The Nebraska Soybean Board’s latest commercial wants you to know the truth about meat. Oh, no, that’s not right. They want you to eat meat so they can profit, because, as they say in this commercial, 98 percent of domestic soybean sales are purchases from the US meat industry.
The commercial makes no effort to hide the soybean farmers’ agenda. After an intro segment, it begins: “From across our heartland, soybean, livestock, and poultry farmers are working together to feed the world.”
We get the usual appeals to patriotism (“heartland”), community (“working together”), and an unquestionable common goal (“feed the world”). So, as united Americans, the soybean and meat farmers are going to stamp out hunger. Brilliant!
But let’s back up. Why don’t they tell us how much soy it takes to feed a cow (whose natural diet consists of grass), and then tell us how many humans you could have fed with that? Also, perhaps they could let us know how feeding an animal an unnatural diet of soy (and corn) affects its immune system and actually costs even more because they have to dose it with antibiotics to keep it healthy? Let’s not forget the costs to human health of eating animal meat. And while they’re analyzing the true cost of meat production, why not tell us the costs to other species as the soybean farmers mow down animals’ natural habitats to make space for more soybeans?
“We need to do a better story of telling the benefits” of meat consumption, they say. I didn’t hear about a single benefit of meat consumption in this commercial. I did hear plenty about the industry’s “commitment” to human health and animal welfare (What??), but not a single representation of benefits. Show me proof that eating animals is good for my health or their welfare. C’mon, Soybean Board, show me what’s really going on behind the curtain — the animals as they’re typically raised and slaughtered — and try to tell me that this is humane and healthy.
The Soybean Board is clearly looking where the money is, and right now that’s in the meat industry. But hey, I love edamame, tofu, and tempeh, just to name a few delicious soy-based foods. Let’s remind the Soybean Board of the truth about the costs and “benefits” of meat production and consumption, and let’s let ’em know that we’re happy to eat soybeans, but not in the form of meat. Write them at firstname.lastname@example.org.