Once upon a time in a faraway land there was a kingdom where the farmers sprayed poison on the food and sold it to the people, who in turn fed it to their children. The children would grow up and get sick and die.
The people wondered why they were falling ill.
“Please save us!” they asked the king.
The king could not to tell them the truth, for his wife — an evil queen — had cast a spell over him and all the farmers that made them blindly do her bidding, feeding the poisons to the farm animals as well as spraying it on the crops. For though the poison made the people grow fat and sick, and die of diabetes, cancer and heart disease, it also made the animals grow large and fat quickly, so they could be killed and chopped up for their meat sooner. They could even be fed cheap grains and not wander the lands eating grass (their natural food). The poisoned crops grew quickly, with no insect daring to go near them. And bees and other pollinators that did approach the crops became sick just like the people, as did the other inhabitants of their hives and colonies.
The poisoned food allowed the queen to collect more gold and treasure, which she kept in a vault inside the castle. As the people became sicker and sicker, the queen got richer and richer.
Over time, the treasure made the queen mad with power.
The animals got sick from the poisons that made them grow fast. The king’s royal vet begged the queen to let the cattle wander in the pastures, and eat the green grass.
“Please, your majesty, let the animals roam!” he asked the queen, trembling with fear before her throne.
“No, you insolent fool!” yelled the queen, and ordered her men-at-arms to drag him to the dungeon deep below the castle.
Instead, she ordered that the cattle be made to stand knee deep in their own filth and eat the fattening grains that were unnatural to them.
The queen treated all the other farm animals this way, ordering the farmers keep the pigs away from sunlight in metal pens so small they could not move in any direction. The pigs would cry and some would go mad and chew off their neighbor’s tails or gnaw their own limbs, but no one could hear their wailing far away in their dark crowded barns.
For the chickens it was the same, though the farmers complained the chickens would peck themselves and each other from frustration with their horrible lives.
“This would be solved,” the farmers told the queen fearfully, “if the chickens could run outside a little bit each day.”
But the queen was furious, because exercise would stop the birds from getting fat and ready for slaughter fast enough. Instead, she devised a wicked plan.
“If pecking is the problem, then chop off their beaks!” she said coolly.
The farmers agreed and went away trembling, thankful to still be in possession of their heads.
All went well for a time for the evil queen and her mesmerized farmers. Gold and treasure filled the coffers of her vault, until another and then another had to be built. Gold and silver coins poured from every strongbox, and piles of precious metal, diamonds and rubies lay in every corner of every room.
But over time a problem emerged. So many people were becoming sick from the poisons in the food that the hospitals were overflowing, and the cost of caring for the sick and dying threatened to bankrupt the kingdom. As the population aged, more and more treasure was needed to treat them.
The royal doctors asked the king for help, but it was no use.
The queen could have stopped the poisons being put in the food of the people, but instead she had another wicked idea.
She retreated to her rooms and her cauldron, and used dark magic to create potions that would be sold to the people as medicine. She would charge the people for this medicine and grow rich from their treatment, just as she grew rich from feeding them. She sold the people her potions and lotions, even though it rarely cured them. She grew richer and richer even as the people became sicker and poorer.
And so it was in this faraway land, where there was never a happy ending.
Be thankful, readers, that you live in a country where nothing like this could happen. Where chemical companies sell growth hormones, pesticides, herbicides and genetically-altered seeds with only the public’s welfare in mind, and not their profits. Thank the industrial food system for its efficiency in producing food inexpensively, with you in mind, not just the bottom line. Be grateful that the large pharmaceutical companies promote inexpensive, natural and preventative solutions to prevent diabetes, cancer and heart disease, and don’t just invest in expensive medicines in which they can obtain a patent. Be thankful that the medical system in our land recognizes the value of prevention and does not waste the people’s money treating disease only after a person falls ill. And give praise to our government, that is doing a superb job protecting the public interest and health, and is not at all in collusion with the large companies that give it money and flood its offices and committees with lobbyists.
Be grateful that your belief in the system is not belief in some fairytale.