The Nuclear Chicken War
cold war •
How frozen chicken led us down the path to environmental catastrophe.• June 14, 2022
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In the 1950s, Senator Fulbright from Arkansas politely told a gathering of NATO countries that he would withhold military aid if the French and Germans put a tariff on American frozen chicken. Arkansas was home to not only the largest chicken corporation in the world, but also dozens of Titan II missile silos.
This strange congruence of conflicting nefarious interests incidentally led us to the environmental catastrophe we face decades later. The Johnson administration's retaliation to the chicken tax was to put a tariff on trucks, and in response the American car companies doubled up on marketing trucks and SUVs to Americans due to that protected market.
So in a manner of speaking, the reason that the sky here in Dallas is yellow with exhaust fumes on a hot summer day is because of fallout from a war over frozen chickens, although presidents after Johnson and Kennedy have done their part to push us further toward ruin as well. 1, 2
Not to be outdone: hog farms. We also discuss the abuses of the hog farming industry in North Carolina and how they inevitably pollute rivers after every single hurricane hits that state, from overflowing open-pit waste collection ponds.
As we mention in the episode, this video was captured by a reporter investigating a coal ash spill after hurricane Florence in 2018. We found out later that the coal ash was mixed with pig feces. 3
1. Western Europe: Nobody But Their Chickens. Time Magazine. November 1962. ⇤
2. Rod Leonard. The USDA Plan for Deregulating and Privatizing Meat and Poultry Inspection: A Short History. The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy. December 2013. ⇤
3. ABC World News Tonight. DAM FEARS: Aerials show Florence floodwaters breaching a dam that contains a large lake at a Wilmington, North Carolina, power plant.... ABC News. September 2018. ⇤
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