Why It’s Better if We Can’t Afford Meat


Beef ranchers are complaining that the domestic market is “withering,” and therefore the quality of meat will decline.

This, of course, assumes that we’re not smart enough to buy better beef. From many perspectives – that of the person who wants only organic beef; that of one who wants only local beef; that of one who wants grass-fed beef, or “natural” beef, or humanely raised beef, or all of the above – the price of “normal” (that is, industrially-raised) beef is already too low. Suppose one wanted higher quality beef, and were willing to pay for it? Suppose one were willing to eat less beef in order to keep one’s food budget more-or-less stable? Wouldn’t a decline in industrially raised beef be OK? And who cares if it becomes even “worse?” It’s already produced with almost no concern for quality.

I suggest that these ranchers who are losing “the motivation to raise high-quality meat” start raising truly high-quality meat: grass-fed, free-range, and drug-free – and charge higher prices for it. There is plenty of evidence that the market is there, even for supermarket customers. If Americans can only afford meat if they eat less of it, there’s nothing wrong with that at all. Because less meat of better quality is the only way to keep from poisoning the planet and ourselves.

(Photo Credit: _BuBBy_ via Flickr)


Posted in Farming, Food Politics


  1. fvfarm said...

    You said it….thank you for putting it so clearly. If we refuse the chain gang produced meats, seek out our local / quality meat sources, then it will balance out perfectly. we are not supposed to be sitting down to entire slabs of meat every day. My ancestors were poor farmers and laborers, meat was only for Sunday, usually a chicken, stewed so it would go farther, and rice, tomato, beans and okra were the norm, do not forget the grits and cornbread. I am trying to go back to that. we never ate salad except for cukes and tomatoes. It is tragic that we spend so much time with all this and walk into any restaurant and just count the patrons wallowing in oceans of salad…..trying to undo all the harm they have done eating a pasture full of critters!!!

  2. Marji Bitterman said...

    Bittman, you are the best!! Clear, concise, right on. It’s time to stop ignoring the horrific practices of factory farming and industrialized food processing.

  3. vadoug said...

    I for one want delicious, marbled prime beef that’s as tender as deep-fried butter. I don’t care what the steer was fed, how it was raised, or what it was shot up with, so long as the steak is yummy. If the greenies all want to boycott fine corn-fed feedlot beef in favor of whatever it is they like best this week, so much the better, as such boycotts make the good stuff cheaper for me and mine.Enjoy your weekend – we’ll be grilling outdoors over real charcoal.

  4. Alex M. Pruteanu said...

    Vadoug, the "greenies" aren’t boycotting meat…they’re boycotting the hormones and all the other shite in their meat. Well, at least that’s what THIS "greenie" is fighting for. I love me a good steak like any other carnivore, I just don’t want it full of crap.

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