, The World Business Council for Sustainable Development, and EAT, a body that represents big food industry, chemical and biotech corporations, such as Pepsico, Nestlé, Bayer, and Syngenta.
EAT describes itself as a 'Davos for food’. A“plant-based” diet, based on profitable crop commodities – highly processed forms of corn, wheat, and legumes – is what it has cooked up for us. The philosophical approach behind it is “trans-humanism”, the notion that you can transform and enhance the human condition by developing sophisticated technologies.
This thinking is already shaping our foodscape. In 2018, two of the most ultra-processed, synthetic products currently imaginable – lookalike meat “burgers’, made by Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods – won the 2018 Champions of the Earth award, the UN’s highest accolade for the environment.
Fake food, suitably green-washed, has friends in high places.
If it hasn’t already, this “we’ll tell you what to eat” technocratic push will soon impinge on all our lives.
Your child’s school will be told to run meat-free days.
The hospital will drop beef for vegan “sausages”. Public health messaging, seeping into school education, will seek to persuade you and your children that all meat, even the grass-fed, outdoor reared meat that the UK is so good at producing, is to be shunned.
First we will be “nudged” to abandon food habits that have sustained omnivore populations around the globe for millennia, next we will be forced through fiscal measures.
Be aware of this orchestrated agenda. Its foot soldiers are already out and about.