Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Koretz, a Democrat, wants to push veganism down Angelenos’ throats by mandating that all concessionaires at city-owned properties serve at least one vegan dish. The plan would extend its mandate to the city’s Meals on Wheels program, which delivers meals to seniors who are unable to purchase or prepare their own food, and to privately owned venues such as the Staples Center and movie theaters.
Claiming that the city should cut its consumption of animal products in order to reduce greenhouse gas emission, boost animal welfare, and help better the air quality, Koretz seems adamantly opposed to science in his approach to public policy.
After all, “[t]he current CO2-induced warming of Earth is … essentially irreversible on human timescales,” according to scientists from the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the UK’s Royal Society. So why would a local paperpusher think that forcing eateries to offer vegan meals think he would make a difference?
In a city completely overwhelmed by burdensome regulations, the food industry is already having a hard time navigating the city’s unnecessary restrictions. Restaurants do not operate on big budgets or large profit margins. As such, adding items to their menus because of bureaucracy, not because customers asked for it, means adding unnecessary expenses to their budget. In the long run, this hurts their profits, severely limiting their incentives to stay on business.
If this doesn’t prove Koretz and his colleagues are out of touch, nothing else does, especially considering the recent developments in the agriculture industry.
Bureaucrats Have No Right To Dictate What We Do With Our Property
As pointed out by the Los Angeles Times, avocado farmers from the Mexican state of Michoacán were recently behind a sudden avocado price spike.
Angry with the low wholesale prices they are forced to charge because of the fierce competition, farmers responsible for 90 percent of the avocados we consume in the United States went on a major strike. And as the green, fatty, and delicious fruit ripened on trees, they blockaded truck routes and ran over piles of seized avocados with steamrollers. For a whole week, clients had no ripened avocados to buy, and LA restaurants had to tell their customers that their favorite avocado toast was out of order.
With the drug war ravaging through Michoacán and cartels taking over Mexico’s agriculture industry, it’s not far-fetched to assume that this type of shortages could happen again. But in a Los Angeles where restaurant owners would suffer penalties for not carrying vegan options, a shortage of avocado could translate into closed doors.
Koretz might think he’s looking good by pushing a rule that would force restaurants to cater to an artificially boosted vegan clientele. But what he’ll produce instead is hardship — and all because lawmakers feel entitled to dictating how private individuals should run their own lives.
Businesses are the property of their owners, and as such, they should be free to use the information they obtain from the market to make better-informed decisions. Bureaucrats don’t hold all the knowledge, and forcing their view on business owners is a violation of basic human rights.