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Dear Secretary Vilsack:

We, the undersigned – knowing the obligation of your office to fairness, justice and “sound public policy based on the best available science” – do hereby Petition the USDA to defund meat and dairy subsidies and reallocate funds for the sustainable farming and equitable distribution of fruits and vegetables instead:

It’s well established in the scientific literature that the consumption of meat and dairy foods is the #1 driver of chronic disease in the U.S., including the Top 7 Killer Diseases: Heart Disease, Cancer, Stroke, Diabetes, Asthma, Kidney Disease and Alzheimer’s Disease. 

Further– chronic disease is the #1 driver of healthcare costs in the U.S. And healthcare costs are the #1 driver of bankruptcy and poverty in America–– and Black Americans, Indigenous and People of Color are disproprotionately impacted by up to 800%…

The meat and dairy industry (BigMEAT) is also a leading driver of environmental destruction, including: soil degradation, groundwater pollution, freshwater depletion, ocean dead zones, deforestation, rainforest depletion, biodiversity loss and species extinctions– and global warming (BigMEAT is projected to account for 83% of the global GHG budget by 2050). 

Of course, BigMEAT is the #1 driver of animal cruelty as well. As countless whistleblowers have revealed, BigMEAT commits incomprehensible mass cruelty to farmed animals. And in direct violation of the overwhelming majority (94%) of U.S. citizens who agree that “animals raised on farms should be free from abuse and cruelty.”

Altogether, experts estimate that the total subsidies and externalized costs that US citizens cover for BigMEAT amounts to over $500 BILLION PER YEAR. Connecting the dots: BigMEAT subsidies are driving a persistent burden of chronic disease, poverty, cruelty, and vast environmental destruction. 

Mr Secretary, as you likely well know, the best available science predicts that defunding meat and dairy subsidies and reallocating funds to reduce the costs of fruits and vegetables would improve health outcomes for millions of people and save billions of dollars in healthcare costs. 

We, the undersigned, therefore demand that the USDA defund meat and dairy subsidies and reallocate funds to subsidize the sustainable farming and equitable distribution of fruits and vegetables instead. 

Respectfully submitted,

[…Signature List]

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