Two weeks ago I was in Washington, DC, for a series of meetings on Capital Hill. I, along with two Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) staff members, joined Paul Marcone (paulmarconellc.com). The reason for the meetings was to encourage Congress to vote against the Farm Bill. The Farm Bill is one that encompasses subsidies for the meat and dairy industry. It also subsidies some corn and grain production for the purpose of feeding livestock that will ultimately be eaten or used to produce dairy products. The Farm Bill allows an industry that can’t survive on its own to continue to exist. It provides the crutch that keeps it going. Not a sustainable approach, the Farm Bill is not beneficial long-term since many of these foods are the root cause of mild to major heath problems.
Economically it’s not a good solution either. Bad health equals reliance on the overworked healthcare system, which is of course paid for by taxpayers. While animal-based food may be cheaper now, it will be paid for later in terms of ailing heath and money being pumped into the healthcare system to deal with the increasing demand. Environmentally it’s destructive. With the current price of oil being what it is, and the amount of energy that is required to produce meat, the cost would be exceedingly high if government subsidies didn’t exist. How is it that fast food restaurants can sell a hamburger that took several gallons of oil to produce for a dollar? Yet an organic apple costs more?
By eradicating the Farm Bill and implementing short-term (as they were originally designed to be) subsidies on healthy food options would help school lunch programs make the transition to better food options for students. Most elementary and high school students will take the path of least resistance when it comes to food options. It’s been shown that students who have access to healthier food will choose it if they understand the benefits they will notice. That’s were the education comes in.
The day after lobbying on the Hill was the PCRM (pcrm.org) Art of Compassion Gala. Details to come.