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"Meathooked: The History and Science of Our 2.5-Million-Year Obsession with Meat"

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Lobbyists, contributions, subsidies, PR, advertising: Beef is what's for dinner because we're well-conditioned

Excerpted from "Meathooked: The History and Science of Our 2.5-Million-Year Obsession with Meat"
Sleek seems like a good word to describe the offices of the National Chicken Council (NCC) in Washington, D.C. The sleekness begins on the street. The building at 1152 Fifteenth Street, which houses the NCC, is ultramodern, enclosed in glass, with a lavish lobby that echoes my footsteps as I walk in. Up on the fourth floor, I’m greeted by NCC’s senior vice president Bill Roenigk—a jovial man who looks exactly like a “Bill.” Roenigk leads me into a conference room where we sit at a large, oval table.

The NCC, just like its beef and pork equivalents (the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the National Pork Board), is a trade association of meat producers. These organizations protect the interests of the industry, deal with PR crises, lobby the government, and arrange marketing campaigns. But at its core, their goal is rather simple: make sure Americans buy as much chicken, beef, and pork as possible. In other countries, similar organizations exist: the British Meat Processors Association, the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, and so on. Such organizations, together with powerful meat companies such as Tyson Foods or JBS, spend billions of dollars a year on lobbying and promotion so that we don’t lose our appetites for animal protein. Some researchers argue that increasing meat consumption around the globe, the U.S. included, is not demand driven but supply driven:



Other companies besides those that raise, slaughter, and sell meat benefit from consumers’ carnivorous appetites: the fertilizer and pesticide producers, farm equipment manufacturers, seed growers (including Monsanto), soy and corn farmers, and pharmaceutical corporations, which sell antibiotics, beta-adrenergic agonists, and other drugs to the meat companies. In a way, they are all part of the meat business too. According to the American Meat Institute, the industry’s primary trade organization: “Meat and poultry industry impacts firms in all 509 sectors of the U.S. economy. . . . The meat and poultry industry’s economic ripple effect generates $864.2 billion annually to the U.S. economy, or roughly 6 percent of the entire GDP.”

Compared to the meat industry, the vegetable and fruit industry has little clout. For one thing, if the name “vegetable and fruit industry” sounds odd, that’s because such an expression is almost never used. The vegetable and fruit industry hardly exists as a united entity. In North America or the UK, only about five different types of meat really count in terms of sales: beef (including veal), pork, chicken, turkey, and lamb or mutton. Now think of all the different kinds of veggies, fruits, beans, and lentils out there. Or just consider the varieties of beans grown and sold in the U.S.: pinto, navy, black, great northern, garbanzo, red kidney, lima, yellow eye, fava, mung, adzuki, marrow, appaloosa, anasazi.


The list goes on. Do lima bean producers want you to eat more lima beans? Of course they do. But they not only have to compete with garbanzo bean producers but also with other bean, pea, lentil, and vegetable growers. In a similar fashion, apples go up against peaches, blueberries against cherries. Even if the fruit and vegetable producers did unite, their sales would still be much smaller than those of the meat industry: in 2011, for example, all vegetables, fruits, and nuts combined made just over $45 billion in farm cash receipts. That’s almost four times less than the livestock products earned. Beans, peas, and lentils—which are considered proper meat substitutes—fare even worse. In 2011 they made a staggering 140 times less than livestock products. Who has the power to convince you to love their foods and to eat more and more of them? Not the chickpea industry, that’s for sure.

To make certain you keep eating meat, the industry levies almost a tax on products sold, known as beef and pork checkoffs. In the U.S. each beef producer pays $1 per bovine head at the time the animal is sold, and each pork producer foots $0.40 per $100 of value. In Canada, the levy is $1 per animal head, and in Australia, it’s $5 a head. Between 1987 and 2013, the U.S. beef checkoff collected $1.2 billion, an impressive pile of money that is used “to increase domestic and/or international demand for beef ”—in the words of the industry itself. To give you some perspective: one of the very few campaigns drafted to promote eating veggies, 5 A Day for Better Health, developed by the National Cancer Institute and the Produce for Better Health Foundation, had in 1999 a public communications budget of less than $3 million..”


This is why you crave beef: Inside secrets of Big Meat?s billion-dollar ad and lobbying campaigns - Salon.com
 

Captain Adverse

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Dude, give it a rest.

Our however many millions of years of love of meat don't come from the propaganda of any meat industry which has only been around for a second of that time frame.

It comes because meat is AWESOME! Packed full of goodies and tastes good too. Moreover, you feel full when you eat it.

Vegetables? They're okay but they taste like a mouthful of almost nothing, you have to eat more to make yourself feel full, and they give you gas. Just look at all the methane produced by cows. ;)

If you want to eat a meat-free diet...more power to you. Telling us we've been duped all-along by the meat industry? That's a stretch. :coffeepap:
 
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you are ignorant of the power of big ag. that's OK, lot of people are.
 

KevinKohler

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You're convoluted. We don't call it "fruit and veggie" industry, we call it "produce". In the industry, that's what plants that we eat are referred to as. The fact that this simple thing was not mentioned in the above article calls into question, IMO, the actual knowledge of the industry of the writer.

In meat, the three primary sale items are beef, pork, and chicken. Lamb, veal, etc, are NOT classified in the beef category, but actually under pork. That's strike 2 in my book.

Your primary complaint seems to be that there are more varieties of produce than of meat.

So....what is it that ou want? Less variet of produce, or more of meat?
 

Thrilla

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throughout the entire history of man, we have eaten meat... and,well, everything else.

for as long as humans are in existence, we will eat meat... .and, well, everything else.


the end.
 

Bootlace

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I just downed almost a half rack of smoked spareribs, some blackeyed peas cooked with the Easter ham bone and some bacon thrown in, red taters baked with olive oil and Rosemary, and cornbread with honey butter. The only problem I will have from all that will be staying awake at bible study tonight.
 

SocialD

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lol that salon article inside the secrets of Big Meat lol that sounds like some of that junk mail trying to sell you enlargement pills hehe
 

SocialD

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Dude, give it a rest.

Our however many millions of years of love of meat don't come from the propaganda of any meat industry which has only been around for a second of that time frame.

It comes because meat is AWESOME! Packed full of goodies and tastes good too. Moreover, you feel full when you eat it.

Vegetables? They're okay but they taste like a mouthful of almost nothing, you have to eat more to make yourself feel full, and they give you gas. Just look at all the methane produced by cows. ;)

If you want to eat a meat-free diet...more power to you. Telling us we've been duped all-along by the meat industry? That's a stretch. :coffeepap:

You do have to consider his handle is Militant Vegan, that's his thing. No reason to get upset by it. I'm a meat eater too. but hey we can like veggies as well.
 
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You do have to consider his handle is Militant Vegan, that's his thing. No reason to get upset by it. I'm a meat eater too. but hey we can like veggies as well.

hey, thanks SocialD
 

Citizen.Seven

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throughout the entire history of man, we have eaten meat... and,well, everything else.

for as long as humans are in existence, we will eat meat... .and, well, everything else.


the end.
There's a distinct advantage to being omnivores. Of course, meat is preferable, giving high protein per unit mass, but it's much more difficult to acquire whereas produce just grows in the dirt and doesn't actively resist consumption
 

zyzygy

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Odd that people have had an obsession about staying alive for 2.5 million years.
 
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There's a distinct advantage to being omnivores. Of course, meat is preferable, giving high protein per unit mass, but it's much more difficult to acquire whereas produce just grows in the dirt and doesn't actively resist consumption

these days we don't have to settle on living to 40 and getting diseases, we can eat less or no meat and live much longer and healthier

your choice
 

SocialD

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hey, thanks SocialD

Your welcome. You are persistent about it.. lowering or stopping eating meat. but your not an ass about it. Some of the others haven't been as kind back.
I personally think its very difficult to be purely vegan or even vegetarian and be healthy.. not impossible but very difficult.
But I also know most of us could benefit from eating more veggies. this country has too many fat asses and I have to admit I don't recall every meeting a fat vegetarian.
 

zyzygy

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Your welcome. You are persistent about it.. lowering or stopping eating meat. but your not an ass about it. Some of the others haven't been as kind back.
I personally think its very difficult to be purely vegan or even vegetarian and be healthy.. not impossible but very difficult.
But I also know most of us could benefit from eating more veggies. this country has too many fat asses and I have to admit I don't recall every meeting a fat vegetarian.

He has been an ass about it. When he joined he was rude and wished death on others. His recent suspension appears to have taught him a lesson. Most of us? How do you know so much about the eating habits of everybody?
 

SocialD

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He has been an ass about it. When he joined he was rude and wished death on others. His recent suspension appears to have taught him a lesson. Most of us? How do you know so much about the eating habits of everybody?

Oh come now you know very well 'most of us' certainly applies. it isn't hard to find data on what the average person eats.. it isn't hard to see it for yourself every day at work , or how many people are lined up at the burger drive throughs etc...
im sometimes one of them.
 

zyzygy

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Oh come now you know very well 'most of us' certainly applies. it isn't hard to find data on what the average person eats.. it isn't hard to see it for yourself every day at work , or how many people are lined up at the burger drive throughs etc...
im sometimes one of them.

I see. You meant most of us in the USA. I live in Belgium. No burger drive throughs here. Most people of my acquaintance eat a healthy and well balanced diet. I cannot comment on the States because I have never been there but an American friend who visits regularly has commented on how small the portions are in restaurants and snack bars compared to the USA.
 

Citizen.Seven

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these days we don't have to settle on living to 40 and getting diseases, we can eat less or no meat and live much longer and healthier

your choice
As someone disease-free, over 40, and a meat-eater, your characterization is laughable. Contrarily, we can go veggie, lose hair and suffer diminished mental capacity due to lack of protein while living in a foppish "demolition man" type dysyopia. Your choice.
 

zyzygy

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As someone disease-free, over 40, and a meat-eater, your characterization is laughable. Contrarily, we can go veggie, lose hair and suffer diminished mental capacity due to lack of protein while living in a foppish "demolition man" type dysyopia. Your choice.

Laughable indeed. All meat eaters die when they get to the age of forty.:lamo
 

jimbo

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these days we don't have to settle on living to 40 and getting diseases, we can eat less or no meat and live much longer and healthier

your choice

Do you have any data backing those claims? I'm not aware of any evidence that omnivores get more diseases, or live shorter or less healthier lives.

Your article seems like it is attempting to prove a point that's not there. First, most people who study these things put the first human around 400,000 years, not 2.5 million. But assuming your figure to be correct, we must be doing something right or we would have phased out long ago. Then there is the matter of placing the blame on big ag, lobbyists, etc. Really? None of those have been around a hundred years, let alone 2.5 million.

Then you claim that big ag places an almost tax. What is that? But if that is so, why do the garbanzo people compete with the black eyed pea people rather than focusing their effort on the fruit and vegetable industry? Does eating meat make you smarter? Why don't the groups get together and combine their efforts with an almost tax on each green pepper or apple?
 

Ntharotep

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• Humans are omnivores. Our meat addiction is due to being omnivores and wanting a variety of foods including plant and animal product.
• Our ancestors killed animals, ate them, and decided they tasted very good. They didn't say "I can make a mint off of animals!"
• Watch the movie King Corn some time for a real conspiracy.

Since you neglected to cite your research for living longer on a vegetarian diet, here is an interesting piece:
Life Extension News: Do Vegetarians Live Longer than Meat Eaters?
 

PoS

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• Humans are omnivores. Our meat addiction is due to being omnivores and wanting a variety of foods including plant and animal product.
• Our ancestors killed animals, ate them, and decided they tasted very good. They didn't say "I can make a mint off of animals!"
• Watch the movie King Corn some time for a real conspiracy.

Since you neglected to cite your research for living longer on a vegetarian diet, here is an interesting piece:
Life Extension News: Do Vegetarians Live Longer than Meat Eaters?

Uh oh, now youve done it, youve introduced facts to this thread!
 

Ikari

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Lobbyists, contributions, subsidies, PR, advertising: Beef is what's for dinner because we're well-conditioned

Excerpted from "Meathooked: The History and Science of Our 2.5-Million-Year Obsession with Meat"
Sleek seems like a good word to describe the offices of the National Chicken Council (NCC) in Washington, D.C. The sleekness begins on the street. The building at 1152 Fifteenth Street, which houses the NCC, is ultramodern, enclosed in glass, with a lavish lobby that echoes my footsteps as I walk in. Up on the fourth floor, I’m greeted by NCC’s senior vice president Bill Roenigk—a jovial man who looks exactly like a “Bill.” Roenigk leads me into a conference room where we sit at a large, oval table.

The NCC, just like its beef and pork equivalents (the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the National Pork Board), is a trade association of meat producers. These organizations protect the interests of the industry, deal with PR crises, lobby the government, and arrange marketing campaigns. But at its core, their goal is rather simple: make sure Americans buy as much chicken, beef, and pork as possible. In other countries, similar organizations exist: the British Meat Processors Association, the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, and so on. Such organizations, together with powerful meat companies such as Tyson Foods or JBS, spend billions of dollars a year on lobbying and promotion so that we don’t lose our appetites for animal protein. Some researchers argue that increasing meat consumption around the globe, the U.S. included, is not demand driven but supply driven:

There's a lot of monkey business going on with the subsidies to big farming. Corn is subsidized through the butthole, which perpetuates a lot of the problems with the mega farms and their livestock. The big poultry manufacturers are subsidized and the contract out their work, essentially creating indentured servants of small farmers, forced into maintain their practices which are pretty god awful. But now there are laws that prevent the filming and reporting of conditions in the mega corp farms. Ever see Food Inc? It's pretty crazy. Ever see Food Inc.? It's a documentary on Netflix about Big Farm and its practices.

I think it's difficult to get away from Big Farm products when the government gives them so many advantages and handouts (this is the face of corporate capitalism), but it's not impossible. I try my best to buy just from small local farms, participate in farm shares, etc. It's not easy and it's not always cheap. Free range, grain fed chickens are expensive it turns out. One of the reasons my family does at least 2 meals a week without meat is to try to cut back on buying the mega farm products and keep to the smaller, local farms we like. The place I like to go to even has raw milk, which is again pretty expensive, but that I get from time to time.

But I still do eat meat, the family still does eat meat. We try to be conscious about where the meat is coming from, but it is still a part of the diet and will remain that way until the day when pork isn't the most delicious thing on the planet. Which I doubt will ever happen.
 

faithful_servant

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Spent about an hour last night slicing, vacuum-sealing and freezing my homemade bacon. There's one large piece that had the grain of the meat running the wrong direction and was getting to be a real pain to slice (even with my meat slicer). So I simply broke it down into manageable size pieces and plan on grinding them into my next batch of hamburger for what should be an awesome meatloaf. Then I ran across my next-door neighbor when I was rolling out the garbage cans and we started talking and ended up swapping some of my smoked pepper-jack cheese for some maple bacon he had made. Tonight, we have our monthly potluck at our home group and I'm going to make macaroni with smoked cheese and diced ham, since I have almost a full ham in the fridge that needs to be eaten.
 
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