The aroma of baking meatloaf wafts from the kitchen as I type the words you are reading now. Made with onions, eggs, garlic and Fresno peppers from a Friendsville farm, it will have truly local flavor. The ground chuck is from a nearby supermarket.

The homespun act of making meatloaf in your own oven should be non-controversial — but it is far from that. Put aside for now concerns about health and red meat. That approach — scaring us into avoiding beef — has not been effective enough for some.

It also is small potatoes compared to an idea presented at the World Science Festival in 2015, and shown recently on Fox News. That idea is to make people deliberately sick if they eat beef. This suggestion is part of “human engineering,” a method of manipulating bodies and behavior to suit whatever goals politicians find important. Our health is not one of these goals.

Professor S. Matthew Liao of New York University suggests that a drug can stop beef consumption. (The idea is similar to the drug Antabuse, which makes you quite sick if you drink alcohol. Or use hand sanitizer.) Liao’s drug would induce nausea and other unpleasant reactions after eating beef, or as he calls it, bovine protein. The drug would be “voluntary” and would help those who want to fight global climate change by making them unable to tolerate beef ...

Here, a quote from his original article “Human Engineering and Climate Change,” from 2012. It appeared in the publication “Ethics, Policy, and the Environment:” “While reducing the consumption of red meat can be achieved through social, cultural means, people often lack the motivation or willpower to give up eating red meat even if they wish they could. Human engineering could help here. Eating something that makes us feel nauseous can trigger long-lasting food aversion ...

“While meat intolerance is normally uncommon, in principle, it could be induced by stimulating the immune system against common bovine proteins. The immune system then would become primed to react to such proteins, and henceforth eating ‘eco-unfriendly’ food would induce unpleasant experiences. Even if the effects do not last a lifetime, the learning effect is likely to persist for a long time. A potentially safe and practical way of delivering such intolerance may be to produce ‘meat’ patches — akin to nicotine patches. We can produce patches for those animals that contribute the most to greenhouse gas emissions and encourage people to use such patches,” Liao wrote.

Let’s get this straight: People should take a drug to stop them from eating “eco-unfriendly” foods? You first, buddy.

Bad as that is, Liao later admits that another human engineering suggestion might be even less acceptable. But he still makes it. He presents the proposal to stunt humans so we grow about 15 centimeters or 6 inches less than we do today. This can be done in the womb.

One way is by selecting embryos for implantation that will not grow to full height. Another is by limiting nutrients to the normally conceived human baby. Forget your prenatal vitamins, Mom, try starving yourself for the environment instead.

The anti-human sentiment behind the climate change agenda has seldom been more visible than here.

People who raise cattle have been vilified for some time now. It’s good they have common sense and a healthy regard for the land they maintain. Cows passing gas do not make them afraid the planet will wither away, nor would they consider stunting their children’s growth so the tractor takes less diesel to carry them.

It’s a joy to see cattle grazing in East Tennessee, along with pigs here and there. Bee houses. Pecan trees. Chickens everywhere. Crops thriving on farms big and small. And famers’ markets to sell them.

Keeping food production local protects against disruptions. As globalist Henry Kissinger said: “Control oil and you control the nations; control food and you control the people.”

Bill Gates seems to agree. He recently became the largest single owner of farmland in the United States.

Isn’t beef bad for you? Probably not. This 50-year-old idea was recently re-examined with surprising results. Commentary in The American Journal of Medicine’s September 2020 issue examined red meat and saturated fat consumption. The connection between red meat and cardiovascular disease and cancer was found to be “extremely weak.” Same for processed meats. The title of the commentary: “Time for a New Approach to Reducing Cardiovascular Disease: Is Limitation on Saturated Fat and Meat Consumption Still Justified?”

Poisoning people so they cannot safely eat a historical, Biblical food source is wrong. In the last years of my husband’s life, he once had severe anemia while on dialysis. They refused to treat him until he got a transfusion. After weeks in the ICU for acute kidney injury, and weeks more in rehab, he would not return to the hospital. I asked his dialysis nurse for help. She suggested a daily meal of beef liver and orange juice. Vitamin C aids in utilizing iron from the liver. It worked; he pinked up and perked up as his hemoglobin rose steadily. Nutrition heals.

That meatloaf is surely done. The timer went off two paragraphs ago. No matter what you choose to eat, be thankful for the farmers behind it, and those who processed it and transported it to market.

Don’t let politicians and trendy science dictate what goes on your fork.

Food is way too important for that.

An Ohio native, Bonnie Falchuk-Baker moved to Maryville last year from Delaware. She trained and worked as a nurse in Germany and in the United States, and has a Master of Arts in English and German literature.

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