In this episode, I speak with David Simon, lawyer, sustainable consumption advocate, and author of the book Meatonomics.
About David Simon
David Robinson Simon is a lawyer and advocate for sustainable consumption. His book Meatonomics looks at the ways meat and dairy producers manipulate consumers to consume much more animal foods than they would otherwise.
In addition to his day job as general counsel for a healthcare company, David maintains an active caseload suing animal abusers around the U.S., including lawsuits challenging foie gras producers in New York, ritual animal killers in Southern California, and the U.S. Coast Guard’s shooting of cormorants in the Pacific Northwest. Several of these lawsuits seek to expand an evolving legal theory that illegal activity that harms animals should be enjoined under a California statute prohibiting anticompetitive business activity.
David is on the advisory council of the Animal Legal Defense Fund and on the boards of directors of Animal Protection and Rescue League and the APRL Fund. He is also the founder of several vegan or animal rights groups, including Tahoe Herbivores and Orange County Vegan Drinks.
Why You Should Listen
In this episode, I get into the heart of how the meat and dairy industries have manipulated the food system to ensure that Americans continue to eat copious amounts of these products.
David has spent years studying the different strategies the meat and dairy industries employ to protect their interests and they can be boiled down into a few main methods, including hyping up the benefits and rewarding companies for creating products with more cheese and meat in checkoff programs; hiding the truth about treatment of animals and how eating these products can impact your health using Ag-Gag and Food Disparagement laws; hindering the efficacy of the USDA and FDA to oversee the production and regulate meat and dairy by hiring people with industry ties; and securing massive handouts in the form of subsidies to sell products at very low cost.
As consumers, we’ve been tricked to believe that meat and dairy are good for us and aggressively shielded from the cruelty that occurs factory farms – but perhaps what is worse, is we’ve been kept in the dark about the many ways our tax dollars are being used to artificially keep the cost of meat and dairy low.
In our conversation, David also gets into the question of whether small-scale, “sustainable,” family farms could present an alternative to this situation. You’ll have to listen in to hear more about how deeply this system is rigged and what David’s take on this pressing question is – some people might find it shocking, but the bottom line is, you can’t argue with numbers!
People/Companies/Resources Mentioned in This Episode
- Checkoff programs
- Farm animal exemptions to cruelty laws
- Gestation crates
- Debeaking chickens
- Battery cages
- Ag-Gag Laws
- Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act
- Food Disparagement Laws: Oprah Winfrey and the Texas Cattlemen’s Beef Association
- The Personal Responsibility in Food Consumption Act and “Cheeseburger Laws”
- Tyson Foods investing in Beyond Meat
#EatForThePlanet With Nil Zacharias Podcast Links