GRAY: Pork And Horsesh*t — Corporate Welfare Is Fueling Attempts To Ban Food Innovation

Liam Gray Contributor
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Who remembers when then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg tried to ban large sodas in New York City a decade ago? The backlash was huge, and rightfully so. Yes, we all know soda is unhealthy, but there’s nothing more un-American than government nannies stepping in to regulate an individual’s Coca-Cola intake. 

To be clear: I never drink soda and my daughter has made it her first six years without ever drinking a drop of it. But if I want to fill up a swimming pool with Shasta Cola and swim around in it pretending to be the fastest dude on UPenn women’s swim team, well, that’s my prerogative as an American, right?

The issue was clear cut then, especially among conservatives. So why is Republican Florida state Rep. Danny Alvarez leading the charge to ban cultivated meats across his state? Why are Florida Republicans leaving it up to Democratic Florida state Rep. Anna Eskamani to point out that “it’s anti-free market”? (RELATED: What A Shame: The Sunshine State Is Killing My Livelihood And Those Of Millions Of Other Floridians By Wiping Out DFS)

For some of us, concern for animal welfare and ending animal cruelty is a belief that is consistently held alongside, for instance, a deep commitment to pro-life values. As former Republican presidential speechwriter Matthew Scully puts it, “I have never heard a single compelling argument for why the unborn must die or why the animals must suffer.”

But, just as you don’t need to be a soda fan to find the nanny-state soda ban objectionable, you needn’t be the least bit concerned with the plight of animals to see the folly in this bill. 

Right now, Israel is leading the world in cultivated food innovation and China is celebrating our abdication of the space through bans such as the one Florida is working to push through. In this burgeoning sector, there is an opportunity for our nation to allow innovators to flourish by getting the government out of their way and giving them the space to produce potentially world-changing developments. Unless, of course, regulators crush that opportunity.

Alvarez complained that there is no “long-term safety data” for cultivated meats. This is a valid concern for any product intended for consumption (albeit by definition the case for any new technology), but it’s not a justification for banning a product (or, in this case, an entire burgeoning industry of products). Such a ban would, in fact, disincentivize researchers from bothering to develop the exact long-term studies being called for.

In this case, the argument is at best disingenuous: if Alvarez would like to abolish the Food and Drug Administration, well, he wouldn’t get much fight from me. But if the argument is that the arbitrary whims of state legislatures with no relevant expertise on such matters would be better than the mechanisms in place for determining food safety, then the argument is lost on me. (RELATED: The Pentagon Mandated COVID Vaccines, But Then Ignored Concerns About Adverse Reactions, Whistleblowers Say)

While we can all hope for the better angels of our elected leaders to show through, it’s hard to miss the behemoth beneficiaries of banning cultivated meats. No matter how tough politicians (on either side of the aisle) talk, Big Ag continues to benefit from the collusion of Big Government and Big Business.

When it comes down to it, politicians are politicians, regardless of party. They will oppose big spending rhetorically, but jam bills with special interest pork; they’ll be warriors for the free market, but find horseshit justifications to pick winners and losers when the money is right. These food innovation bans are no different, it’s just that this time the pandering to Big Pork and Big Horseshit is a little more literal.

Liam Gray is an editor at the Daily Caller.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller.