Thu, Mar 22, 2012 - Page 3 News List

MEAT CONTROVERSY: Proposal that soldiers eat 1kg of pork a day panned

Staff Writer, with CNA

A proposal by a Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmaker that soldiers eat a kilogram of pork a day to help stabilize local pork prices has angered some netizens, who asked: “Are our men and women in uniform doomed to help farmers whenever the market price of their product suffers?”

DPP Legislator Liu Chien-kuo (劉建國) recently said each of the nation’s 270,000 servicemen and women should be made to eat 1kg of pork a day to reverse falling prices because of consumer worries over the use of leanness-enhancing animal feed by the livestock industry.

Liu said since a market-ready hog typically weighs about 100kg, the military could consume almost 3,000 pigs a day.

Liu said the Ministry of National Defense should not just encourage pork consumption, but also purchase additional pork and publish how much it consumes each day.

“Such a policy would boost market confidence in the local pork industry, thereby helping our farmers,” Liu said.

Based on the recipe for Taiwan Railway Administration lunch boxes, each Taiwanese soldier would have to eat 10 pork cutlets a day to comply with Liu’s proposal.

Some military officers joked that they were far too busy to eat so much pork because they were still working to finish off all the surplus oranges and bananas they had been made to consume.

“Who could eat a whole kilo of pork every day? If we can’t eat it all, can we send it to our families?” one of the officers asked.

A non-commissioned officer said the military had been downsizing and that the number of soldiers was shrinking.

“You people [politicians] should seize this opportunity, since our military won’t be able to eat so much [produce] in the future. Fruit growers and hog farmers had better learn to take care of themselves,” he said.

Ministry spokesperson Colonel David Lo (羅紹和) said it had been encouraging all its military units and agencies to purchase and consume pork in an effort to stabilize the market and help protect the local livestock industry.

Ministry officials said that in late 2008, when a glut of oranges was plaguing farmers, the armed forces had launched a 20-month campaign to increase its orange consumption.

By the end of that campaign, the military had consumed more than 600 tonnes of oranges.

Soon afterward, banana farmers saw prices plummet, so the ministry bought more than 100 tonnes of bananas, which made some servicemen feel they were being “force-fed” fruit, ministry officials said.

Now, domestic pork prices are falling and legislators are once again asking soldiers to consume surplus produce again, they said.

“Do our soldiers have no other job requirement than to help eat farm produce?” one ministry official asked.

Some members of the public have demanded that Liu “demonstrate how to eat a kilo of pork each day,” before asking the government to act on his proposal.

To reverse the falling prices, the government should just enforce the law and ferret out pork farmers who feed their hogs with banned drugs, others said.

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