My beef with some burgers.

 One step forward, two steps back. France has announced a ban on outdoor heating which will come into force after the northern winter. And if you eat a burger in Europe there is a good chance the animal it came from will have been fed on soy grown in illegally deforested areas of the Amazon.

Announcing the outdoor heating ban in France Ecology Minister Barbara Pompili said outside heating or air conditioning was an "ecological aberration". And so it is. From any point of view heating the street doesn't make a lot of sense. They have also said that any shop running air conditioning must keep the doors closed.  If this outbreak of sense continues we might have little to worry about before long.

Never fear though - there are plenty of idiots to counteract the good work done by the few. JBS for example, the largest meat processing company in Brazil, and by volume the world, says that it does not process meat which has come from animals farmed on illegally cleared land. You don't have to look far though, to find animals being reared on recently cleared forest land and then sold on to squeaky clean farms which, let's not forget, were themselves established on recently cleared land not so long ago. From here the animals are sold to JBS who slaughter and process countless animals each year and send the meat to the US, Europe, and all over the world. This practice has recently been highlighted, and not for the first time, by an employee with a camera - it wasn't hard to do. Needless to say the employee is now an ex-employee, and of course everybody has known for years that this has been happening but the dollar marches on, as it will continue to do.

While global companies can flout both the law and good sense with impunity what incentive is there for the person in the supermarket aisle to make ethical choices? It's usually cheaper to buy the 'wrong' products, or the ones with excessive plastic packaging, or the oversized carbon footprint. It can be depressing to contemplate the scale at which popular opinion and action must shift in order to effect any meaningful change. Sure - consumers can move markets, and JBS could be compelled to behave more responsibly but let's be honest, is that really going to happen? As I've said before, the majority of people in the world cannot afford to make ethical choices. Of course we should - we all should, and we know we should, but that doesn't mean we do.

I don't know what the answer is, and I honestly fear that there may be no answer. Nature and the laws of physics will ultimately decide what becomes of the human race, but in the meantime might I suggest that if we want to drink coffee outside in the winter we could put on an overcoat - and perhaps eat fewer burgers?


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