We’ve a claim that if we were, post-Brexit, to sign a free trade deal with the United States then our green and pleasant land, our Albion, will be flooded with cheap and inhumanely produced bacon. This could well be true, who knows? It’s the what we do about it which matters, the answer being, quite obviously, that we go ahead and sign the trade deal and get the flood of cheap and inhumanely produced bacon.
The conclusion we’re supposed to draw is that we shouldn’t, the conclusion we should is that we should:
The US meat lobby is “salivating” at the prospect of flooding the UK with bacon and pork produced using practices that are currently illegal in the UK, a top food expert has warned.
Gestation crates and the chemical growth hormone ractopamine – both banned in the UK – are regularly used in the US pig industry, which achieves the lowest costs of production in the world. Any future trade deal which includes accepting US pork could potentially have a disastrous impact on the UK’s pig industry as well as diluting our welfare standards, say both industry and campaigners.
Speaking to the Guardian, Prof Tim Lang, from City University, said the British public needed to “wake up” to the dangers of animal welfare being rolled back as the UK prepares to leave the EU.
“[The US] secretary of state for commerce has already made it clear EU standards must go if the UK wants trade deals. Did voters really want leaving the EU to mean taking us out of a powerful and – by global standards – progressive trade block, and into the clutches of US big food?”
Well, clearly, we should always do the opposite of whatever Tim Lang suggests about anything. But beyond that.
Maybe we do want this cheap pork. Maybe we don’t. The people who get to decide this being we of course. So, we do indeed get to decide if it’s sitting on the shelves, marked as being US stuff, and we can choose to buy it or not. I myself wouldn’t buy US bacon simply because it’s disgusting but it takes all sorts. That being the point, utility is personal, tastes differ and chacun a son gout.
The only reason to ban the stuff, to use this warning against the trade deal, is because you think that some people will indeed buy it. If it’s true that “we” don’t want it then even if it’s available we won’t buy it. Thus the trade deal makes no difference. It only does make a difference if we will buy it – then it will indeed displace some of that more ethically produced pigmeat. But if we do buy it then that means that we do want it. So, why are we not having the trade deal which will give us what we want?
The answer being that Tim Lang thinks we shouldn’t be allowed to have preferences different from those of Tim Lang, and that the law be used to force us to accord to his wishes. The only reason to ban cheap pork is because you think we’d like to have cheap pork. At which point we should be seriously considering rendering down Tim Lang’s pretensions into cooking fat, no?