THE DIGESTIVE ELITE
Often used in posts and presentations by members of Protect the Harvest, especially our executive director Brian Klippenstein, is the term “Digestive Elite.” Today, we want to define that term and make sure that all of our readers know exactly what/who we are talking when we use it.
The Digestive Elite is a class of people all across America and the world that have no problem paying for expensive food. They misunderstand the impact that increased food costs have on the not-so-well off, and they make terrible mistakes in both advocacy and policy that unintentionally or otherwise raise the costs of food to levels detrimental to less well-off families.
These increases in cost act as a regressive food tax, hurting low-income people exponentially more than those who are members of the Digestive Elite. Since the rise doesn’t hurt them, the Elites don’t care, leaving lower-income individuals to suffer and increase the already high portion of their disposable income on food.
This means they have less money to put in the economy through goods and services, less money to buy essential items like school supplies for their children, and are often forced to buy less nutritious options because of cost; which ends up increasing the obesity epidemic.
Simply to live, some families are required to spend what little money they have on cheap, high calorie, unhealthy options. As the cost of nutritious food like eggs and beef goes up, so does the number of families that cannot afford them and thus also the obesity statistics.
The digestive elite often ignore this common sense observation, and fight tooth and nail for policy that literally does nothing but raise the cost of food.
The Bad Egg Bill
The perfect example of the Digestive Elite's mistakes is in California with Proposition 2 (and also AB 1437) - what has been labeled the “Bad Egg Bill.” As we are sure you know; this bill was an attempt by the wealthy Hollywood digestive elites and HSUS D.C. bureaucrats to eliminate cages in egg production.
The main problem with this is that cages, the modern system, were invented to lower the mortality rate of laying hens which were susceptible to disease, predators, and self-mutilation in the previous cage free systems. Yet, these individuals thought it would be more humane to let the hens suffer.
The cost of production rose, the amount of eggs produced declined; the cost was inevitably passed on to consumers. This had no effect on the wealthy individuals in the state, but for those families who are not the nearly 300% increase in cost has been unbearable.
Listen to Brian Klippenstein discuss the bad egg bill…
As Klippenstein stated, the digestive elites don’t care about the rising cost. That’s the point of a regressive tax; it hurts the poor, not the rich. An equal percentage increase is disproportionate when held based on criteria of need.
One of the worst parts is that there is no tangible upside to the egg bill. In no way does it help animal welfare because the animals are worse off than they were before. It’s not an effort to try and regulate agriculture – it’s an all-out war on agricultural production, and for no other reason than that they can do it.
The Effects on the Average American
Because of legislation like this one that doesn’t take into account lower-income individuals, the price of food has seen sharp spikes of increase in recent years. This is all despite the fact that with research and technology the cost to actually produce food SHOULD be going down.
After one spike, between October 2010 and January 2011, the World Bank’s food price index increased by over 15%. According to some Gallup Polls between 2006 and 2008, over 16% of people in America went hungry due to finances, a trend that has only continued to rise in recent years. One in four Americans say that they are worried about having enough money to put food on the table in the coming year.
Food insecurity is a problem, but more so for those who have less money. As we discussed previously, the less money you have, the less quality of food that you can get. Lowering the cost of all food seems like a simple solution, and yet digestive elitists refuse.
Take a look at this graph from The Atlantic that shows the average amount of money spent on food:
We cannot stress enough why this difference is so important. Those who are spending over $10,000 a year on food anyway DO NOT CARE about those who can only spend $3,000 and the problems they face. And guess who are the ones who have the money to influence legislation and policy, it’s not those who can only afford $3,000 in food! It’s the Digestive Elite.
This is a real problem folks, and we have to step in to fix it. Families who depend on eggs as a cheap source of protein cannot afford a 300% increase in food cost. Sometimes these individuals in the lowest income bracket are spending upwards of 18, 19, or 20% of their annual income on food. They cannot afford any more increases.
Groups who are against effective agricultural techniques are not members of the lowest bracket. Those who will stand on a street corner and protest the size of the cage that a chicken was in are not going hungry, or questioning where their next meal is coming from. So they shouldn’t be able to affect so strongly the outcomes that harm people who ARE having those struggles.
This same situation applies to GMOs as well; it’s not just the one law in California that has been raising the cost of people’s food.
Like caged food production, the digestive elite often find issue with Genetically Modified Organisms. Despite the fact that the world is still looking for the first legitimate GMO-caused stomach ache, some people are in a state of panic that agriculture doesn’t quite work the way they thought it did anymore.
For the less fortunate, GMOs are wonderful. Producing more food on less land with less of an environmental impact that is more nutritious, what’s wrong with that? It makes food cheaper, healthier, last longer, and less susceptible to disease.
But the digestive elite immediately go on the offensive. They make false claims about GMOs causing cancer and use other scare tactics to get biotechnology shut down. These things are all Myths!
They ask questions like, “Well I don’t need cheaper food, so why make it?” and completely ignore the fact that GMOs can be a lifeline for millions of people.
It’s self-centered irresponsible nonsense and it hurts American families. But again, they are the ones with the money, so they will fight tooth and nail to get there way.
Just look at how anti-GMO activists backed by Greenpeace destroyed Golden Rice farms in the Philippines in 2013. The activist destroyed the fields full of a crop genetically engineered to produce vitamin A to cure nutrient deficiencies in developing countries around the world. The project was delayed and over 500,000 children went blind that year because of the deficiency.
Can you imagine the audacity of such a group of people? Science has brought about a solution to an absolutely horrifying problem and they just destroyed, threw it away.
The digestive elite do not care about the poor, they do not care about the starving, the do not care about malnutrition. They only care about themselves, their beliefs, and being ‘right.’
Research facilities, like those controlled by the Golden Rice Project, are filled with visionaries trying to solve the world’s biggest problem: sustaining the production of food. Through science, technology, and innovation they have that capability. The digestive elite just have to get out of the way so that we can start saving lives and putting food on tables.
“Successful civilizations around the world are not so unless they rest on a foundation of food security.” ~ Brian Klippenstein
That is practically the motto of Protect the Harvest. If something intends to harm agricultural production, they are our enemy. The digestive elite who consistently fight for policy and initiatives that will hurt farmers, ranchers, and consumers are on the top of that list.
In order for our society to thrive we must have an absolute obsession with sustainability. Nothing can be more important than lowering the cost of food and eliminating the burden of high food costs on our poorer families.
Will you fight against the Digestive Elite with us, and help the millions of families that are facing the negative consequences of irresponsible agricultural policy?