Wednesday, March 13, 2013

taxes

It's tax season! Time to think about how our role as citizens, taxpayers, and vegans relate!

Taxes support government spending. Government spending supports.. whatever it supports. Let's take an example: farm subsidies. Did you know that without price supports, most estimates put a pound of red meat at about $35 per pound?




That's right, the meat and dairy industries get about 74% of the federal food-based subsidies. Fruits and vegetables, the healthiest foods, get less that 1%.

And then there's SNAP; that's the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. We may not buy any meat for ourselves, but if we're paying a lot of taxes we may be buying meat for our poorer neighbors. What does this mean? Well, if you support SNAP or the idea of government-based food assistance, it gives a reason to push for reforms that reduce or remove animal products from the SNAP menu. It also gives another reason to speak out and encourage our neighbors to adopt a more plant-based way of eating.

We might also want to consider the tax-efficiency of our investments.

Here's an excellent article for vegans from last year's tax season.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Confounded by conglomeration

One of my favorite ways to find investments is to look at the companies I regularly buy from. They are generally providing a product or service I like, and that's worth the money. It's especially fun to be an investor in such a company, because then I get this great feeling that I'm "buying from myself" to a degree.

However, if you've ever tried to look for the companies behind your favorite vegan brands in order to become an investor, you have no doubt run into the problem that everything is owned by just a few companies.


Obviously that's an overstatement. But let's take a few examples. Tom's of Maine sells toothpaste and the like. They have made a commitment to never use animal testing, and they wear PETA's seal of approval. Want to invest? Well, you'll have to buy Colgate-Palmolive stock. Until recently, Colgate-Palmolive used animal testing for their other products (however, now they are working to change the regulations that require animal testing).

How about some delicious vegan food options: Maranatha peanut butter, Westbrae natural vegetarian foods, and Garden of Eatin' tortilla chips (yum!). These are all owned by Hain Celestial, which also owns chicken and turkey subsidiaries.

There is still hope! Before you give up hope and buy stock in Burger King, consider a few alternatives:

  • Invest in a vegan-neutral sector. For example, computer software or industrial steel production. For every company that uses animals for profit, there are several that don't.
  • Invest in "vetted" companies. PETA maintains a database of cruelty-free companies, particularly in cosmetics/health/beauty/clothing.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

McDonalds to open veggie restaurants in India



In a sturdy testament to the power of demand to curb/shift business activity (and ultimately animal suffering!), this article describes how even McDonald's (MCD) will go veggie when that's where the money is at.

Of course, you may be here to learn how to profit from the plant-based revolution; you want to know: should you invest in MCD?

Considering virtually all of their stores are still beef-centric, it would be hard to call that a vegan investment. Furthermore, there's probably plenty of room for a plant-based competitor that's marketed as healthy and compassionate to step into the fast food arena -- I doubt McDonalds will lead that particular charge.

But this serves as another marker that the world is indeed taking steps, albeit slowly, toward our vegan future!

Survey: vegan diet trending in 2013

According to a national survey of 2800 adults, plant-based is going to be one of the top five consumer health trends for 2013:

Last year's rise of the flexitarians is foreshadowing a trend toward meatless eating and outright veganism, vegetarianism's older brother, the survey found. Consumers seeking exotic natural ingredients like jackfruit and quinoa have helped turn the tide, especially as increasingly popular Asian and Indian flavor profiles that turn their backs on animal products. The survey foresees the migration of herbivore-accommodating menus to mid-America from restaurants on both coasts next year.

(source:  http://www.livescience.com/25852-americans-surprising-food-vows-for-2013.html )

USDA agrees. In their report Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook they predict that Americans will eat 500 million fewer chickens and 400,000 fewer cows than they did in 2006. Of course, the million dollar question is, what will they be eating instead and who's best positioned to benefit from the shift?