For almost as long as they’ve been in use, factory farms have been synonymous with three kinds of problems: environmental, nutritional, and ethical. But today, new data compels us to consider an overlooked fourth category: economic. Scheduled for release in September 2013, the book Meatonomics looks at the strange economic forces behind meat and dairy production – and how those forces affect consumers and taxpayers. It’s a new look at a bizarre, upside-down industry, and its revelations are shocking.
One curious fact to emerge from the book is that animal food producers impose almost $2 in hidden costs on Americans for every $1 of product they sell at retail (for details, see the pie chart below). Another is that by “externalizing” most of their costs in this fashion and taking other steps to keep prices artificially low and manipulate buying behavior, these producers deprive consumers of the ability to make informed, independent decisions about how much meat and dairy to eat. That’s the main reason Americans consume more meat per person than anyone else on the planet.
Here’s a sneak preview from the book: the never-before-calculated external costs that animal food producers impose on American consumers and taxpayers:
This is the first in a regular series of provocative posts on the forces of meatonomics and how those forces affect our individual health, the environment, how we treat animals, and ultimately, our national prosperity. I hope you’ll subscribe to the blog so you can receive regular updates. Also, please feel free to peruse the site for upcoming events, reviews of the book, sample chapters, pre-ordering information, and more.