You're fucking ignorant if you think the average poor person can afford to be vegan.
You say this to someone who was the average poor person when he went vegan, how many times do I have to explain this? This is such a bullshit excuse and ignoring the lived experiences of those of us who have actually done what you keep insisting is impossible is utterly ludicrous. Every time someone sends me this bullshit (which is weekly) and I reply, the notes are always filled with vegans living in poverty asking you to stop telling them that they don’t exist.
Let’s talk about who this “average poor person” actually is, shall we? Worldwide, an estimated 2 billion people live primarily on a meat-based diet, while an estimated 4 billion live primarily on a plant-based diet. Most people in absolute poverty throughout the world subsist on a primarily vegetarian diet. Because guess what? Meat is a luxury. It always has been, the only reason it isn’t seen as a luxury here is because we subsidise the hell out of it. Do you know how cheap fruits and vegetables would be if we subsidised them to same extent? Do you realise that every poor family in most western countries would be able to eat healthy if we did that, but we can’t, because you don’t want your burger to cost $25? A full 62% of your average American farmer’s earnings come from the United States government, meaning you pay for less than half of the real terms cost of your meat. If full ecological costs -including fossil fuel use, groundwater depletion and agricultural-chemical pollution were factored in the price of meat would double or triple. The rest is paid for in tax dollars, and this is the case in most western countries. How much more privileged can you be than expecting someone else to pick up the tab for your meal?
Since we’re discussing poverty here, let’s discuss what poverty actually is. 795 million people in the world do not have enough food to lead a healthy active life. That’s about one in nine people on earth. Meanwhile, most of the crops we raise goes straight to farmed animals, not humans. It takes 16 pounds of grain to make one pound of beef. That’s 94% more land. And 94% more pesticides. All told, livestock eat 70% of all the grain we produce. Farmed animals consume significantly more calories to get them to slaughter weight than they will ever produce in meat, meaning that they are literally detracting from the global food supply. If the world went vegan, we would add an addition 70% to the world’s global food supply, enough to comfortably feed everyone if it were equally distributed. Even considering the fact that global market forces and capitalism means that distribution would never be equal, and veganism consequently probably wouldn’t solve world hunger, 70% more food in the world means significantly less people hungry.
Vegan food is cheaper. No arguments, no ifs or buts, it just is. That’s why the two top feed the world organisations both feed vegetarian food, not because they care about animals, but because they can feed 10-12 the amount of people than they could have if they served meat. If you’d stopped to actually think about this, you’d realise you already know why vegetables are cheap. The lower on the food chain you eat, the less work went into the final product, and thus the less expensive it is. This is basic economics and frankly common sense. Pastas, rice, tinned vegetables, noodles, grains, beans and canned fruits remain the cheapest food option in any supermarket. These are the nuts and bolts of veganism, you don’t have to buy expensive fake meat (which is still comparable in price to actual meat) to be vegan. You can buy plant products in bulk, as I do. I went vegan as a poor student, and I cut my food bill by a full third. I live with two carnists who spend significantly more on groceries than I do. Don’t tell me how impossible it is to do something you have never even tried. But if this isn’t just a blatant excuse to not change your behaviour and you’d like to actually give it a go, here is an article on going vegan on a budget, here is list of recipes for $5 dollars a day and here is how to eat vegan on food stamps. Accusing the vegan diet of being expensive because faux meats exist is like measuring the cost of an omnivorous diet by looking only at foie gras and caviar.
I know many poor vegans, they do exist, so stop using the poverty of other people as an excuse for why you eat animals. It is not just a frustrating cop-out, it is highly offensive. I know vegans on benefits, vegans living on disability allowance. I know poor rural vegans, student vegans, vegans living in council houses, vegans raising kids on minimum wage. Stop fucking erasing and ignoring us when we tell you about our own experiences and don’t you dare use someone else’s poverty as an excuse for why you eat bacon.