This month, with the help of agriculture secretary Sonny Perdue, Trump’s hand-picked tool for an avaricious and inhumane food policy, a vital organic regulation was terminated.The Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices (OLPP) rule was designed to impose federal scrutiny on the living conditions provided for animals being sold as certified organic. Now industrial producers will be allowed to exploit the loopholes left open in USDA enforcement to raise animals in factory farm conditions and still sell the resulting food products as “organic”.
One response to this profound obscenity was dark satire. The Brooklyn-based group DCX Growth Accelerator launched an ice cream truck, painted the name Presidential Creamery on the side and drove it through Manhattan. Its mascot was a cow’s udder with a Trump-style toupee waving an ice cream cone. Its menu boards mocked those of an organic creamery. Instead of organic products, they listed “cage-raised vanilla” milkshakes, “3 chicken per square foot” egg creams, and a sandwich named “the Sonny Perdue Beakless Chicken Po-boy.”
Such horror-based humor is not fruitless. It serves to remind us about what is just around the corner. And if used dramatically it can, and it must, help activate as well as levitate our spirits.
Today, as the legitimacy of the means we use to scrutinize our values is being eroded, the burden of that scrutiny falls back upon ourselves as individuals. The ethical and environmental standards behind the organic label are swiftly disappearing. We can no longer expect that a label alone will designates an sustainable and humane product.
As a result, we must take the time needed to become more intimately aware of both the awesome and awful practices of those who produce our food and nourish our sustenance. We must then be willing to support our preferences not just with our pocketbook, but with our dramatically offensive protestations.