Disclaimer Summary: I've spent
countless hours scouring resources to present the facts
on these pages. Whether
you choose to believe them or not is up to you...
Veganism is linked to every area of our lives, whether
or not one is a vegan. It's surprising to the majority
of people because of the wealth of misinformation that
exists, and an equal amount of misplaced trust. It's
hard to make unbiased decisions when you aren't aware
of the connections between the industries and companies
you support. We tend to trust corporations until something
goes wrong, and even then it seems more important to
prove undeniable guilt rather than acknowledge we might
have actually been lied to.
I have made my decisions on whom to trust based on personal
research, analyzation, common sense, and gut feelings.
While it's impossible to offer a 100% guaranteed black
and white list of who is telling us facts and who is
telling us self-serving convoluted half-truths, I can
offer a starting point from which to do
your own research and make your own decisions.
Perhaps the most convincing point for me was discovering "front
groups", which are created by the Public Relations
departments of large corporations. These are groups of "experts" who
are given responsible names, like The American Council
on Science and Health, and through funding from said
corporations find the "right" information to
disseminate to the public. They also find the "wrong" information
and try to debunk it. For example, American Council on
Science and Health, defends petrochemical companies,
the nutritional value of fast foods, and pesticides.
What you're not told is that The American Council on
Science and Health is funded by Burger King, Coca-Cola,
NutraSweet, Monsanto, Dow, and Exxon, among others.
Front groups are staunch defenders of the "rights" of
Americans, such as the right to smoke (The National Smokers
Alliance); the right to pay more for less health care
(the Coalition for Health Insurance Choices); the right
to choose large, fuel-inefficient cars (the Coalition
for Vehicle Choice); and the right to dismantle ecosystems
for profit (the Wise Use Movement). Front groups portray
themselves as champions of free enterprise -- strongholds
of fairness and common sense an image that helps
their PR products get circulated in influential circles.1 Corporate-funded
scientists have one goal, and it isn't your safety.
The next time you see a Got Milk? ad, ask yourself why
huge, multi-billion-dollar companies who profit from
the sale of dairy products and calcium supplements think
you need more calcium.2 Then see
what studies (not funded by the meat and dairy industries)
have to say about dairy and the increase of
osteoporosis.The same can be said for the California
Milk Advisory Board and their conscience-soothing "Happy
Cows" campaign. These corporations not only
survive, but prosper due to misinformed consumers. Whether
we accept these claims based upon tradition, our lack
of personal research, indifference, or hearsay we
are still accepting lies.
I get most of my information from reading. Books like Affluenza and Diet
for a New America provide some shocking examples
of how Americans are blatantly lied to in order to
ensure that it's business as usual for corporations
that sell dangerous products. Perhaps the saddest
misconception is that safety and well-being are important
enough that government and corporations would place
these above profits. Nope. As a consumer you
are only as important to a company as how many dollars
you spend on their products, and you can not trust
claims of safety from the company producing the product.
Take the time to do your own safety research. Find
out where the dietary recommendations are coming from,
and who they're financed by. Be ready to feel like
a sucker when you find out that the majority of "nutritional
information" in public schools (the ones that
demand large amounts of daily meat and dairy intake)
are provided by none other than the meat and dairy
industries. Amazingly, our tax dollars subsidize animal agriculture, buying surplus meat and dairy, paying their water bills, and giving out free grazing land. Our thanks is heavily discounted meat and dairy that is sold in public school cafeterias, enforcing the "nutritional" messages students hear in classes.
Another example happened in the 1920s when leaded gasoline
(ethyl) was promoted. The mission was to boost both automobile
performance and the profits of General Motors, DuPont
and Standard Oil. These allies soothed and massaged the
American public's justified fear of leaded gasoline by
performing health effects research in-house, with
precedent-setting approval from the federal government.
Word from the corporate labs was, "no problem" even
as factory workers making ethyl were dying by the dozen.3
There's no way to say it without the
possibility of sounding fanatical. We're being lied to
every day for
the simple pursuit of money. I don't trust much of what
I read or hear unless it's from sources I feel are reliable.
While the vegan-related things I fight against (most
obviously the meat and dairy industries) have millions
of dollars in funding to unethically prop up their products/positions,
the things that I believe in (namely, a plant-based diet)
do not have such wealthy proponents. There are no front
groups for soybean farmers, no purchased scientific studies
to support the benefits of vegetables. This is why I
find is easier to believe facts obtained from vegan-specific
organizations than those from mainstream corporations
and even governmental bodies. I
don't believe the opinions of vegan organizations can
be bought (or
that there is anyone to buy them), but the opposite has
been proven of non-vegan corporations. Always,
always, always try to find out where the money flow is
coming from. That's where the
truth will be buried.
In the end, everyone has to choose what seems most plausible
to them. Most of us will never work directly with the
groups that dole out product information, so it's up
to us to do our own research and then trust our gut.
I can't count the number of "arguments" I have
heard against veganism all wrapped up in the one belief
that our information is not accurate. When asked
to cite the source of this belief I have never heard
a reply. It's usually in the form of "of course
milk is good for you", which is the mind set that
watching a Got Milk? ad counts as research. How depressing.
So. Everything I have written I believe to be 100% true.
If I have not found documentation of a fact then I won't
post it. I urge you not just to take my word for it,
but to do some exploration and verify
anything that disturbs or confuses you. I also urge you
to challenge your conceptions of who to trust
and who might be abusing your trust for profit or other
gain. Find out if the information you are receiving
is the product of a hidden agenda, or genuine facts.
It is my sincere belief that this method of responsible
consumerism (coupled with conscience, of course) would
lead to a global vegan lifestyle. I hope you enjoy reading
my articles, and more importantly, discover a satisfaction
in learning what effects your habits have on yourself,
others, and the planet.
1 & 3. Revised quotations
from the book Affluenza.
2. Revised quotation from this