The American Meat Industry

After researching the "Got Milk?" advertising campaign for an assignment about ethics in advertising, I found myself in a rabbit hole of questions about America's political and economic involvement in dairy and meat production. For an assignment in our Data Visualization class, my team and I created the first draft of an informational exposé video made with the purpose to contextualize meat-eating habits in the United States, and to explain the far-reaching effects created by the scale of this industry. 

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TOOLS

TEAM

-    Figma

-    Adobe Photoshop

-    Adobe After Effects

-    Adobe Premiere Pro

Myself + three other classmates

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The American Meat Industry.png

Governmental Influence

Over the last 50 years, the meat industry has grown accustomed to having powerful friends in the upper levels of the United States Department of Agriculture. The USDA lobbies billions of dollars each year to be put towards encouraging Americans to consume more meat and dairy products with promotional campaigns like "Beef Loving Texans", or by teaming up with major fast-food chains to run a promotion on a Domino's pizza with "40% more cheese". While these lobbying efforts might help the profits of dairy and cow farmers in America, it's creating several different problems for Americans by refusing to fix the core issue. The US Government spends $38 Billion annually to subsidize meat and dairy products, and only $17 million on subsidizing fruits and vegtables. This directly contributes to meat and dairy-focused fast food items, making them cheaper and more accessible than healthier food options. In order to combat America's overproduction of meat and dairy, lobbyists decided to push overconsumption of these products onto the American people.

Free Range Cows

"It is just a political context, a culture that has developed over the years at the political level, the food safety program at the USDA thinking of the industry as the customer rather than the consumer, and thinking in terms of efficient inspection rather than protecting public health."

Michael Taylor, Head of the Food Safety Inspection Service in 1990