Wednesday, May 17


You know the cows I mean - the ones constantly in the process of painting new billboards pushing people to eat chicken, in that zero-sum fantasy of slaughter-food marketers that if people don't eat one, they'll have to eat the other. Well it turns out that a little-reported fact is that both beef and chicken consumption are down significantly, to the point that thousands of animals are now being killed not for food, but simply to prop up the pretense of a viable industry.

"Fears about avian flu have dramatically cut chicken exports, creating bonanza for the food depositories that serve the nation's poor and hungry," reports the Chicago Tribune. "The nation's chicken and meat processors are dealing with a glut caused by the fears about avian flu and, to a lesser extent, mad cow disease. Rather than dumping the chicken and meat onto the market and further sinking retail prices, the food companies are donating the products to the food depositories and taking a tax write-off on the charitable contribution."

The article reports that "prices and sales started plunging last August when avian flu concerns began spreading rapidly through Asia, which imports more than 50 percent of the 7.2 billion in chicken the U.S. exports. Prospects dimmed further two weeks ago when Russia unexpectedly closed its borders to U.S. poultry."

So to recap: As the proverbial chickens come home to roost on our intensive animal agriculture and consumers start noticing, demand is plummeting. But rather than respond to that by decreasing the actual supply (i.e. not killing so many chickens and cows) the slaughter-food industry keeps the kill-line moving apace, dumps the dead animals at food depositories and rips off the American taxpayer, who sees a shortfall in revenue due to the tax write-off these companies get for their "largesse." That's the system, folks, and you're welcome to it.

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