|Enewsletter • June 12, 2002|
Starting on May 27th, 2002, COK's first TV ad has appeared on D.C.'s CBS affiliate (channel 9) between 5:45 and 6:00 p.m. The ad ran each weeknight for two weeks.
This may be the first time in the United States that an explicitly pro-vegan ad showing factory-farmed animals has appeared on a major network during such a high-viewership time slot.
"Scum and foam were piled so high on the surface of streams and ponds in the rural Illinois area neighboring the Inwood Dairy that it looked like snow. According to Karen Hudson, a local family farmer and activist with FARM (Families Against Rural Messes), "The air pollution was so severe the neighbors were forced to tear their carpet out, and burn candles to keep the stench at bay–at night they had to spray perfume in their bedrooms.... The odor was not merely a manure odor," Hudson added. "It had a septic and the decaying smell of a dead body. It could be smelled several miles away–I know because I live 4.5 miles from it. That is why we renamed our state from Illinois, Land of Lincoln, to Illinois, Land of Stinkin'."
The Relationship between Consumption of Animal Products and Risk of Chronic Diseases: A Critical Review
From the Summary:
"The effects of animal products on risk of chronic diseases are an area of considerable controversy. ... [I]international correlations between per capita food consumption and disease rates are seriously confounded by other lifestyle factors associated with economic affluence. ... One of the most comprehensive correlational studies conducted within a country is the China-Oxford-Cornell study.... These correlations, although informative and valuable in many ways, cannot be used to establish causal relationships between dietary factors and disease risk. The limitations of geographical correlations were precisely stated by Drs Doll and Peto:
"Indeed, some of the correlations produced from the China-Oxford-Cornell study are peculiar and probably incorrect. For example, esophageal cancer had no clear association with smoking, and had a negative correlation with daily alcohol intake. These results are clearly contradictory to the well-established findings from studies of individuals that both smoking and alcohol use are strong risk factors for esophageal cancer. In addition, the study did not find a clear association between meat consumption and risk of heart disease or major cancers."
"As many as several hundred family farm protestors, who were in the Washington, D.C. for a national activist group's national convention, temporarily commandeered the offices of the American Meat Institute in Arlington, Va., to protest the trade group's alleged support of corporate factory farms that are "monopolizing the meat industry."
"The activists, led by members of group National People's Action, charged that AMI was a target because the trade group led the fight against a farm bill amendment to that would have banned packer ownership or control of livestock. Additionally, the protestors carried signs objecting to environmental pollution related to confined animal feeding operations, which are currently being targeted for regulation by the Environmental Protection Agency."
More insight from The Onion.
I am familiar with some of the arguments against Taco Bell, just as I am familiar with the arguments against the BK Veggie. I know of many (but not nearly all) of the other various boycotts as well. There is no hard and fast rule at Vegan Outreach to explain why we endorse Taco Bell, except that we believe that reducing the exploitation of animals is our first priority.
This may seem hypocritical or inconsistent (i.e., "Mustn't we do everything we can for a better world?"), but there are people who have arguments / boycotts against basically everything (I've heard some regarding entirely vegan companies). It would be fine if we were close to a socialist, small-company world, but we're not. A prominent activist once claimed that animal liberation cannot occur until capitalism is overthrown. If that is the case, there would be no hope for the animals.
Ignoring the issue of 'multinationals / free trade / exploitation,' given our current society, veganism won't advance without it being convenient. This will mean vegan options are widespread, and, almost by definition, this means the production of vegan items will be embraced by multinationals.
[Update, November 8, 2004: Jon Camp adds:
Vegan Outreach's main goal is to reduce suffering.
It is our opinion that today's animal agribusiness
is responsible for a quantity and intensity of suffering
that is virtually impossible to parallel. We think
the best way to reduce this suffering is by encouraging
more and more individuals to eat vegan fare. The more
vegan options that are available, the easier veganism
will seem to many. Moreover, the more individuals
eating vegan fare, the less that animals will suffer
on factory farms.
There are many horrible injustices being perpetrated against humans in the world today. However, I would contend that only a few of them warrant being compared to the exploitation of farmed animals. Ignoring the scale (tens of billions a year), there is absolutely no choice in the matter for those exploited, such explicit and inherent violence, widespread sadism, and, ultimately, slaughter.
Perhaps the biggest difference between human and non-human exploitation today is that so few people care even the slightest bit for the animals' plight. For this reason, I think it is an overarching strategic good for groups dedicated first and foremost to the animals' interest.
Another "strategic" argument is often made that we should be building bridges to others of supposedly "like minds," such as those concerned with human rights issues. This argument has been made for years and pursued by many, if not most, animal advocates. This can seem obvious, because many of the activists in our movement do care about the other issues. However, in terms of being an ally or even a receptive audience, other "progressive" movements have not proven to be fertile grounds for concern about the suffering of animals (e.g., the conclusion of "E! Magazine's" stories on vegetarianism was that we should drop our divisive and controversial (!) focus on the animals, and instead focus on (human) health and (human) environmental arguments, as though no group has tried this approach).
This historic unwillingness to look beyond their species, combined with their small numbers, inclines me not to tailor our literature to these groups at the cost of undermining the case for veganism (e.g., convenience). I hope that people who read Why Vegan will eat fewer animals, eventually go vegan, and read more about other progressive causes. Personally, I also hope that they adopt my views on other topics as well. But the most important message remains that of animal suffering, which is so overwhelmingly vast, so absurd in its cause, and so simple, relatively speaking, to end.