The factory farming industry has reached a new low. Last month the United States Cattlemen's Association filed a petition with the USDA calling for an official definition of the terms “beef” and “meat.”
Yes, you read that right. The factory farming industry is so scared of losing business to the plant-based market that it’s trying to have the government tell vegan companies they can't use the word “meat.” This desperate plea is absurd since the term has been used for centuries to describe the edible part of certain plants, such as coconut meat.
But although ridiculous, this stunt is not original. This cruel industry has pushed for strict government definitions before in an attempt to hurt the vegan movement.
For over a decade the dairy industry, threatened by the plant-based milk market, has urged the Food and Drug Administration to define the term “milk” as exclusively an animal product.
Similarly, in 2015 the Association for Dressings and Sauces petitioned the FDA to take regulatory action against eggless spread Just Mayo for misleading consumers, claiming that mayonnaise is defined as containing eggs. In 2014 Unilever, maker of Hellmann’s mayonnaise and one of the association’s members, sued Just Mayo’s parent company, Hampton Creek, on similar grounds. Following consumer backlash, Unilever dropped the suit.
When the factory farming industry feels threatened by the success of plant-based products, it's quick to run to the government for help. But this industry has been woefully unsuccessful in its attempts to slow the growth of veganism.
You can’t stop an idea whose time has come.
Since 1970, consumption of cow's milk has fallen a whopping 40 percent in the U.S., while sales of dairy-free milk alternatives have soared by 30 percent since 2011. A recent study commissioned by the Plant Based Foods Association and The Good Food Institute revealed that the plant-based foods market had topped $3.1 billion in sales. And Lux Research expects plant-based proteins to make up a third of the global protein market by 2054.
More people enjoying vegan food is great news for the billions of animals who suffer horribly at factory farms. Cows, pigs, and chickens raised and killed for food are subjected to unimaginable cruelties: small, filthy cages; painful mutilations; and violent, bloody slaughter.
The country’s factory farmers are at a crossroads: Do they invest in the inevitable plant-based future? Or do they continue ignoring the signs and go bankrupt?