Consumer choice alone isn’t sufficient to create a vegan world

By on August 28, 2011

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Recently chicken farmers and meat processors were bailed out by the U.S. government, to the tune of $40 million dollars, for the purchase of chicken carcasses. Chicken producers are having a rough time these days with the combination of higher costs for feed and less chicken carcasses purchased due to a sluggish economy.

While a reduction in chicken consumption excites vegans and activists, this bailout brings a glaring problem into the spotlight. That problem is that a decrease in the purchase of meat, dairy and eggs by consumers has historically been covered by the government. Last year the government purchased $30 million of chicken products; $42 million in 2008.

These bailouts make it apparent that strictly focusing on the purchasing choices of individuals is not going to bring about a vegan world. We need to consider two large components: the U.S. government and the agriculture industry. To truly affect the industries of exploitation, we need to overcome these inherent obstacles.

The U.S. government is subsidizing these industries from the cost of feed for animals, land, and water; to supplying animal products for schools, food assistance, and other institutional programs, promoting and advertising animal products, as well as on the purchasing side via bailouts. This will not significantly change due to small consumer-driven shifts in market share, especially when we the taxpayers will make up the difference.

Animal agriculture is not as concerned about small shifts in the market because they know that the government will continue to bail them out. They can lower prices to create demand, knowing that the government has their backs. They can continue to cut corners and costs to produce meat, dairy and eggs more cheaply, which ultimately affects the nonhuman animals in even more egregious ways, such as speeding up slaughterhouse lines, feeding cheaper feed (which will be even more unnatural than present), denser packing in transport, more dangerous growth-promoting drugs, and on and on. All of this takes an even greater toll on farmed animals. If the U.S. market isn’t expansive enough, they will export their products to China, India, and other “developing” countries.

This isn’t to say that we shouldn’t be advocating ethical veganism. For every vegan created, less animals will be bred, and quite frankly, we will need as many vegans and activists on our side. It’s only to point out that we cannot ignore the other two major components in this movement to create the vegan world that we are after.

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Comments

  1. tim gier
    August 28, 2011

    Leave a Reply

    Thanks for pointing this out. Anti-speciesist veganism seeks radical and revolutionary social, economic and political change; this isn’t just about what we, as individuals, consume.

  2. Jordan Wyatt
    August 28, 2011

    Leave a Reply

    Hi Gary, thank you for your post 🙂

    Have you seen the way America is going my friend? Soon there’ll no longer be enough ink in the printers to keep your economy afloat, and THEN what will happen?

    Well, with President Kucinich in power (VOTE KUCINICH 2012!!!!1111!!!! The only candidate the rest of the Western world would stand behind, surely?), there’ll be no more sales of weapons of mass destruction, with inferior cars to Japan/Germany, inferior movies to New Zealand (Avatar 2, 3 compared to the magnificent Hobbit parts 1 and 2? PUH-lease!) and a music industry in the toilet, what will the country turn to?

    GET OUT NOW MY FRIEND! I’ll arrange the mass fake weddings, both civil unions to myself (“socialist” politically correct laws against polygamy be damned!) and “full marriage” to female friends, we’ll get you all clean, Nuclear Free, First nation to recognize women as equal GREEN New Zealand citizen cards 🙂

    Just make sure you’re amongst the first packed boats to sail into the NEW land of liberty, soon enough that North Island

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Zealand

    will be as packed as a “factory farm”!

    We can have a marvelous impact by promoting Veganism to individuals, especially in “commie”/”socialist”/”nannystate” countries like New Zealand, where we ACTUALLY have a free market, our animal killers/exploiters stand on their own merits of efficiency, go figure.

    http://newfarm.rodaleinstitute.org/features/0303/newzealand_subsidies.shtml

    “The New Zealand cows, soon, will have a say in the matter because the CMAB is bringing its production crews to Auckland, New Zealand, to shoot a new series of 10 commercials claiming that California cows are happier. That’s right. New Zealand will stand in for California in a series of TV ads arguing that the Golden State’s milk is superior.
    At issue is, of course, cost. Film production is pricey in California, and that’s why many movies, TV shows and commercials have fled to far-away locales from New Zealand and Australia to Canada and Portland, Ore.”

    http://www.dailyfinance.com/2009/11/15/its-udderly-silly-californias-happy-cow-ads-will-be-filmed/#

    Jordan Wyatt
    Invercargill Vegan Society
    “all animals are equal”
    http://www.invsoc.org.nz

    Southernmost Vegan Organisation in the world (possibly?) and home to the garbled, ranting comment that overstays its welcome.

  3. Jordan Wyatt
    August 28, 2011

    Leave a Reply

    Hi Gary, thank you for your post 🙂

    Have you seen the way America is going my friend? Soon there’ll no longer be enough ink in the printers to keep your economy afloat, and THEN what will happen?

    Well, with President Kucinich in power (VOTE KUCINICH 2012!!!!1111!!!! The only candidate the rest of the Western world would stand behind, surely?), there’ll be no more sales of weapons of mass destruction, with inferior cars to Japan/Germany, inferior movies to New Zealand (Avatar 2, 3 compared to the magnificent Hobbit parts 1 and 2? PUH-lease!) and a music industry in the toilet, what will the country turn to?

    GET OUT NOW MY FRIEND! I’ll arrange the mass fake weddings, both civil unions to myself (“socialist” politically correct laws against polygamy be damned!) and “full marriage” to female friends, we’ll get you all clean, Nuclear Free, First nation to recognize women as equal GREEN New Zealand citizen cards 🙂

    Just make sure you’re amongst the first packed boats to sail into the NEW land of liberty, soon enough that North Island

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Zealand

    will be as packed as a “factory farm”!

    We can have a marvelous impact by promoting Veganism to individuals, especially in “commie”/”socialist”/”nannystate” countries like New Zealand, where we ACTUALLY have a free market, our animal killers/exploiters stand on their own merits of efficiency, go figure.

    http://newfarm.rodaleinstitute.org/features/0303/newzealand_subsidies.shtml

    “The New Zealand cows, soon, will have a say in the matter because the CMAB is bringing its production crews to Auckland, New Zealand, to shoot a new series of 10 commercials claiming that California cows are happier. That’s right. New Zealand will stand in for California in a series of TV ads arguing that the Golden State’s milk is superior.
    At issue is, of course, cost. Film production is pricey in California, and that’s why many movies, TV shows and commercials have fled to far-away locales from New Zealand and Australia to Canada and Portland, Ore.”

    http://www.dailyfinance.com/2009/11/15/its-udderly-silly-californias-happy-cow-ads-will-be-filmed/#

    Jordan Wyatt
    Invercargill Vegan Society
    “all animals are equal”
    http://www.invsoc.org.nz

    Southernmost Vegan Organisation in the world (possibly?) and home to the garbled, ranting comment that overstays its welcome.

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