Tuesday, 10 May 2011

You Need A Lesson In Economics, Oisin...

...and maybe one on human nature, too:
Oisin Murnion, chairman of the National Beef Association, said: ‘Farmers on this side of the Atlantic will be annoyed with Tesco.

‘It is extremely important that families buy British beef, not just for reasons of quality but also because it sustains a way of life and the countryside that is enjoyed by all.’
I buy British beef – hell, any beef – if I like the taste and the price. Not to keep ‘a way of life’ going!
‘Supermarkets are only interested in the profit they make this week, not the long-term future of farming and food in this country.

‘If they paid a decent farm gate price for beef, production would rise in this country to meet demand.’
No, no, no! If production can’t or won't keep pace with demand, the supplier will go elsewhere!

Good grief, is this what BSE does to the brain?
British farmers only produce 64 per cent of the beef we eat. Most of the rest comes from Ireland, but also, increasingly, Brazil and now, for the first time in many years, the U.S..
And why not? If you can't fulfil the need, Oisin, someone else will. And the problem with waving the 'quality' flag is that most people are happy to eat inferior produce as long as it's cheap.

So, yes, they'll buy US beef in Tesco. Why wouldn't they?

23 comments:

AntiCitizenOne said...

Especially as "inferior" is subjective. There's a lot of Quality crap meat. (There's also a lot of good quality cheap meat if you know what you're doing in a kitchen).

Shinar's Basket Case said...

The average 'hard working British' farmer makes the benefits 'scrounging' single mom look like the inept amateur she really is.

Anonymous said...

Yup .... yet you'd be the first to complain if they allowed cheap labour to come over and take your jobs ...

Anonymous said...

@shinarsfruitcake ...

You know f all about farming and the farming community .. I'd dare say they work a damn sign harder than some opinionated prick of a blogger ..

Brian, follower of Deornoth said...

I don't buy any beef myself, British or otherwise, because it costs too much and I'm not a rich man.

But thieving farmers still steal my money in subsidies.

So fuck you, Oisin. Fuck you and the heifer you rode in on.

English Viking said...

I'm afraid I agree with anon @ 12.30.

But not anon @ 12:42, who is probably the same, irate farm-hand.

The result will be as it always is; the little guy goes out business, the big guy has less competition, the big guy laughs in your face, sells you shite for whatever price he sees fit and you will no other alternative but to buy his disease riddled muck or start planting cows.

I'm not so good at farming. You do plant them, right?

Is when the daddy pig loves the mommy sheep?

RAB said...

A lot of my relations are farmers, and they are doing very nicely thankyou! Oisin.

My dad was a Master Butcher and I buy from specialist butchers when I can. People think that they are more expensive than supermarkets, but if you know what to ask for and what you are looking at as I do,they are actually cheaper.

Things like faggots,which are very cheap from a proper butcher, taste wonderful, but mass produced supermarket ones are crap in the main.

Proper butchers will cut the meat to order for you too, and if you go for Brisket rather than sirloin or silverside, you are quids in.

Shinar's Basket Case said...

Faggots? Tasty? I'm guessing you mean the 'like a bland Ćevapčići' and not the US usage of the word? Right? :P

Blue Eyes said...

I wonder whether Mr Murnion would be a bit surprised if his local Tesco suddenly stopped stocking anything imported. He might find his next toothbrush rather difficult to purchase...

bella gerens said...

Having eaten both, I can affirm my personal preference is US beef, for both its taste and its lack of creepy cow diseases. I look forward to purchasing it in my local Tesco and giving one in the eye to the disgusting British farmers whose "way of life" involves, allegedly, making their livestock into cannibals...

Uncle Badger said...

Supermarket meat is largely inedible, regardless of where it comes from. Whose fault this is, I can't say, but I'm not surprised there are so many vegetarians around if all they've ever tasted is the tough, horribly flavoured rubbish sold by the major supermarkets (Waitrose excepted).

Greencoat said...

You can't beat a bit of fried alsation.

Anonymous said...

Aren't US cows (bulls) injected with growth hormones that are not permitted here ?
Perhaps one of the farming community can confirm ?

Charles said...

Anonymous 19:12

The US regulatory authorities do have different policies on growth hormones, bovine somatropin and medicated feed additives that the European authorities

That's because they based their decision on the scientific data available rather than the combination of environmental activists and populist media looking for a health scare

Anonymous said...

Yes Chas, the entire rest of the world is cowed (!) by environmental activists and populist media, only the US is brave enough to stand firm...

Mark Wadsworth said...

Julia, yes, economics is indeed that simple.

What farmers have learned about economics is that one unit of 'special pleading' earns you twice as much as one unit of work* - getting the subisidies and appealing to nationalism (although they are rank amateurs compared to French farmers, of course, who have rigged all the EU reg's against British farmers).

* This does not relate to the real work done by people who work ON farms but don't get the subsidies and whose wages are undercut by EU immigrants.

blueknight said...

On a short holiday in Geneva, I went to the local Lidl shop to find some bread rolls and some meat to go in them for a picnic by the lake.
I found packets of smoked horse meat.
The point is the shops will sell what people want to buy. And if that is 'cheaper' US or Irish beef, who is Oisin to complain?

James Higham said...

British farmers only produce 64 per cent of the beef we eat. Most of the rest comes from Ireland, but also, increasingly, Brazil and now, for the first time in many years, the U.S..

But not from France?

Lerxst said...

Julia

Can't argue with you on the economics. People will vote with their wallets and sobeit.

However, I would suggest it is worth paying more. I tend to buy rare breed beef from approved butchers these days. I've got a decent idea where it's come from, how it's been treated, personally I think it tends to taste better, and I get a little glow from doing my bit to preserve some very tasty breeds of cow. However, I do appreciate the key point is that I can afford to do this.


(A quick plug: http://www.rbst.org.uk/rare-breeds-meat/accredited)

JuliaM said...

"Especially as "inferior" is subjective. "

Agreed. Most people need to really experience good meat to tell the difference, and how many will ever try it?

" I'd dare say they work a damn sign harder than some opinionated prick of a blogger .."

You'll note that most 'opinionated bloggers' wouldn't elect a spokesman to demand that all foreign bloggers be blocked from the UK internet to make things easier for themselves...

"People think that they are more expensive than supermarkets, but if you know what to ask for and what you are looking at as I do,they are actually cheaper."

Yes, there's a lot of myth about it. And why shouldn't a better quality be a little bit more expensive?

Just don't expect everyone to agree, or pay it.

"I wonder whether Mr Murnion would be a bit surprised if his local Tesco suddenly stopped stocking anything imported. He might find his next toothbrush rather difficult to purchase..."

Heh! I suspect that'd be different.. ;)

JuliaM said...

"Having eaten both, I can affirm my personal preference is US beef..."

I've had grass-fed and corn-fed steaks while holidaying, and I can't say it tasted any different to UK beef. Maybe a bit more tender?

"Supermarket meat is largely inedible, regardless of where it comes from."

I've found that if you buy from the fresh meat counter, rather than the shrink-wrapped stuff, it's often better. But this might be psychophysical!

"What farmers have learned about economics is that one unit of 'special pleading' earns you twice as much as one unit of work*..."

It clearly keeps folk like Oisin in a cushy job too! I rather doubt his boots have a trace of cowshit...

"However, I would suggest it is worth paying more."

Me too. When we have an empty freezer, we often stock up on meat from Donald Russell, the online butcher. Great service and really tasty meat.

Blue Eyes said...

"creepy cow diseases... cannibals..."

only a few decades out of date, but never mind!

Unknown said...

The defensiveness here speaks volumes as do things like the dishonest need to project untruths about Oisin having no trace of cow sh1t on his boots, which is utterly false. He farms galloway for environmental grazing and works damn hard.

This is wrong:
If production can’t or won't keep pace with demand, the supplier will go elsewhere!

It should be:
If production can’t or won't keep pace with demand at a low enough price for mass consumption, the supplier will go elsewhere!

Oisin wouldn't deny that. Its a straw man. What he is advocating is protectionism and/or paying a price that values UK farming and its now far better environmental credentials. If supply doesn't meet demand, and supply doesn't increase, prices rise which should improve the price a farmer gets, improve affordability and facilitate expansion of UK farms in an environmentally sustainable way. Importing US beef where environmental standards facilitate huge land footprints per animal, with all the associated climate destructive impact, is not something the UK should be in any way associated with. Besides, YS beef tastes rubbish. Prices of beef need to go up, because beef farming is not a sustainable mass consumer product, it should be a higher priced treat we save for, and the lower the price is forced by the cartel behaviour of supermarkets, the greater the negative environmental impact, which forces environmentally sustainable small and medium sized farms increasingly to emulate intensive mechanized superfarms that are utterly environmentally destructive. Ultimately, advocates for these processes, as we see from commentators here, are just unconsciously or not, killing our kids with environmental and climate breakdown, and indeed it is suicidal for us at the current rate at which it is happening. Afterall, its basic economics that it ISN'T really money that makes the world go round, its food and water. Now that these are under threat, including in the UK, fiat currencies will also come under threat.