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In addition to subsidies, the animal industry receives various other government handouts which contribute to the deceptively low prices of animal products. These extra “sweeteners” are in the form of extremely low costs for grazing animals on public land, and the purchase of surplus animal products for government activities such as the National School Lunch Program.

Given these huge economic gravy trains enticing Big Food to push animal products as relentlessly as Big Tobacco used to push cigarettes, it is no wonder they do so with such zeal. These powerful special interests are unlikely to be attracted to the strong market potential for environmentally-sustainable, healthy, and ethical vegan food. Indeed, we can expect them to use every trick in the book to thwart efforts to move consumers in such a direction.

A large proportion of animal advocacy hours are currently dedicated to targeting the animal industry and the government with demands for greater social responsibility and tougher legislation. However, not only is it obvious that this approach is heavily flawed when examined according to the principles of demand and supply, but when you remember that Big Food – along with Big Oil and other huge corporate interests – control the government itself (including tax and subsidy policy makers), it becomes clear that we cannot influence such a powerful and heavily entrenched industry on any large scale – either directly or through government policy.

But again, there is one way in which we do have power over them. If we target our advocacy toward the consumers of animal products, by helping people to understand how and why to become vegan, we can actually help to shift demand toward vegan products and away from animal products and the extreme misery that they cause.


Angel Flinn is Director of Outreach for Gentle World – a vegan intentional community and non-profit organization whose core purpose is to help build a more peaceful society, by educating the public about the reasons for being vegan, the benefits of vegan living, and how to go about making such a transition.

Dan Cudahy is author of Unpopular Vegan Essays: Unpopular Essays Concerning Popular Violence Inflicted On The Innocent.

Image: savit keawtavee /

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some of the best people we know are doing it


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7:33PM PDT on Oct 22, 2011

We must all admit that by doing nothing, by keeping quiet we contribute to the cruel treatment of animals.

8:27AM PDT on Oct 20, 2011


1:41AM PDT on Oct 20, 2011

Of COURSE there are, Bill K. You said, "it's funny how people point to some unhealthy vegans as somehow proof that a vegan diet doesn't work. are there no unhealthy meat eaters?".........examples of very unhealthy vegans and those who tried such a lifestyle and it ended up with severe issues have been provided to refute remarks made by vegans that such a lifestyle is BETTER than any other way, which is UNHEALTHY because "blah, blah".

Being either vegan or NOT can result in being unhealthy if the diet is not balanced and does not contain all the necessary nutrients the body needs. Some people need different nutrients, others can't digest things are have allergies. There are as many variables as there are people.

1:20PM PDT on Oct 19, 2011

Thanks for this article It leaves much to think about

7:17AM PDT on Oct 19, 2011

meat is animal abuse (and human abuse and environment abuse). ethical omnivore is an oxymoron.

it's funny how people point to some unhealthy vegans as somehow proof that a vegan diet doesn't work. are there no unhealthy meat eaters?

11:29AM PDT on Oct 18, 2011

Thank you for the article.

11:08AM PDT on Oct 18, 2011

I wish we would get off of meat in this country. We treat these creatures so badly. We treat them like canned goods, instead of living beings. Go Vegetarian! Its better for you and its better for the environment.

10:20PM PDT on Oct 17, 2011

Thank you Diane!

I am posting this link (again? was it another thread? can't remember) of a devout vegan who not only got ill following a "nutritionally balanced" vegan diet, but when surveyed all of her friends and acquaintances, found they all supplemented their vegan diets on the sly with animal products - because their bodies were in need of the nutrients:

8:20PM PDT on Oct 17, 2011

Again, well said, Lilithe! Maybe more people haven't "come out of the woodwork" for a few reasons........#1, they don't waste time in sites such as Care.2, #2, they don't think it's important enough to SHOUT to the world about their choices, or #3, they're a bit hesitant to explain for fear of being attacked and bashed by the militant vegans who criticize them as James is doing and being called names and an attempt of a guilt-trip being laid on them. So, they keep what they've gone thru to themselves.

8:15PM PDT on Oct 17, 2011

James, I am thrilled to hear one of your kids did a report on factory farming and how that information has now been shared with the rest of the kids. Great work!

I do hope you are being balanced in your teaching, however, that the alternatives are not just veganism, but responsible animal food shopping if one chooses meat - getting in touch with your local community of farmers, asking questions of those who raise animal foods, making informed choices.

I honor a person's desire to go vegan (even though I personally think they will HAVE to switch to eating some animal products at a future date - I believe it an unsustainable diet for the human body - but you know how I feel about that already) , but I also hope that one such as yourself who is helping to mold the impressionable minds of these kids, gives them as full of a picture as possible, and not imposing your own agenda onto them. Guilt trips about food are EXTREMELY unhealthy for a young mind and a young body.

I will NEVER be a part of your vegan world. Been there, done that, made me sick, makes thousand of others sick (who are fessing up and coming out of the woodwork right now) and is truly a nice idea that is unrealistic. Perhaps your body will be one of the ones to evolve this way. Who knows - it's a magical Universe...

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