The Growing Specter of Chinese Meat Consumption


The Growing Specter of Chinese Meat Consumption

May 30, 2013 reablogged Dr. Steve Best

I have blogged often against fatuous “Vegan Victory” celebrations and parades to remind everyone that while meat consumption is temporarily down in the US, it is growing at staggering rates on a global level (see, for instance here and here). Particularly, I have tried to warn people that the world’s most populous and rapidly modernizing nations — such as China, India, and Indonesia — continue to expand their economies, develop Western-capitalist social-economic models, enlarge their populations, and dramatically increase their production and consumption of meat.

China continues to lead the way in posing grave ecological threats to the world and slaughter ever-more animals for consumption. I have emphasized the ambiguity of China, which is that as animal advocacy grows, so too does meat consumption.

In a major new and foreboding development, on May 29, meat producer Shuanghui International bought Virginia-based Smithfield Foods for nearly $5 billion dollars, in what many consider to be the largest Chinese acquisition of a US corporation in history.

smithfield_wide-900fba44abfad633c231a99c4fb0ddf78c1e4725-s6-c30

Smithfield Foods, founded in 1936, was a major meat producing corporation particularly of pork. The transaction was beneficial to both parties, for while pork consumption has declined in the US, it is steadily rising in China. The US slaughters 100 million hogs for food consumption annually, whereas China butchers 470 million hogs per year. Thus, in a classic case of demand stimulating supply, Smithfield Foods is now part of Shuanghui International. China — with a population of 1.3 billion compared to 300 million people living in the US — is the world’s leading producer and consumer of pork.

07-08FAS7

As if US meat production methods were ever safe, or there is a thing os safe pork or healthy meat, some members of Congress are voicing hypocritical health concerns voiced. ”I have deep doubts, said  Representative Rose DeLauro, a Democrat from Connecticut, “about whether this merger best serves American consumers and urge federal regulators to put their concerns first.” But this is China, after all, and such “safety” concerns are not without merit: “Demand for U.S. meat in China has risen tenfold over the past decade, fueled in part by a series of embarrassing food safety scandals, from rat meat passed off as pork to thousands of pig carcasses floating on a river.Demand for U.S. meat in China has risen tenfold over the past decade, fueled in part by a series of embarrassing food safety scandals, from rat meat passed off as pork to thousands of pig carcasses floating on a river.”

china-produces-nearly-six-times-as-much-pork-per-person-as-the-rest-of-the-world

China produces nearly six times as much pork per person as the rest of the world

Apart from underscoring the oxymoron of “safe” or “healthy” meat of any kind, the more important issues are not sickened consumers foolish enough to consume animal “products,” but rather the ethical issue of a growing global animal holocaust and the catastrophic environmental impact of factory farming and the global rise of agribusiness and appetites for flesh, especially in the large, rapidly modernizing nations such as China.

14-facts-about-the-staggeringly-huge-chinese-pork-industry

Chinese Pork Industry

Despite foreign ownership, USA Today notes:

“Shuanghui has 13 facilities that produce more than 2.7 million tons of meat per year. Under the agreement, there will be no closures at Smithfield’s facilities and locations, including its Smithfield, Va., headquarters in the historic southeastern Virginia town of about 8,100 where it was founded in 1936, the companies said.

Smithfield’s existing management team will remain in place, and Shuanghui also will honor the collective bargaining agreements with Smithfield workers. The company has about 46,000 employees.

“This transaction preserves the same old Smithfield, only with more opportunities and new markets and new frontiers,” Smithfield CEO Larry Pope said in a conference call. “This is not a strategy to import Chinese pork into the United States … this is exporting America to the world.”

Sadly, this statement is true, and when US carnivorous culture influences global markets and massively populated nations such as China, it is the perfect storm for ecological collapse.

********************

 

Comment:

  • Well said. As part of China’s “Harmonious Society” policy meat long term contracts for meat are entered into across a vertical supply chain in order to keep a growing middle class complacent. China looks on this as social policy not merely “food security” and completely disregards the Bioethical concerns of such meat production on the environment.The vertical integration involves land grabs in Africa, Brazil and Burma to clearcut rainforests in order to grow soybeans to feed the pigs which kill all the native animals and displace subsistence and traditional farmers from their homes, a national “frozen meat reserve” which the PRC uses to stabilize supply and thereby prices and supply to consumers and now Smithfield which can only exist with government subsidies. The PRC is deliberately excluded from “free trade agreements” such as the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership (TTP) and EU-US Agreement (TTIP) but is getting in via the backdoor by means of purchasing Smithfield and other industries which export commodities whose demand is increasing. The quote Steve cites from Larry Pope hints at this subversion of US policy. Sales to Korea will be huge. Not to sound xenophobic because Smithfield is a prime polluter and villain no matter who owns it, but because of preferential laws and subsidies in the US, as a result of this merger the US is basically paying the Chinese to make a profit on the increased killing of pigs. I once studied economics at a top ranked business school and I have never encountered a case study where a nation such as the US in this example worked so hard to pollute and impoverish itself by subsidizing its competitor and its domestic polluters. the  Smithfield and nearby slaughterhouses and CAFOs have essentially killed larger marine life in the Chesapeake Bay which is now a dead zone awash in red tides of algae and dinoflagellates. Although we all want an end to animal ag, we must also demand an end to meat subsidies and demand strict environmental laws and then we shall see if Smithfield can exist  when it has to pay the true costs of operating.

Dr. Steve Best

I have blogged often against fatuous „Vegan Victory“ celebrations and parades to remind everyone that while meat consumption is temporarily down in the US, it is growing at staggering rates on a global level (see, for instance here and here). Particularly, I have tried to warn people that the world’s most populous and rapidly modernizing nations — such as China, India, and Indonesia — continue to expand their economies, develop Western-capitalist social-economic models, enlarge their populations, and dramatically increase their production and consumption of meat.

China continues to lead the way in posing grave ecological threats to the world and slaughter ever-more animals for consumption. I have emphasized the ambiguity of China, which is that as animal advocacy grows, so too does meat consumption.

In a major new and foreboding development, on May 29, meat producer Shuanghui International bought Virginia-based Smithfield Foods for nearly $5 billion dollars, in what…

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Published by: curi56

Fighting for justice means fighting for justice for all of us and not playing around with the colour of skin. Focus on justice. i am a scientist for educ./psychoanalysis/art - and frankly speaking a savant - discovered that I can do more with blogs & social networks for humans in shadow, children in shadow, animals in need et al - I have some more blogs, please, visit them p.e.: www.childreninprison.wordpress.com www.schweingehabt.wordpress.com colouredjustice.wordpress.com Curi56blog et al. I am glad to meet YOU here: Annamaria thank you Annamaria

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