Meatonomics: The Eye-Opening New Book by David Robinson Simon That Lifts The Veil On The Meat And Dairy Industry
“This important book joins the ranks of T. Colin Campbell’s Whole and The China Study in its power to expose the truth and begin to repair the health care crisis.”
~ Patti Breitman, co-author of How to Eat Like a Vegetarian, Even If You Never Want To Be One
“Consumers can only make wise purchases of meat if the price they pay reflects the full cost of producing it—when there are no ‘hidden’ costs like subsidies or environmental damage. Simon is the first author to attempt a complete accounting of all these hidden costs, something that should be applauded by the vegan and meat-lover alike.”
~ F. Bailey Norwood, Ph.D., author of Compassion By the Pound and Professor of Agricultural Economics, Oklahoma State University
There are some incredible visionaries “being the change” and channeling pivotal and illuminating material and creations these days, especially via the medium of books. David Robinson Simon is one such literary visionary whose new book, Meatonomics, is creating major waves across the collective web of life.
If you aren’t familiar yet with David, you will likely hear more about him, as he is a leading voice in the field of sustainable consumption and a voice for the voiceless.
He is also making waves of change for First Amendment rights. Read on below in the interview to find out more about this.
David also happens to be my partner in life and I couldn’t be more proud of the service he is giving from his heart.
However, partner or not, there is no doubt he is one of the most passionately dedicated and influential people I know, working to create a new reality. I’m always amazed by people like him who are able to accomplish so much and who are “doing” so much in terms of helping things to shift – not just talking about it.
Meatonomics has received some astounding and compelling reviews by some influential people and publications, which I’ll let speak for themselves. Some of them include John Robbins, Will Tuttle, Ph.D., Rory Freedman, James McWilliams, Ph.D., Publishers Weekly, Patti Breitman, and more.
I highly recommend you check out what they have to say here: Meatonomics Praise and Reviews
But before getting into what David’s book is about, I decided to do a short interview with him, to provide an inside look at who he is a bit more and how the evolution of his life has brought him to write Meatonomics.
Tania: I understand that the majority of your life you have consumed meat and dairy, and in fact you ate a lot of fast food. How long have you been vegan, what brought you to this lifestyle choice, and how has your life changed because of this choice in terms of quality of your life and your relationship to the world at large?
David: Yes, it’s true: for most of my life I was a classic junk-food junkie, living on chili dogs and bacon double-cheeseburgers. I went vegan in the spring of 2008 after watching a few factory-farming videos that simply stunned me with their cruelty. Although I didn’t change my diet for health reasons, I started to notice immediate health benefits. Within the first few months, I lost 15 pounds and my cholesterol dropped from 200 to 160 (now it’s 140).
But for me, the main benefit of a vegan lifestyle has been a greater feeling of connectedness with the planet and its inhabitants. I tread with a lighter footprint. And I think I’ve become more empathetic and compassionate in my interactions with others.
Tania: What was the driving force behind writing Meatonomics for you?
David: A few years ago, I emailed a slaughterhouse video to a friend who taught at a major law school to see what he would think of it. He wrote back that while the practices in the film were clearly inhumane, they were likely illegal – and for that reason, they were anomalies. But after doing some research, I learned that in fact, the cruel practices that show up in slaughterhouse videos are generally legal. That’s because unlike most other animals, who are protected from cruelty, farmed animals are not covered by most states’ anti-cruelty laws. For example, Connecticut makes it completely legal to “maliciously and intentionally” torture, mutilate, or kill a farmed animal.
These laws are bad for animals and consumers, and they serve only one purpose: to help factory farmers make more money. Further, such laws – and the behaviors they spur in producers – are responsible for a variety of social ills, including health problems, environmental damage, and classic “market failure” in the meat and dairy system. The economic forces of factory farming have not received much attention, so I thought this would make a good subject for a book.
Tania: Speaking of laws, can you share a little about your work in regard to exercising the First Amendment and how you are helping to protect this right?
David: California is one of the few states where free speech rights can be exercised inside a shopping mall. However, since most shopping malls would rather not have people inside protesting or doing outreach, the malls do their best to quash these rights. By writing letters and sometimes threatening – or actually pursuing – litigation, I’ve convinced a number of malls in Southern California to let people engage in much more meaningful expressive activity. I’m currently litigating a pro bono case for an animal advocacy group against South Coast Plaza, the biggest mall in Southern California and one of the biggest in the country.
Tania: If you could only share one thing that you felt it important for people to know about food consumption and its effects, what would that be?
David: Despite the conventional wisdom that says meat and dairy are good for us, the overwhelming body of objective, clinical research shows the opposite – that these foods are damaging our health. Americans’ meat consumption has doubled in the past 75 years, and that’s the main reason why one in three of us have heart disease, two in three are overweight, and we have three times the incidence of cancer as the rest of the world.
Tania: What do you hope people take away from your book?
David: I hope readers will see that U.S. animal food producers use a variety of sophisticated techniques to make consumers buy more meat and dairy, which causes Americans to eat more meat per capita than any other people on the planet. I hope readers will learn how they’re being manipulated by factory farmers, and that, particularly in the huge quantities Americans consume these foods, meat, fish, eggs and dairy are not healthy. And finally, I hope readers will use that knowledge to reduce their consumption of animal foods – or better yet, give them up completely.
Tania: When you aren’t practicing law, advocating for animals, or helping to create a conscious world through your insightful and inspirational work, what do you enjoy doing in your off-time?
David: Spending time with family and friends is one of the most important things to me. Since get-togethers seem to typically revolve around food, they often involve interesting vegan restaurants (two of my favorites are Crossroads and Shojin in Los Angeles). I also try to get some exercise a few times a week; which usually means yoga or swimming at the gym and I try to meditate or stretch in the mornings when I can.
I like to read and am a big fan of classics that I can read for free on my Kindle (I found most of Thomas Hardy’s novels that way). I also like independent films and documentaries and watch a few of those a week. We don’t have regular TV so aside from indie films and documentaries there are a few Netflix series I enjoy, including Portlandia, Breaking Bad, House of Cards, and Hemlock Grove.
Weekends are the best. If I’m not on a hike, at the beach, or struggling in the garden (unfortunately I do not have a green thumb), I might be lying on the couch taking a cat-nap – with a real cat curled up next to or on top of me.
David Simon’s Meatonomics (Conari Press, 2013) is a leading book in its genre to actually explore the unseen economic forces driving our animal food system, and the eye-opening, strange ways these forces are affecting consumers’ and taxpayers’ spending, eating, health, prosperity, and longevity. It also sheds light on how consumer decisions are largely influenced by external and extremely misleading factors, taking away our conscious decision making process in terms of what, or even how much, we consume.
For almost as long as they’ve been in use, factory farms have been synonymous with three kinds of problems: environmental, nutritional, and ethical. But today, new data compels us to consider an overlooked fourth category: economic.
Meatonomics illuminates this bizarre system and provides ways to fix it. It is also a new look at the upside-down industry of meat and dairy production/factory farming, and its revelations are shocking.
David shares: One curious fact to emerge from the book is that animal food producers impose almost $2 in hidden costs on Americans for every $1 of product they sell at retail. Another is that by “externalizing” most of their costs in this fashion and taking other steps to keep prices artificially low and manipulate buying behavior, these producers deprive consumers of the ability to make informed, independent decisions about how much meat and dairy to eat. That’s the main reason Americans consume more meat per person than anyone else on the planet.
Here’s an inside look at sample chapters and information you can look forward to exploring with David in Meatonomics:
Part I: Influencing the Consumer
1. The Brave New World of Government Marketing . . . . . 3
2. Massaging the Message: Shaping Consumer Beliefs. . . 16
3. Sausage Making and Lawmaking: Influence in the
Political Process . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
4 . Regulatory Conflict and Consumer Confusion . . . . . 55
Part II: The Hidden Costs of Meatonomics
5. Feeding at the Subsidy Trough . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73
6. Diseases and Doctor Bills . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 90
7. The Sustainability Challenge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .111
8. The Costs of Cruelty . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .134
9. Fishing Follies. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .144
10. Recipes for Change . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .162
Meatonomics is scheduled for release in September 2013, just under two weeks away, but is available now on Amazon at special pre-order price with free shipping here: Meatonomics
You can follow David and explore all of the latest updates, upcoming events, reviews of the book, sample chapters, ordering information, and provocative posts on the forces of Meatonomics and how those forces affect our individual health, the environment, how we treat animals, and ultimately, our national prosperity at www.meatonomics.com.
David has already been speaking at engagements about Meatonomics this summer, but the official book launch tour begins August 31st on the East Coast (Martha’s Vineyard, NYC, Washington DC, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Boston) for the first half of September and then will hit the West Coast (LA, San Diego, Orange County – and more to be announced) starting September 28th. David will also be giving the Keynote Address at the Toronto Vegetarian Festival on September 6th. So there are many opportunities to catch one of his illuminating and engaging talks (including upcoming Radio and TV interviews), meet David in person, and pick up a signed book.
For a list of all the events, dates, and times visit: Meatonomics Events
David Robinson Simon is a lawyer and advocate for sustainable consumption. He works as general counsel for a healthcare company and serves on the board of the APRL Fund, a non-profit dedicated to protecting animals. David received his B.A. from U.C. Berkeley and his J.D. from the University of Southern California. He is also the author of New Millennium Law Dictionary, a full-length legal dictionary. He lives in Southern California with his partner, artist Tania Marie, and their rabbit, tortoise, and two cats.
You can also find David on Facebook at: Meatonomics
Or you can follow David’s Tweets on Twitter at: Meatonomics
If you’d like to contact David with any questions you can do so here: Contact David Simon
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David Simon Discusses “Meatonomics” in this Video Trailer: