Silicon Valley is pouring venture capital into startups that use cultured animal cells to grow meat. The hope (now backed with hundreds of millions of dollars) is that they’ll someday replace corn fields, feedlots and slaughterhouses with football-field sized vats from which an entire city’s hamburgers and chicken nuggets emerge sans animal suffering or land degradation.
Most people would probably say that as long as the taste, nutrition and price are comparable to traditional meat, the more the merrier. Let the competition begin.
But not Big Meat. Like most entrenched Establishments, the various factory farming organizations and state farm bureaus have no intention of becoming the next coal industry, virtually wiped off the map by new and better technologies. So they’re trying to head this stampede off at the pass by, among other things, laying claim to the word “meat”:
LINCOLN — Nebraska Farm Bureau is urging the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to not use the term “meat” when referring to all lab-grown and plant-based meat alternatives.
The request to limit the definition of “beef” and “meat” to only products from live animals born, raised and harvested in the traditional manner comes from a strong movement to develop and commercialize alternative protein products, particularly “clean meat,” also called lab-grown or cultured meat, as well as plant-based proteins.
“The production and processing of livestock is of vital importance to our members and our state’s economy,” Steve Nelson, Nebraska Farm Bureau president, said in a letter to the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). “This translates into tens of billions of dollars of economic activity as well as thousands of jobs.”
Nelson said consumers depend upon the USDA FSIS to ensure that the products they purchase at the grocery store match their label descriptions. In the letter, he specifically requested FSIS to:
– Prohibit products derived from alternative sources — e.g., synthetic products from plants, insects, non-animal components and lab-grown animal cells — from being labeled as “beef” or “meat.”
– Limit the definition of “meat” to the tissue or flesh of animals that have been harvested in the traditional manner.
– Limit the definition of “beef” to products from cattle born, raised and harvested in the traditional manner.
– Add the definitions above to FSIS’s Food Standards and Labeling Policy Book.
This is of course way off the “global financial crisis” beat, but it does illustrate a point that will become important as things spin out of control: Common-sense solutions to the implosion of the world’s fiat currencies/fractional-reserve banks/military empires, including big cuts in pensions and entitlements, the end of overseas military commitments, and the immediate adoption of sound (ideally gold-backed) money – will be met by entrenched interests standing in the way, demanding the equivalent of Big Beef’s silly definitional protection.
Hardly anyone gives up power voluntarily, and today’s system has handed immense amounts of power to a small group of bankers, central bankers, politicians and bureaucrats who can now create money out of thin air and use it to enrich themselves and their friends. They love being part of an aristocracy and sincerely believe that, to quote Goldman Sachs’ CEO, they’re “doing God’s work.”
This explains the willingness to pervert formerly free markets by depressing interest rates and gold while elevating stock prices beyond levels that investors would normally accept. So expect more market manipulation, increasing regulation of cryptocurrencies, and never-ending war to prop up the petrodollar, all in the name of preserving a status quo that – based on the amount of debt necessary to sustain it – can’t last much longer.
The coming decade will be defined in part by how tenaciously these guys hold onto their losing hands when they should be folding.