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The American Farm Bureau is afraid of interns

The quality of a lobby's argument is generally inversely proportional to their touchiness to debate. Lobbies that feel like they're on solid ground don't tend to freak out when, say, an intern somewhere writes a blog post that's skeptical of their industry. Lobbies that know they're on the wrong side of the argument but are hoping that money and intimidation can keep them afloat react with overwhelming force to even the mildest provocation -- say, an intern somewhere writing a blog post.

The American Farm Bureau is the latter type of lobby. Since it's impossible to argue that meat production isn't a major contributor to global warming, it has settled for attacking interns who dare voice this reality. Classy. And for more on meat and climate, see this article.

By Ezra Klein  |  April 22, 2010; 11:16 AM ET
 
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Comments

it isn't meat production that threatens our survival on this planet as its environment is degraded in ways we aren't even aware of every minute of every day.

as was the main point of the first Earth Day forty years ago it is the simple fact that our planet's carrying capacity for human beings has been exceeded.

the ideologies of political correctness and identity politics have made population a "no-go" region of the debate but Garrett Hardin had it right in 1968 when "Tragedy of the Commons" was first published.

excuse me I've got to go fire up the grill, I've got a porterhouse to sizzle...

Posted by: teoc2 | April 22, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Thanks a lot. Now I've got to go buy a hamburger. And some steak. Or maybe I want a turkey burger.

You know what they say. Meat is murder. Tasty, tasty murder.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | April 22, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

The EPA intern might face some legal woes for using official agency resources -- taxpayer-funded -- to advance a personal position: it's an example of one of the significant problems in the Obama Administration. As far as meat being the end of the world, it is equivalent to the fact that spitting in the ocean causes the ocean to rise.

Posted by: rmgregory | April 22, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse

rmgregory, I'm pretty sure the intern isn't going to face any legal action. It seems within her responsibilities to post on the blog and the blog contains a disclaimer that posts do not reflect official agency positions. And then there's that nothing she said, as far as I'm aware, is incorrect. I love meat, and I wish she were wrong, but she's not.

Posted by: MosBen | April 22, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

The problem is not meat production, but rather factory farming. Raise grassfed and pastured animals responsibly and we could actually sequester as much CO2 as we spew into the atmosphere annually. So, Ezra, do as I do, and buy grass fed beef and lamb and enjoy a healthier and tastier meal, support local farmers and the rural economy and make a contribution to a better environment. Joel Salatin has proved the point, read about it here: http://www.acresusa.com/toolbox/reprints/May08_Salatin.pdf or here: http://www.westonaprice.org/An-Inconvenient-Cow.html

Posted by: johnsonr1 | April 22, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

There's no doubt that cattle are hard on the environment in various ways...however one must also balance out the equation by remembering that before cattle there were millions upon millions of buffalo and other herbivores stampeding the prairies, even into the Central Valley of California....

Posted by: Texican1 | April 22, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Apropos of nothing: I watched Food, Inc. on PBS lastnight, and sort of never want to eat again. Boo.

Luckily, a featured farmer is local and I do plan to give him my money. Hooray!

Posted by: ajw_93 | April 22, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

As much as we all love meat, the world is way better off if we don't contribute to the vast suffering of modern agribusiness. Chickens have it way worse than cattle, btw.

Posted by: AZProgressive | April 22, 2010 5:16 PM | Report abuse

Ezra, the article you refered to is based on a study which has been proven to be full of errors.

See a more recent and valid study here: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B7CSX-4X4G6CP-6&_user=10&_coverDate=12%2F31%2F2009&_alid=1286234618&_rdoc=1&_fmt=high&_orig=search&_cdi=18034&_sort=r&_docanchor=&view=c&_ct=1&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=6779f3d1392785ab8b25888bc9dc837d

Posted by: thtts | April 23, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

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