In recognition of the month when America celebrates its freedom, we are devoting the first two weeks of July to a review of the ongoing battle for consumer freedom — the threats and the promise. Today, a review of recent pork production issues.
Celebrity activist Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., who got involved in the environmental movement after volunteering with the Hudson River Foundation to serve out 800 hours of community service for a 1984 heroin conviction, now runs the Water Keeper Alliance. After his hiring of a convicted environmental criminal led eight members of the group’s board to resign, Kennedy has seized control as the undisputed force behind Water Keeper. Kennedy has assembled a team of big-name attorneys to sue pork producers with the same tactics used against tobacco. He estimates potential “damages” of up to $13 billion. “We have attorneys now who have money and they know what they’re doing,” he has bragged.
The “sustainable” pork Kennedy lauds is produced by a system similar to that practiced in Sweden, where pork prices have risen as high as $12 per pound. Kennedys can afford that; average Americans cannot. But Kennedy believes multi-billion-dollar victories are in sight — even if along the way he drives companies out of business, forces thousands of workers out of their jobs, and drives up the price of pork for consumers. “We have lawyers with the deepest pockets, and they’ve agreed to fight the industry to the end,” says Kennedy. “We’re going to go after all of them.”
He has compared pork producers to Osama bin Laden, saying “large-scale hog producers were a greater threat to the United States and democracy than bin Laden’s terrorist network” according to The Des Moines Register.
He says of hog farming: “Let me tell you, the best thing would be if this industry did leave the country.” And that’s not all: “We’re starting with hogs. After the hogs, then we are going after the other ones” — poultry and beef.
Robert Boyle, founder of environmental group Riverkeeper (the predecessor to Water Keeper), has said Kennedy is “very reckless,” and has “assumed an arrogance above his intellectual stature,” and attorney George Rodenhausen, who has worked with Kennedy, says he “separates himself from good science at times in order to aggressively pursue an issue and win.”