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Meatonomics: How the Bizarre, Rigged Economics of the Meat and Dairy Industries Co-Opt Consumer Choice

By November 25, 2013May 24th, 20192 Comments

Sometimes I feel like some kind of fringe conspiracy theorist.  I didn’t used to be this way, I promise.  But the more I delve into how things work — truly work — the more amazed I am by what I discover.

I don’t care if you are vegan, locavore, pescatarian, paleo, primal, high-carb, low-carb, or slow-carb.  Everyone deserves to be optimally informed when it comes to how our food is harvested, distributed and marketed.  And yet, quite unfortunately, most consumers lack even a basic awareness of the dynamics at play, let alone a working understanding of the formidable economic protocols that function behind the production of meat, fish, eggs, and dairy.

It is incumbent upon all of us to take personal responsibility for educating ourselves about the economic machinations that dominate and drive our food system.  Why? Because these forces affect all of us, irrespective of dietary preference.  And because informed choice is power. 

Today on the show I am pleased to introduce David Robinson Simon, attorney, advocate for sustainable consumption, and author of the newly released  Meatonomics*  — an important, groundbreaking and astoundingly revelatory deep dive into the potent economic, marketing, regulatory & legislative forces that support the meat and dairy industries’ masterful ability to influence and downright undermine informed consumer awareness and decision making when it comes to what — and how much — to eat.

David’s thesis is that such consumer decisions aren’t just misplaced, but in fact manipulated and compelled — often on an unconscious level — by the behemoth animal food producers who effectively co-opt consumers’ buying choices with artificially-low prices fueled by out-of-whack farm subsidies; ubiquitous, powerful but misleading marketing campaigns; and heavy control over legislation and regulatory policy at the highest echelons of government.

Over the course of our conversation, David provides vital insight into how the economics of institutional animal food production hold sway over our spending, eating, health, prosperity, economy, environment and longevity.  A perfect storm of almost conspiratorial circumstances that serve — in the macro — to exponentially increase (among other things):

    1. Annual US taxpayer dollars spent to subsidize meat & dairy;
    2. The rapid depletion of our forests & soil;
    3. The level of greenhouse gas emissions that catalyze irrevocable climate change;  
    4. The collapsing of wild fisheries;
    5. The proliferation of “farmed” fisheries;
    6. US dietary cholesterol intake;
    7. The incidence of cancer, diabetes and heart disease related to meat and dairy consumption
    8. Healthcare costs allocated to treat US cases of diseases related to meat and dairy consumption

For a quick source-supported primer, check out David’s Meatonomics Index— 40 facts and figures that paint a picture of how our meat and dairy intake has spiraled out of control since 1935.

Food for thought.

Thanks for checking out this post and the episode, and I hope you enjoy the conversation.


Meatonomics: How the Rigged Economics of Meat and Dairy Make You Consume Too Much-and How to Eat Better, Live Longer, and Spend Smarter* by David Robinson Simon (Conari Press, 2013)

The Meatonomics Index: Numbers that Tell a Story

David Simon’s Website: Meatonomics

Meatonomics on Facebook

David Simon on Twitter: @meatonomics

David Simon on Facebook

The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted and the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss and Long-Term Health* by T. Colin Campbell & Thomas Campbell II (BenBella Books, 2004)

David Simon discusses “Meatonomics”:

*Disclosure: Books and products denoted with an asterisk are hyperlinked to an affiliate program. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.


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  • Monique says:

    Great podcast, Rich! It is absolutely appalling how the system works. I am definitely putting meatonomics on my to-read list.

  • maggiesavage says:

    I’m just getting caught up on missed podcasts and I finished this one today. What a great story this guy has to tell us – thank you both for sharing it and awakening us to this madness. I’m also putting it on my must-read list.

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