Tuesday, July 5

Is eating meat right-wing? Another ‘culture war’ coming from the US

Before politicians from half of Spain showed us their breaded steaks on social media, US conservatives were already fighting this so-called “war on meat.” Before Pedro Sánchez felt the need to tell us how he ordered the ribeye, the conservative television network FOX News had already had to apologize for inventing an alleged Biden plan to force Americans to eat only one hamburger a month.

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It is important to take into account our ability to import cultural battles from the United States, lest some Spanish politician end up like Texas Senator Ted Cruz, frying bacon. in the barrel of his rifle to the applause of his fans. And for that you have to understand that it comes from afar: that many years before to Minister Garzón If it occurred to him to repeat that doctors say that you should eat less meat, Michelle Obama was already receiving criticism for such a revolutionary act as planting a garden in the White House garden.

When Trump won the 2016 election, an influential conservative socialist suggested publicly to dismantle the orchard and turn it into a golf hole. Melania Trump did not do such a thing, but her husband took over Michelle Obama’s initiative to demand more nutritious menus with more vegetables in US schools. Perhaps by chance, the measure was announced on the former first lady’s birthday.

It is not at all strange, because Trump has not known a culture war in which he did not want to fight. The imaginary hamburger persecution fits in perfectly with the other grievances that made up the general idea of ​​”making America great again.” An America of quiet minorities and no cholesterol nonsense. As the popular used to say meme: ”THIS IS AMERICA. WE EAT MEAT, DRINK BEER AND SPEAK FUCKING ENGLISH. ” Capital letters are textual as well.

From Garcia Page to Governor Nebraska

Of course, as almost always, in the so-called “war on meat” there are economic and regional interests. The enormous anger of the socialist presidents of Castilla-La Mancha and Extremadura, meat-producing regions, is perfectly recognizable in the reaction of the Republican governor of Nebraska to Biden’s false plan to ban the hamburger: ” a direct attack on our way of lifetime”. He I had already pointed out on the calendar an “official day of meat on the menu”, but after all the fuss he has put all the meat on the grill and has officially declared May as “month of the veal”.

In the USA the lobbies of food are enormously powerful. Pesticide manufacturers officially protested when Michelle Obama decided not to use chemicals in her garden and the potato growers they have defeated attempts to get schools to serve up more vegetable side dishes. The meat sector has also been very effective. For example, it has promoted laws in at least 24 states that prevent the use of the word “meat” to refer to any vegan substitute made with soy or any other plant. Arkansas went further and banned “veggie burgers” from using the title “burger,” but justice prevented it.

The reality is that doctors are clear that the US, like Spain, eats much more meat than it does. It’s good for your health and that this consumption also has harmful effects on the environment. However, in both countries the new generations consume less and there are many jobs at stake. Meat is the main industry in Nebraska, sending three times as many cattle to the slaughterhouse each year as the state has residents. In Extremadura the sum of pigs and cows also triples that of the population.

The economic aspect is clear, but the American conservatives have so far preferred to frame the problem as a question of personal freedom: that they do not interfere in my life, that they leave me in peace to eat what I want. It is not new, it is the same approach that they have used with other scientific consensuses such as climate change. A narrative that is now transferred to the photos of steaks of Spanish politicians and of which we also have historical references: ” who told you the glasses of wine that I have or do not have to drink, let me drink them in peace ”. Aznar said it in 2007 and, by the way, in the next sentence he was talking about eating hamburgers.