FOR SALE: Horse Urine $1,000,000,000/year Potential Income. Premarin Cures Crankiness!

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Every so often I find out about something that is so outrageous and disgusting, I have to stop everything I’m doing to blog about it. The use of beaver anal sac excretions in my morning cereal was one of these things and the added carrageenan in my almond milk was another, but these dull by comparison to what I found out about the drug Premarin.

I get it, menopause is probably uncomfortable for women and makes them cranky and unable to sleep at night but any amount of discomfort cannot compare to the practice of impregnating horses, limiting their water intake and movement, collecting their urine for use in the drug, and then killing their offspring. Or, in some cases, the “lucky” ones get to live so they can lead the same enslaved life as their mother.

If you are currently taking Premarin, please stop reading this blog post. You are not welcome here.

Any form of animal abuse is bad and I am oftentimes criticized for singling out what abuse I think is “worse” than other abuse (the fact that it is legal to eat your own cat or dog in 43 U.S. states disgusts me but, technically, it is no worse than the millions and millions of animals mistreated and killed for food around the world). What gets me about Permarin, is that there are options that do not involve animal secretions or animal testing and, in fact, there are options that involve changing your diet.

In fact, nearly all symptoms of menopause can be controlled by going vegan. A high intake of phytoestrogens is thought to explain why hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms rarely occur in populations consuming a predominantly plant-based diet. Increased intake of phytoestrogens by consuming more: soy milk, linseed, tofu, tempeh and miso, pumpkins seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, celery, rhubarb and green beans will help with menopause.

I know, I know … going vegan is drastic whereas having someone else rape and enslave a beautiful mare to collect her urine while she is pregnant and, subsequently, killing her useless offspring isn’t.

I’ve said it once before and I will say it again: Pfuck Pfizer.

Go vegan.

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What’s Your Favorite Vegan Blog? This One, Of Course! Let @VegNews Know!

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It’s that time again! When VegNews Magazine wants you to vote! What’s your favorite Fancy Vegan Restaurant? What’s your Favorite Vegan Ice Cream? What’s your Favorite Vegan Hair Care Product? And … most importantly … what’s your Favorite Vegan Blog?

While I am a big fan of the 12 blogs listed at the survey link below, it seems VegNews inadvertently left out MeatyVegan.com. This happened last year, as well. Probably an innocent oversight on their part. But fear not, MeatyVegan faithful! They do have an option for “other” at the very bottom. Now, while I would prefer one day to not be considered an “other,” this is an excellent opportunity to write in MeatyVegan.com.

Why vote MeatyVegan? Well … remember these incredibly popular blog posts?

Yep. This is why you need to vote for this blog. This and 300 more blog posts of equal or higher quality. Where else can you learn about growavaginitis?

Click here today and make me the happiest blogger ever. Do something un-vegan and “upset the apple cart!”

Go vegan.

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More Evidence that Animals Are Not Food

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We have a little vegan boy smashing his way around our apartment. At 17-months, he can pretty much pick up any piece of furniture and toss it across the room. He runs into things full-speed and eats an entire tray of food by the fistful. He is 100% vegan.

We are expecting another vegan baby at the end of next month so, hopefully, that will give Little Hulk enough of a distraction that he’ll settle down. Meanwhile, the only thing he sits still for (besides food), is a good book.

Recently, friends of ours (one of which has a vegan blog here), gave us a copy of Lois Ehltert’s wonderful board book, “Eating the Alphabet.” Lois Ehlert’s Caldecott-winning children’s books are alive with vibrant colors and her collages are just beautiful. Hailing from Wisconsin, so many of her books are a natural part of every infant’s library that they traditionally share a shelf with Eric Carle’s “Very Hungry Caterpillar.” The big, noticeable difference between Carle’s gastronomic tome and Lois’ “Eating the Alphabet” is that one book is vegan and the other … well, sorry caterpillar fans, is not.

As vegan parents, we are always prepared to replace un-vegan passages with vegan phrases: “This Little Piggy went to market … this Little Piggy stayed home … this Little Piggy had kale salad …” You get the idea.

The interesting thing about “Eating the Alphabet” that I think is worth pointing out is that it doesn’t have to be edited. Lois Ehlert takes us from A to Z without once stopping at “C’ is for chicken, or “P” is for pork, or “W” for water buffalo. And to be even more specific, the author didn’t use cheese or eggs (which also shouldn’t be consumed).

To some, this might be overlooked but to me there is a very powerful message in this book that resonates with me every time I read it: animals are not food.

They aren’t.

There is no valid reason or argument to eat animals and anyone who continues to do so, is not clearly not making the connection. Animals are our friends and we don’t eat our friends. At least I don’t.

Go vegan.

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Questions About Being Vegan? Here Are the Answers.

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If you’re like me, you’re frequently on Facebook. And, if you’re like me, you have joined the various Facebook groups dedicated to being vegan. And, if you’re like me, you’ve grown very tired of the same questions being asked over and over and over again.

So, as a public service, I have written this blog post to answer all of these questions in one convenient place.

The following are actual questions that have been posted multiple times across Facebook … again, these are real questions … I can’t make this stuff up. I take that back. I could make this stuff up … that’s what I normally do but in this case, these questions are real.

  1. Are bananas vegan? Somewhere someone was told that bananas may be sprayed with a spray derived from shrimp and crab shells that allows bananas to stay fresh for a longer period of time. Unfortunately, this could be the case with some non-organic bananas. You may want to avoid these. But, the banana itself is vegan.
  2. Can I raise my dog vegan? Yes. Our dog is vegan. The oldest dog in the world was vegan. Dogs thrive on a vegan diet just as humans do. It’s good for them. Cats, on the other hand, are hunters/carnivores and require meat to stay healthy (and, more importantly, happy).
  3. Is breast milk vegan? Yes. Breast milk (which is usually reserved for babies, by the way) is vegan. Same species, with consent. Same is true for swallowing semen. Vegan. Same species, with consent. If you consume either of these without consent, we may have to notify the authorities.
  4. My neighbor has happy hens can I eat the eggs? If you want, sure. But, you’re not vegan then. Even if a hen walked into your living, on its own volition and laid an egg and then got in a car and drove itself to a farm sanctuary to live out its life and you decided to eat that egg … you’re not vegan. Vegans don’t consume meat, eggs, dairy, or honey.
  5. Are Oreo’s vegan? Yes. So are most potato chips, Sour Patch Kids, and some PopTarts. There is so much vegan junk food out there that I bet you could trick an omnivore into becoming vegan just by feeding them junk food alone (can someone say “French fries!”). Remember this song? Love it!
  6. Someone told me that plants feel pain, is this true? No. Plants have no central nervous system. Look at it this way, would you take your kids strawberry picking or to the local slaughterhouse. There. Is. No. Comparison. Lettuce doesn’t scream.
  7. Can kids be raised vegan? Yes, just don’t feed them meat, eggs, dairy, or honey and guess what? They’re vegan … and they are going to thrive! It’s the healthiest way to live.
  8. What about soy? Is it safe to eat? Yes. You can safely consume up to five servings a day. Soy is loaded with protein which is why the meat industry is trying its hardest to make everyone fear soy. In its organic/non-GMS state … it’s good for you and delicious. If you’re a man and you eat too much, you might grow get growavaginaitis (see here).
  9. Do I need to take supplements when I am vegan? B12 for sure. A vegan multi-vitamin is helpful, too. Other than that, you will be more than healthy enough eating whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and vegan junk food.
  10. Since becoming vegan six months ago, I seem to be tired all the time. What should I do? Sleep more.
  11. I find myself having cravings for meat, what should I do? Eat meat. Or not. Sounds like maybe you’re not ready to go vegan. Maybe you’ve been lured by the promise of a healthy diet and that’s true but there is no such thing as a vegan who craves meat. They don’t exist.

Eat more veggies. Take your time. Replace items one-by-one (many experts will tell you to start with dairy, by the way … it’s pretty much the worst thing on the planet for you and there is more rape, torture and death in one glass of milk than there is in a steak).

I’d like to add that we do want as many new vegans to come over as possible. Give it a try. Ask as many questions as you need to if it helps maintain a cruelty-free lifestyle. Becoming vegan takes effort and commitment and becoming an ethical vegan takes even more time. But it’s worth it. For you. The planet. And, the animals.

With this said, when any of these questions are asked (and they will be asked), simply supply the asker with the following link ( http://wp.me/p3EQ27-14N  ) which will go directly to this handy vegan answer guide.

Go vegan.

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Stranded New Zealand Couple Find Themselves in Life-threatening Vegan Dilemma

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[TIMARU, NEW ZEALAND] In a real life case of “fiction becoming reality,” a vegan New Zealand couple find themselves aground on a uninhabited island faced with the age-old, vegan question, “if you were stranded on a deserted island, would you eat meat?” George and Margaret Taylor, of Timaru, New Zealand, were coastal sailing along the Antipodes Island chain when the mast on their 42-foot Beneteau Sense 43 became detached, leaving the couple adrift in the Pacific Ocean.

“The complications occurred while tacking,” Mr. Taylor commenting during a phone interview. “Maggie was in the galley cooking up ‘er vegetable hangi when the mast let loose. I was like “bugulugs!” this can’t be good. The next thing I knew we was adrift.”

The Antipodes Islands are notorious for sweeping up ships that have lost steerage and have claimed the lives of many stranded explorers. The Taylors found themselves awash the shore along the eastern edge of the largest of the six desolate islands with very little left of their own food supply. “We had some veggies and fruit, ya’ know, ‘vegan’ food,” said Mrs. Taylor. “but, with our boat all puckarooed, we knew we wouldn’t survive very long.”

The Taylors fashioned a small lean-to on the lee side of the island and watched for any passing boats or planes to spot the massive sails they laid along the beach. Days became weeks and the couple found themselves in the old-story “vegan” situation of having to forage for their food, specifically protein, on a deserted island — not to mention finding fresh water, which omnivores forget to mention when they pose this ridiculous scenario. While there was plenty of plant-life on the archipelago to sustain the wild goats, small rodents, fowl, and fish the couple struggled with the concept of having to indulge in animal flesh to survive.

“We would stare at each other for long hours as we dined on limitless vegetation, wondering who might make the first move — us, or the goats,” Mr. Taylor added from his seaside home in Timaru. “Our omnivore friends for years annoyed us with the quandry if we would eat meat to survive on a deserted island and there we were … asking ourselves the very same question. Luckily, by rationing our own food and water supply, along with the island’s vegetation, we were able to stay alive for 16-days until the New Zealand Island Authority (NZIA) rescued us. I don’t know if we would have made it one more day. I actually thought twice about throwing a lobster on the barbie. If only we’d brought butter.”

Mrs. Taylor added, “As far as the question goes, I guess we’ll never know the answer.”

Thousands of sailors, some as recently as 1999, have died on these remote islands and the NZIA speculate the majority of them must have been vegan.

Go Vegan.

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Meat’s Better Dead

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If you have to eat meat and, face it, it seems like some of us need meat to survive, you should always check for the “100% Dead Animal” seal on every package. Your family deserves this and, this way, you’ll be sure that you “don’t let that meal get away.”

Forget “grass-fed, or “free-range” or even “humanely-killed,” what’s most important when planning your dinner is making sure you are cooking 100% dead animal. Don’t settle for anything less …

Go vegan.

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Turn Your Head and Cough; or, Let’s Get Physical

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Blog originally posted on HappyCow.net.

Last week I had a physical. Since becoming vegan over two years ago, I actually look forward to physicals. At my age, for the record I am half-expired, doctors start to salivate over the notion of prescribing some sort of medication to keep people alive. It’s also that time of life when they are making their Viagra quota and are very disappointed when I let them know I’m not interested (in the drug, that is).

My first visit after going vegan the doctor was surprised to find that I had lost twenty pounds and that my cholesterol was lowered and that my blood pressure was perfect. It was as if they were examining a new patient as opposed to someone who was creeping up to “over the hill” status.

I’ll never forget how she looked at me, over her glasses, after reading the numbers, as if I had somehow cheated on the blood test or tricked the blood pressure gauge.

Friends of mine who are the same age are all fattening up and swallowing down whatever pills they need in order to continue with their current lifestyle. I was actually shocked a while back when a close friend of mine told me his doctor had prescribed him a pill that he could take every day that would keep his arteries clear enough so he could enjoy as much meat and dairy as he liked. He was delighted to know that keeping on this one drug meant he could eat as much butter-drenched steak as he wanted. Not thinking that this could be a much shorter time than he was originally hoping for and not noticing that this drug was brought to his attention only when his own father suffered a stroke.

And, of course, with no mention of going vegan.

I am forever amazed at what doctors will prescribe their patients as opposed to telling them to cut out meat, eggs, and dairy. It’s evident that, to a doctor, an all-expense paid vacation on Pfizer is much more exciting than patient health. But I digress.

Last week’s physical was for a new life insurance policy. Standard in-home visit for blood and urine, weight and measurements, and a three-page questionnaire. In the interest of full-disclosure, my weight has gone up 15 pounds in the past year but I blame that on my wife being pregnant to which I blame on having clear arteries without a $3 pill. The circle of life.

I do eat a lot of vegan “junk food” and should balance it out better with more whole foods and fruits and vegetables but as a gluten-free vegan, I kind of try to give myself leeway; which was reflected that morning on the scale.

But, my blood pressure was perfect and the nurse neatly packed away my samples as she began the series of questions. Health history, family health history, depression, exercise, alcohol consumption, smoking … and … done … that was it. She was done. Done? I reviewed the questions and signed off on my answers and she tucked it all into her backpack and left.

Never once asking me about my diet, or more specifically, if I eat meat.

Now, I know I see things differently as an ethical vegan and I am more sensitive about these issues than most people but it still struck me like a bolt of lightning that she asked about smoking but not about meat. Meat is as bad for you as smoking and eggs are worse than both. When you talk about what might kill you in your prime years, the chances of a heart attack or stroke because of meat-clogged arteries is higher than dying of lung cancer from smoking or liver failure from drinking. Meat is killing this country.

But she never asked.

Of course, she was going through the motions and doing what needed to be done for the insurance company but at that corporate level above her, wouldn’t you think they would ask about meat, eggs, and dairy? Or, at a minimum, ask about amounts of these consumed? Or, even less, ask “how’s your diet?”

After she left I pondered this for a while and realized that for the same reasons doctors want to keep the country on life-extending drugs, it’s the same for a life insurance company. They won’t ask these hard-hitting questions. It is one hand feeding the next. And it’s feeding “the next” meat, eggs, and dairy.

Go vegan.

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The Blog Felt ‘Round the World [#vegan #govegan @wordpress #meatyvegan]

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Yesterday’s blog post, this one here, generated more traffic to The Meaty Vegan than any other blog post before it. In fact, its two-day total generated more views than all the other blog posts I’ve written over the past year combined. And I’ve written almost 300 to date.

All told, and the numbers are still coming in, the post “BREAKING NEWS: Man Dies; Veganism Blamed” has had over 4,000 views and 378 Facebook shares. This number still blows my mind and will probably topple 5,000 by the end of the weekend.

Not sure if you can even SEE the past month on the report above but an “average” blog post generates about 100-200 unique views. Occasionally, like this one featuring The Sexy Vegan, I can get 400-500 views. Even at 500 views, that comes nowhere near 4,000!

What made it so popular?

It had a catchy lead-in teaser and headline that made the reader believe that being vegan somehow contributed to the death of someone who was already old. It also had humor and a very clever photo (if I do say so myself) that felt “real.”

Like all my blog posts, I usually start a draft at night while in bed. I get an idea and type a headline and a few paragraphs and then re-address it the following day; getting in there with a coffee-induced re-write.

I thought this was a pretty strong concept to begin with, so I checked in with the folks over at HappyCow to see if they wanted to publish it first, I waited about ten minutes and went ahead on my own (by the way, you can read my new blog post on HappyCow at this link).

All of my satire pieces, like this one about vegans dying from a lack of protein take place in Oklahoma. I, for some reason, think this might be the most un-vegan state in the union. I find a small town on a map and write it as if it’s news. In this case, I also found this photo of an unassuming home in Oklahoma for my character to live (and die) in.

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As an aside, I’ve gotten numerous emails from people wanting to know if the house is for sale now that “David Nash” has expired. As a matter of fact, this house is on the market and it costs less than $40,000 … but, alas, it’s in Oklahoma. Nice porch, eh?

The other major factor that made this blog post work was that the majority of the readers thought it was real. The lead-in paragraph that shows up in social media was enough for them to draw their own conclusion and then immediately comment. Some of the comments are pretty hilarious, especially after the person who posted it goes back and actually reads the piece. SMH.

Readers from the U.K., Germany, Norway, Israel, Netherlands, and even Finland found this post. I may have to start publishing in other languages.

Can lightning strike twice? We’ll see. Am I incredibly proud of this accomplishment? You bet.

The goal of MeatyVegan.com has been to entertain first and educate second and with 4,000+ new readers of The Meaty Vegan, we know our important message is going out to the masses …

Go vegan.

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BREAKING NEWS: Man Dies; Veganism Blamed

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[BUFFALO CITY, OK] Harper County Police and the Harper County Medical Examiner’s Office are investigating the death of a Buffalo City man this morning.

A 92-year-old Buffalo City resident was found dead in his modest prairie home earlier this week. Local authorities believe his vegan lifestyle may have contributed to his unexpected death. David Nash, retired postal worker for Buffalo City, was discovered deceased in his reclining chair by a neighbor who felt “something was just not right.”

“I considered David a friend, in spite of the fact he only ever brought hummus and veggie burgers to our community cookouts,” said Daryl Leno, a neighbor of Nash’s. “Considering the bizarre diet he was on, I’m pretty sure that’s what killed him. I mean, come on, what is hummus anyway?”

The County medical examiner confirmed upon closer inspection of Nash’s home, they could only find whole foods, beans, rice, fruits, vegetables, and some form of “soy” milk in his refrigerator and pantry.

“There is no way a person can survive on this diet,” said Pablo Rodriguez, Chief Medical Examiner. “Where’s the steaks? The eggs? It’s no wonder he didn’t live to be 94 with this type of lifestyle. It’s just unhealthy.”

In related “unhealthy” news, a popular food blogger and Instagram sensation known previously as The Blonde Vegan, made national headlines when she admitted that trying to stay alive consuming only food that is good for you, foods found in a vegan diet, and avoiding meat, dairy, and eggs, nearly killed her.

Jordan, a yoga junkie, passionate writer, fitness freak, smoothie addict, dream chaser, cleanse creator, founder of TBV Apparel, wannabe food photographer & lover of all things health related has since converted back to an omnivore’s diet and already feels healthier and reports that her period, which had stalled during her 18-months vegan, has returned. This medical oddity also proves that vegans cannot reproduce and if the planet went 100% vegan, human life would cease to exist.

“If I could say just one thing to Mr. Nash in the great beyond, it would be ‘bacon’,” Rodriguez added, while biting into a double cheeseburger over Nash’s corpse during his planned autopsy. “If only someone had told this old man that humans require meat and meat protein and eggs and milk and bacon … to live, he’d still be with us today.”

Go vegan.

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Animal Concerns Texas (ACT) Radio Interview: ThankTank Creative

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Last night my interview with Animal Concerns Texas (ACT) Radio aired and I cannot say enough nice things about Greg, Liz and Tom and this NPR program. Everyone from the radio hosts to the producers was great to work with and I am thankful they are doing what they are doing in the great state of Texas.

If you’ve ever wondered what the Meaty Vegan sounds like … here is your chance.

Listen here.

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70% of Human Diseases Linked to Animal Agriculture

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A report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) links 70% of human diseases to animal agriculture.

The “World Agriculture – Changing Disease Landscapes” report published in December 2013 explains how population growth, agricultural expansion, and the rise of globe-spanning food supply chains have dramatically altered how diseases emerge, jump species boundaries, and spread.

The report says seventy percent of the new diseases that have emerged in humans over recent decades are of animal origin and, in part, directly related to the human quest for more animal-sourced food.

Its goes on to explain how developing countries face a staggering burden of human, zoonotic and livestock diseases creating a major impediment to development and food safety. Recurrent epidemics in livestock affect food security, livelihoods, and national and local economies in poor and rich countries alike.

In the push to produce more food, humans have carved out vast swaths of…

View original 183 more words

ThankTank Creative is to Blame!

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I haven’t blogged in quite a while. When I first started MeatyVegan.com, I was blogging every day. Every. Single. Day. Then it went to once a week. I could manage once a week. Then I started my own vegan consulting firm, and now the meaty is on the back burner.

ThankTank Creative, a consulting, design, and marketing firm for socially-just, environmentally-conscious, and vegan businesses was launched on June 4 and its been a whirlwind ever since. Starting any company is a risk but starting a company like ThankTank, so focused on working exclusively with like-minded businesses, is an even greater risk. In this instance, it is a risk that has paid off.

The first call we received was from a woman in Sacramento and she started the conversation by saying, “thank you for being ethical vegans.” From that moment on, each of the businesses looking to expand, create, define, and design has had the same attitude. It’s as if they were waiting for a marketing firm that was run by vegans their entire life. We can end every conversation and email with “thank you for all you do for the animals.”

Without the other person saying: “bacon.”

And thank you to all our premier clients for supporting our business and being there as we rolled out over the past month. Know that we are busily working on your projects all day and appreciate your trust in us.

In addition to the range of services offered by ThankTank, we are also so incredibly proud of our GiveBack8 program where we donate 8% or every project to a vegan not-for-profit and our line up is very impressive. Organizations like:  Catskill Animal Sanctuary, New York Coalition for Healthy School Food, NutritionFacts.org, Our Hen House, Sistah Vegan Project, Tompkins County SPCA, and A Well Fed World are all recipient organizations and we will keep adding to this list as inquiries come in.

So, to my MeatyVegan faithful, I say THANK YOU. Thank you for following, sharing, commenting and becoming a part of my vegan journey and I hope you all tag along as ThankTank rolls out.

And, I promise you … I will blog more often!

Go vegan.

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Does “Humane Meat” Bring People Closer to Veganism?

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Debunking the claim that “humane meat” is a positive step toward veganism, my good friend and fellow vegan, Sherry F. Colb author of Mind if I Order the Cheeseburger, posted this essay on Dorf On Law today and encouraged me to share it. I encourage you to share it as well.

The Fallacy of the Claim That “Research” Shows That “Humane Meat” Brings People Closer to Veganism by Sherry F. Colb

Over the last few months, I have repeatedly heard a peculiar claim articulated by a variety of vegan advocates on different vegan outlets. The claim is this: Even though it might seem that people consuming so-called “humane” animal products poses an obstacle to the movement for veganism, “research” shows that the opposite is true. “Research” shows that when people decide to purchase “humane” animal products, this choice increases the odds that those same people will eventually decide to become vegan. When I first heard this claim, I was intrigued. Could it be that animal farmers encouraging people to purchase their “local, sustainable, and [allegedly] humane” animal products were actually helping the vegan cause?

The answer is that the research on which people have based this conclusion gives us no reason to imagine that “humane” animal products bring people closer to veganism. My own conclusion, based on a combination of logic, experience, and my own anecdotal observations, leads me to believe that in fact, the opposite is true, that encouraging people to consume so-called “humane” animal products poses a major obstacle to the continuing spread of veganism. But quite apart from what I think, the research that supposedly supports the utility of encouraging the consumption of “humane” animal products in moving people closer to veganism does no such thing.

How can I say this? Well, let us consider what the research actually shows and why the conclusions people have drawn from that research do not at all follow from it. Here’s the supposedly revolutionary finding: It turns out that people who purchase animal products labeled “humane” (or “compassionate” or some other equally misleading adjective) may be more likely eventually to become vegetarian or vegan than are people who do not purchase these products. That is, there is a correlation between people buying animal-derived products labeled “humane” at point 1 in time, and people reducing or ending their consumption of animal-derived products at point 2 in time.

As everyone knows, a correlation does not necessarily indicate causation. But the problem with drawing the inference that vegan advocates have been drawing from the above finding goes well beyond the “post hoc ergo propter hoc” fallacy. Enter “selection bias.” Selection bias is the reality that people will often self-select to engage in an activity at time 1 and whatever motivated that self-selection can also fully account for the same people’s choice to engage in another activity at time 2.

Consider the following observational study. I observe that one group of people spends a lot more money at the grocery store on luxury items such as truffle oil and saffron than other people do. I decide to keep an eye on these people, because I want to know what the impact of all of this supermarket-spending might be. Eight months later, I observe that this same group of people is embarking on much more exotic and expensive vacations in places much farther away from home than other people who did not spend as much money at the supermarket as this group did. I conclude from these observations that buying expensive food at the supermarket helps enable people to be able to go on exotic and expensive vacations eight months later. Wanting to go on such a vacation myself, I immediately begin to spend a lot more money on groceries.

This hypothetical example helps illustrate selection bias. The act of spending a lot of money at the supermarket did not help to make an expensive vacation possible. If anything, this act would appear to hinder one’s ability to take an expensive vacation, all things being equal, by depleting one’s bank account. However, the people who choose to spend a lot of money at the supermarket are often doing so because they have a lot of money. Their having a lot of money has caused them to feel free to spend a lot on groceries. Then, eight months later, because they started with a lot of money, more than other people have, they also had enough money to pay for an expensive vacation that the rest of the population cannot afford. If I were to take my observations as evidence that spending a lot on groceries enables one to take an expensive vacation, however, then I would probably end up undermining my own goal, and I would be doing so because I ignored selection bias.

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A very similar dynamic seems likely to be in play when we observe that the people who purchase “humane” animal products at Time 1 are more likely than people generally to be purchasing only vegan products at Time 2. Buying supposedly “humane” animal flesh and secretions is something that many people do when they are driven to try to act more mercifully and ethically toward their fellow sentient beings. Years ago, before I became vegan, I tried to buy containers of cows’ milk (or what would more accurately be called the “lacteal secretions produced by a mother for her baby calf”) that said “grass fed” and “organic” on them, because I thought (erroneously, as it turned out) that this meant that the cows from whom the milk was taken (a) did not encounter human violence and cruelty during their lives and/or (b) were allowed to live out their lives in peace, eating grass, never having to be slaughtered. Eventually, I learned that my beliefs were nonsense (nonsense amply cultivated by those who sell animal products), and I made the decision to become vegan. It is hardly the case, however, that consuming (mis)-labeled animal products helped move me closer to veganism; if anything, it slowed me down by falsely assuring me that I was already “doing right by the animals” by avoiding “factory-farmed” products.

If you think about it, it is not at all surprising that people who feel moved to act ethically and mercifully toward animals will make up a disproportionate share of the people buying supposedly “ethical” animal products and a disproportionate share of the people becoming vegan. A third variable — consciousness about one’s obligation to refrain from inflicting unnecessary suffering on other beings — can fully account for people’s desire to do both things. Similarly, if you observe someone buying a vegan frozen pizza, such as Tofurky, at Time 1, you may be more likely than otherwise to observe that same person adopting a dog from a shelter (rather than purchasing a dog from a breeder) at Time 2. Yet no one would claim that eating a slice vegan pizza causes a person to adopt a dog from a shelter.

Ordinarily, it might seem harmless when people assume that performing act 1 causes a person to perform act 2, just because we observe that the same people who perform act 1 later perform act 2. But if the goal of citing this research about “humane” animal products is to alter the way that people conduct their advocacy, then it is anything but harmless. If someone tells me that he buys all of his flesh from a “humane” butcher and all of his lacteal secretions from a “humane” dairy farmer, this tells me that he is the sort of person who cares about animal suffering and wants to do what he can to reduce it. He has, however, been misled into thinking that what he is purchasing is the product of merciful treatment towards animals, when it in fact involves tremendous cruelty and harm to animals, and he is also (from a logical standpoint) less likely to become vegan than he was before, because he has managed to mollify his conscience by purchasing the “humane” product. Indeed, that is presumably why suppliers create the “humane” product in the first place — to keep animal consumers consuming animal products and to distract them from the actual humane alternative, vegan products. The purveyors of “humane” products could hardly be expected to label their products “humane” if they believed that such labeling would lead people closer to veganism.

I know that there are many people who are far more interested in the phenomenon of selection bias than I am and who have much more to say on the subject. I have nonetheless decided to write this post about selection bias, because I have felt an increasing amount of frustration upon hearing this claim about the counter-intuitive results of “research” that should be altering the way animal advocates engage with the public. The research may tell us that the people who consume humane animal products are, all things being equal, more likely to become vegan than the general population. But this plainly does not mean that consuming “humane” animal products moves people closer to veganism. And if you are hoping to take an expensive, exotic vacation, I would strongly recommend against spending large amounts of cash at the supermarket between now and your vacation time. You’re welcome.

Go vegan.

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PAINTINGS: “Human Evolution 1 and 2″ by Al Jackson.