Put simply, despite the fact that people are eating significantly less chicken, the U.S.’s chicken inventory is up more than 13 percent since last year. Any other business that ignored consumers’ desires would be forced to suffer the consequences of their negligence, but not chicken growers. The USDA, which already buys millions of dollars of meat per year for the school-lunch program, has agreed to purchase the extra $40 million worth of chicken in order to “provide support to the broiler industry,” according to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. In 2009, the government bought $60 million in surplus turkey.
Most vegans discover the horrors of factory farming, or have some philosophical epiphany about the suffering of non-human animals, and give up meat and other animal products. By eschewing meat, we reduce the demand for it, thereby putting economic pressure on farmers to raise fewer and fewer animals. Sure, there are plenty of other reasons to not eat it, but vegans typically don’t want their money going to support a cruel and exploitative industry.
It turns out that the federal government is negating the effect of our meat “boycott” by buying up all the dead chickens and feeding them to school children. And, of course, they are doing it with our money anyway in the form of forcibly collected tax dollars.
I add this latest insult to the pile of federal expenditures that offend my personal values: animal experiments, dairy subsidies, non-defensive wars, etc etc etc. How do you like that big government now?
On occasion, we manage to brow-beat Congress into doing something positive for animals. Since animal advocates are still a small minority, we are more often brow-beaten into sending in our tax dollars to support animal cruelty, such as buying up our “excess” meat and pumping it into schools.
This is a perfect example of why I’m now a small government voter. I’m not going to get a government that’s compassionate toward animals any time soon, but I might have a shot at getting some more people in office who oppose using tax dollars for garbage like this.
On a related note: Ron Paul for President 2012