Veganism is political“If you go vegan, you save over one hundred animals every year!”

The idea of being responsible for saving the lives of numerous animals is certainly fulfilling. But we must still ask ourselves some important questions. Has liberation ever been achieved through decreased consumption? Why do the animal rights and vegan movements still seem to fall short despite the tremendous increase in demand for plant-based products?

What most vegans and vegetarians are not aware of is the heavy influence that government policies and big agriculture have. A hidden aspect of our food system is that our taxes ultimately fund the very industry we are desperately trying to end, a fact noted by the Vegan Justice League. Factory farms and large animal corporations have repeatedly received billions of dollars in bailouts. In other words, our taxes are being used to cover farmers’ overhead costs, essentially making them fail-proof.

You may be thinking, “Well, if we drastically lower the demand for meat, dairy, and eggs, these industries will eventually have to shut down.” However, while the hard work of vegans is definitely making a difference in demand levels, animal production is still at an all-time high.

In 2019, the USDA announced a 16-billion-dollar bailout for animal farmers due to continuous pressure by animal agriculture lobbyists. Large animal corporations continue to thrive off our taxes and government subsidies to stifle their recurring losses.

It is now more important than ever to advocate for animals and end industries that promote cruelty. Going vegan is a great step in the right direction. But we must also become activists and do our part if we expect to see real change.

Extending your role in activism can be done by attending protests and calling out corporations for their cruel practices, supporting animal sanctuaries, or vegan lobbying. Animal rights organizations such as Agriculture Fairness Alliance and Youth Agricultural Revolution are taking activism to new heights through political action. Activism comes in many forms. Find one that is right for you.


Janani Shivakumar is Youth Advisor for American Vegan Society. This blog post is excerpted from article that appeared in American Vegan magazine, Spring 2021. Subscribe now.