Livestock industry gets a pass on climate change [Letter]

I'm so glad the Obama administration is developing support mechanisms to help the livestock industry adjust to the impacts of climate change ("U.S. sets up 10 'climate hubs' to assist farmers, ranchers," Feb 6). Since the industry is among the largest sources of greenhouse gases, it's only appropriate the government establish a support program to help them with their addiction, right?

Next, shall we also establish a burn healing center for arsonists? How about a road rash support group for dirt bike gangs? How about PTSD support groups for bank robbers? And oil industry executives need help with anxiety, since recent oil spills and accidents in Arkansas and North Dakota have surely increased the stress on CEOs who earn only $15,000 per hour.

Give me a break. With the help of USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, the industry is desperately trying to fit the square peg of animal agriculture into the round hole of sustainability. Even though it's not a good fit, at least have the quiet acquiescence of the mainstream environmental community and locavore groups, so they don't have to bend quite so far backward to convince the public otherwise. If the public actually knew the full cost of their products, the industry would be forced to pull itself up by its bootstraps, as is so often the advice of its conservative apologists. But with the receipt of $38 billion in annual government handouts already, who can blame them for coming back to the public feeding trough for more? Those poor guys. I'm so distraught, now I need a sympathy support group.

Mark Rifkin, Baltimore

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