Thursday, August 26, 2004
Vegan Cars? The L.A. Times Cruises the Road to Ruin
By Mickey Z.
“Is your car vegan?”
With that irrational question, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer Sharon Bernstein begins an August 23, 2004 press release...I mean, article called “Automakers Getting a Taste for Vegan Values.” Bernstein is referring to the Toyota Prius...a car she claims not only “impeccable green credentials,” but is vegan to boot.
What is a vegan car? According to Toyota, the L.A. Times, and other uninformed, trendy souls, the Prius qualifies because its seats aren’t leather. That’s it. Simple, huh?
Not wanting to miss out on the corporate greenwashing, Ford Motor Company recently ran what Bernstein calls “an eight-page advertisement in the New Yorker magazine touting the company’s green credentials. The ad led off with the boast that 11 members of the design team for the company’s soon-to-be-released hybrid Escape SUV are vegetarians, and its leader is a vegan.”
Even Mercedes Benz, Bernstein informs us, will offer a “non-leather package starting with the 2005 model year, in response to customer requests.”
This is what democracy, uh...drives like?
“As a marketer you want to identify with the passionate group,” said Bob Kurilko, vice president of marketing for the automobile website Edmunds.com. “The middle of the bull’s-eye is where you want to focus your marketing, and then you want to expand your message around that. If you draw these concentric circles, the middle of the bull’s-eye right now is the vegan.”
The revolution may not be televised...but it could get stuck in traffic.
The rest of Bernstein’s piece falls into the blah-blah-blah category but no matter; she’s already done a fine job of lying...lying that car companies give a shit about the environment or animal rights and lying that automobiles can magically become “vegan” merely by replacing leather with vinyl.
News flash: Automobiles can never have “impeccable green credentials” (by any reasonable definition)...and the car culture is unambiguously anti-animal.
Each week in the U.S., roughly one million animals are flattened by cars, trucks, SUVs and other fossil-fuel burning killers. That number, of course, does not include household “pets” or insects. It also does not count those living things (human, animal, and otherwise) that suffer or die due to exhaust emissions and the role they play in pollution and global warming. In addition, that weekly one million death count does not do justice to the innumerable creatures who perish when entire eco-systems are exterminated in order to make way for highways, off-ramps, parking lots, strip malls, airports, and other auto-centric structures. Then there’s the use of non-vegan substances like anti-freeze, bio-diesel fuel, hydraulic brake fluid, and asphalt binder—all of which contain animal ingredients. Finally, consider the faceless animals that suffer and die during the scientifically useless and morally indefensible laboratory testing of gasoline fumes.
The L.A. Times dug up a handful of alleged vegans ready to offer their stamp of approval to an internal combustion engine wrapped in steel as long as the seats weren’t leather. As a result, millions will sleep better believing that conditions are improving and corporations are getting the message.
Question: why would anyone trust a corporate-owned media to report the truth about corporate behavior?
During the last century, an area equal to all the arable land in Ohio, Indiana, and Pennsylvania was paved in the U.S., which requires maintenance costing over $200 million a day...the surreptitious cost of the car culture totals nearly $464 billion a year in the U.S. alone, much of that going to the sustentation of waging perpetual war to keep the world safe for petroleum.
You might bicker with the specifics surrounding issues pertaining to veganism, animal rights, and the environment...but allowing the auto industry to anoint itself “green” is an unambiguously giant step in the wrong direction.
Skip the Prius and get yourself a used bicycle.
Mickey Z. is the author of two brand new books: “The Seven Deadly Spins: Exposing the Lies Behind War Propaganda” (Common Courage Press) and “A Gigantic Mistake: Articles and Essays for Your Intellectual Self-Defense” (Library Empyreal/Wildside Press). For more information, please visit: http://mickeyz.net.Share