Some days it's pretty easy to be an almost-vegetarian

From today’s Globe and Mail: Ottawa to pay farmers $50-million to slaughter hogs

In an unprecedented move, the federal government plans to pay hog farmers up to $50-million in total to slaughter as many as 150,000 breeding swine.

Farmers will receive $225 for every hog they kill, so long as they agree to wipe out their entire breeding herd and stay out of the hog business for three years. The government hopes the program will reduce a glut on the market that has helped drive down prices.

I understand that farmers tend not to be experts in economics, but any farmer so oblivious to the market in which they operate that they can’t understand “falling price + rising cost of feed = losing money” deserves to go out of business. Of course, this is the classic argument against bailouts, that they reward the stupid and non-competitive; they’re never done for economic reasons, only political. Apparently Big Pork* swings a big stick in Ottawa.

Another point: if we assume the slaughtered pigs are to be sold for meat, farmers and the government might as well brace for another price drop as 10% of the pork supply (and probably not the highest quality pork either, as I don’t think they’ll cull the best pigs) plops into supermarkets all at once. If, on the other hand, the slaughtered pigs aren’t to be sold as meat but simply done away with, that seems overly wasteful. Starving kids around the world and all that. Just give it to some food banks, for chrissakes.

* if there’s not a lobby called “Big Pork” there really ought to be

[tags]pork farmers, pig cull[/tags]