Who pays?

Ezra Klein says meat should not be cheap:

Part of the problem with price signals is that we're not always sure what they're signaling. Cheap meat signals, to many, a good deal. But the cheaper your meat, the more brutal the conditions the animal was raised in. It's cheap to raise chickens in boxes, cheap to cut off their beaks so they can't peck themselves. It's cheap to never let your cows roam, cheap to feed them corn feed, cheap to force them to adapt to a fattening, subsidized diet that their bodies reject and deal with the consequences through antibiotics.

It's pricey, by contrast, to give animals room to roam, to feed them a healthful diet that doesn't force early maturity, to raise and slaughter them humanely. It's pricey to raise food on things that are recognizable as farms, and to make your energy and transportation practices sustainable. In the same way that gas is too cheap because the price doesn't include the associated environmental harm and long-term costs, meat is too cheap, in that the price ignores the environmental harm, the land-use opportunity costs, and the cruelty that often goes into "cheap" food.



I'd say meat isn't cheap; we've just shifted the costs.