Animal Cruelty or the Price to the Poor?

In the piece, Animal Cruelty or the Price of Dinner?, Nicholas Kristof discusses the care, or lack thereof, of chickens in the slaughter industry. We get concern about: dogs, chickens on the way to slaughter, the health of chickens, the effect of sick chickens on humans, the livelihood of farmers speaking out, chicken living conditions, and efficiency vs. oppressive treatment of farmers and animals from the industry. In the midst of this complaint, there’s this nugget:

In fairness, the chicken companies excel at producing cheap food, with the price of chicken falling by at least half in real terms since 19301.

This is important because the one thing that never gets mentioned in this list of gripes is what tinkering with these things will do to the cost of chicken. Obviously, it will raise prices. And when the prices of goods and services go up, who does it hurt? The poor.

And what isn’t mentioned in Kristof’s list of concerns? How fixing the "problem" will affect the poor? Is that because he cares more about the chickens? Maybe not, but leaving the poor out of the equation is a common theme when discussing liberal initiatives.


  1. Kristof, Nicholas. "Animal Cruelty or the Price of Dinner?". The New York Times. 16 Apr 2016. Web. Accessed 19 Apr 2016.