Is Big Pork Ready to Target Children?

JoAnn Alumbaugh, editor of Pork Network, is fed up

She’s had it up to here with PETA’s “excellent marketing tactics,” and she “sighs with frustration” whenever she happens to see one of PETA’s child-focused campaigns.

Just try to convince these kids they should kill baby animals to get protein. Just try.                   Photo courtesy PETAKids

Alumbaugh asserts that the animal agriculture industry is lagging behind PETA due to big ag’s inability to compete with the kid-friendly vegan advertisements, and she exhorts her audience to consider what they personally are going to do about it.

Pork Network offers up a few insights to prepare for battle with PETA’s genius:

First, children don’t choose to eat vegan; they are “guided” by their parents (and, presumably, that sneaky PETA).

Second, is available as a domain name, and Alumbaugh “can’t think of a better name for kids who enjoy a well-balanced diet that includes the vitamins and minerals that are readily available in meat.

And finally, “the collective [meat] industry needs a much more collaborative, targeted approach to be effective.”

What Alumbaugh seems to forget is that 97% of Americans eat an omnivorous diet, which means 97% of parents offer meat, dairy, eggs, and animals’ milk to their children. Omnivorous parents “guide” their children to consume foods that not only harm their health, but also harm the animals and our greater natural world with destructive and toxic industry practices.

So in that sense, yes, vegan parents also guide their children—away from animal torture, diabetes, heart disease, and environmental destruction.

Does this child want to eat the pig or play with her?

That Pork Network is concerned about 1-3% of the population (vegans and vegetarians) choosing to guide their children away from meat and dairy deserves celebration, especially since PETA is taking one from the animal ag industry’s own playbook: marketing directly to children.

Ronald McDonald, Hamburglar, and Burger King along with fish sticks and chicken fingers are just a few of the companies and animal products that have been targeting children for decades.

Alumbaugh might indeed recognize that the meat industry has targeted products to children, but she admits the meat industry fails to honor healthy, upstanding omnivorous children with pointed campaigns the same way PETA does.

Perhaps the meat industry as a whole hasn’t considered trying to care about children with awards and programs dedicated to their health and well being because, well, they just don’t care that much about children?

Sure, the meat industry wants children to want their products, is subsidized by our government to place meat in school lunches, but truly caring about the health of children and their ability to thrive?…not so much.

Seriously, can an industry that systematically abuses living beings, especially baby animals, really be expected to care about human children?

pigs in truck
Pigs are transported to slaughter. Photo courtesy Jo-Anne McArthur,

The meat and dairy industries are backed by some of the most corrupt and destructive companies in the world, and to care about children, it helps not to be involved in the ruination of human health and communities.

Big pork, for example, places a disproportionate number of concentrated hog growing facilities near communities of color and low income communities.

The pork industry in North Carolina alone is also responsible for unloading the feces and waste produced by 10 million hogs—the equivalent of feces from 100 million humans—directly into waterways and farms.

kid kisses pigs
Children are not equipped to kill and eat animals. Neither are adult humans.

With pork’s overwhelming presence in that state it seems the industry would have ample opportunity to showcase the healthy, pork-loving kids who live and eat pig parts there. However, while Alumbaugh ponders the meat industry’s ability to honor kids, the children (and adults) in Duplin County, North Carolina face greater risk to diseases and antibiotic resistance as well as chronic illness due to exposure to the toxic air, water, and land associated with these hog factories.

Since the World Health Organization deemed processed meats (bacon and sausage) as carcinogenic as cigarette smoking in 2015, we realize it’s not so much PETA and other vegan companies’ marketing campaigns that inconvenience the meat industry—it’s the truth.

Even some minor market research will show the real truth of the matter: that most children do not want to eat animals anyway.

Go figure that’s a PETAKids link, but even without PETA’s superior marketing department, think about this: If a child is placed in a crib with a rabbit and an apple, she will eat the apple and play with the rabbit. So consistently is this the case that if the child attempts to hurt or eat the rabbit, we deem that child mentally disturbed and likely to hurt humans at some point, too.

But, torture and kill 117 million pigs and piglets per year? That’s just business, folks.

For anyone wondering what our suggestion is to the editor of Pork Network, it’s get out now. Get out now and invest in vegan companies. Even Tyson, one of the United States’ largest meat producers, dropped a huge wad on vegan company Beyond Meat in late 2016.  Veganism is the future. Growing pigs for meat is inherently horrifying and cruel, and it’s pretty much guaranteed that future generations will look back on us today in disgust and disbelief.  

It’s time to acknowledge this next phase of human evolution and support vegan companies, vegan food—and vegan kids—above all else. 


To learn more about plant based diets, check out the documentaries Forks Over Knives and What the Health. If you’d like to hear our take on plant based diets, listen to our review of What the Health on the Earthix Podcast. To learn more about how animal agriculture is a leading cause of climate change, species extinction, and ocean dead zones, please watch Cowspiracy and read Dr. Richard Oppenlander’s Food Choice and Sustainability.



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