Breaking it down
Since the release of the 2019 Canadian Food Guide it seems we have been bombarded with a higher than usual occurence of T.V., radio and social media ads promoting meat, dairy and egg products; hardly surprising since the new food guide obliterates dairy as a category and heavily promotes (at the expense of animal products) plant based sources of protein and nutrient rich foods such as legumes, vegetables, whole grains and fruit. Many industry agencies are already ringing the alarm bells reporting animal agriculture is losing market shares to plant based alternatives such as in the milk segment of the dairy industry. For instance, the latest statistics from Dairy Farmers of America indicate that in 2018 the sector lost 1.1 billion dollars year over year and nearly 3000 dairy farms ceased operating in the U.S.; the same phenomenon is most likely also happening here in Canada albeit on a much smaller scale. It is now clear to many of these associations and agencies that the plant based food industry is fast becoming a clear and present threat to their operation; their members face two choices, transition their farms to offer plant based alternatives themselves or fight tooth and nail to delay or try to stop what many consider the inevitable demise of animal agriculture.
The latest egg industry marketing campaign would seem to indicate that this particular sector is also under attack and fighting to retain market shares even if it means they have to mislead Canadians in the process. In British Columbia, B.C. Eggs has been hard at work advertising in print/social media Radio, and T.V. ads. Last week 1130 News (a local radio station) aired a short promotional spot touting eggs as a healthy nutritional powerhouse. What the ad failed to mention is that eggs are also high in saturated fats, cholesterol and choline which have been linked to heart disease, strokes, diabetes and several types of cancers (For unbiased comprehensive analysis of peer reviewed journals on nutrition go to nutritionfacts.org and do a search on eggs). This type of misleading marketing used by the meat/dairy and egg industries is even banned by law in the U.S but not here in Canada which further reinforces the need for adequate advertising standards. Earlier this year, B.C. Eggs also released a social media ad campaign using Facebook as a platform to decimate pro industry information . The ad ran in partnership with the advertising arm of PostMedia Corp. and B.C. Eggs making it appear like the article was part of the regular news rotation of The Vancouver Sun; the article claimed (amongst other things) that the new Canadian Food Guide recommended eggs as the top source of protein for Canadians which is the complete opposite of what the guide actually says… it clearly states that “among protein foods, we should consume plant-based more often”.
If you happen to hear or see any misleading ads from the animal agriculture industry it would be a good idea to notify and lodge a formal complaint with Ad Standards Canada, the agency responsible for monitoring incidence of impropriety in advertising. Here is an example of a bogus article sponsored by Egg Farmers of Canada published in the Huffington Post last year. Many local vegan activists who stand up for animals on a regular basis already denounce and/or report these type of fake news pieces.
It is important that people who consume animal products are made aware of the atrocities committed against animals and that Canada is not above board when in comes to animal cruelty within these industries. The environmental impact of animal agriculture on climate change in particular can also have a great effect on people’s decision to eliminate animal products from their diet.
When it comes to taking action on these matters There is no task too small, talking to family and friends, setting the record straight or reporting false advertising has never been more important. As the saying goes… “Speak up for animals the way you would like others to speak up for you if you were in the same situation”.