PETA Points Out That Animal Markets, Transport, and Slaughter Are Linked to All Flu-Like Viruses
For Immediate Release:
February 21, 2020
David Perle 202-483-7382
Omaha, Neb. – As 11 patients with coronavirus are now quarantined at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, PETA plans to place a billboard near the hospital that warns, “Meat Kills—Go Vegan,” and lists a litany of public health threats associated with using animals for food. The coronavirus is known to have originated in a market in Wuhan, China—a “wet market” where live and dead animals are sold for human consumption. In this case, pangolins and bats were sold for soup, but it’s not the first time such viruses have been traced back to live animals—most commonly pigs and chickens—who were confined, shipped, killed, and eaten.
“Filthy factory farms, slaughterhouses, and meat markets threaten the health of every human being on the planet by providing a breeding ground for deadly diseases like coronavirus, SARS, bird flu, and others,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “PETA urges everyone to take the message seriously and protect themselves from fatal conditions such as heart attacks, strokes, high blood pressure, and others by avoiding meat like the plague.”
In addition to carrying a high risk of contamination from pathogens—including E. coli, campylobacter, and salmonella—meat contains no fiber and is packed with artery-clogging saturated fat and cholesterol. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, vegans are far less prone to suffering from heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and cancer than meat-eaters are.
The dairy industry used to get a free pass, even from many animal rights campaigners. But with the mainstream emergence of veganism, more people are becoming aware of practices that are normal in milk production. Now, they are even talking about it at the Oscars.
In his acceptance speech for the best actor award, Joaquin Phoenix spoke of our “egocentric world view” and how we “plunder” the natural world for its resources. Turning to dairy, he said: “We feel entitled to artificially inseminate a cow and steal her baby, even though her cries of anguish are unmistakeable. Then we take her milk that’s intended for her calf and we put it in our coffee and our cereal.”
The reality of dairy farming can be shocking for people who have always assumed milking a cow is harmless. From the age of 15 months, female cows are artificially inseminated with semen drawn mechanically from a bull. Once born, the calf will usually be taken away within 36 hours. This is so farmers can take the milk the mothers are making. Experts say that a strong bond is formed quickly after birth and the separation is traumatising for both cow and calf.
If the calf is male, he will be considered a byproduct and either killed immediately or sold on to be raised as veal, which postpones his death for a few months. If it’s female, she will follow her mother in the cycle of forced pregnancies until she is too old to carry on, after which she will be killed.
The rise of veganism is hitting dairy bosses hard. Sales of plant-based milks are soaring. Last year it was revealed that almost a quarter of Britons are consuming non-dairy milk alternatives. Meanwhile, the average person’s milk consumption in the UK has fallen by 50% since the 50s.
Phoenix linked the oppression of animals with the oppression of humans. The “cries of anguish” from mother cows are finally being heard.
On March 4, vegan cheese company Miyoko’s Creamery will begin a food truck tour across the United States to promote the brand’s new nut-free vegan cheddar and pepper-jack cheeses (created from oats, potatoes, and legumes) and cultured vegan oat-based butter. Miyoko’s food truck will give away approximately 15,000 free grilled cheese sandwiches made with the new products. The tour will begin at Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, CA and make 17 tentative city stops, including in Los Angeles, CA; Oakland, CA; San Francisco, CA; Portland, OR; Seattle, WA; Biose, ID; Denver, CO; Austin, TX; New Orleans, LA; Atlanta, GA; Washington DC; Philadelphia, PA; New York, NY; Boston, MA; Cincinnati, OH; Chicago, IL; and Minneapolis, MN. “We believe our new cheddar and pepper jack are game-changing and will do for cheese what Beyond and Impossible did for burgers by expanding the audience for vegan cheese to omnivores and flexitarians,” Miyoko Schinner, CEO of Miyoko’s Creamery, told VegNews. “What better way to prove that than by allowing people to taste the product first-hand—our Grilled Cheese Nation food truck tour is a fun way to get that done while building excitement and anticipation for our April product launch.” In December, Miyoko’s shocked hundreds of unsuspecting cheese lovers at a grilled-cheese sandwich pop-up in San Francisco, where the brand served free sandwiches made with its vegan cheese and butter without telling customers they were vegan. In June, the brand is set to launch the cultured vegan oat-based butter in sea salt and garlic parm flavors and allergen-friendly cheeses in blocks, shreds, and slices.
Germany and France are teaming up to push for the end of male chick shredding in the European Union by the end of 2021.
Agriculture ministers Julia Klöckner of Germany and Didier Guillaume of France announced their plans to help press this issue further during a Monday meeting in Germany.
“It’s time to end the shredding of chicks. France and Germany should be the European motor to advance on this issue,” Guillaume said, according to France24.
Shredding refers to the act of killing male chicks shortly after they hatch. This practice occurs in many poultry businesses because male chicks don’t produce eggs and generate less meat than their female counterparts.
The two European countries hope to bring together industry groups, companies, researchers and campaign groups to “share scientific knowledge” and “implement alternative methods,” France24 reports.
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“We welcome this scheme and the fact that non-governmental organizations are involved, but we expect clear regulatory commitments,” Agathe Gignoux of CIWF, a French NGO, said.
In 2009, the Associated Press reported U.S. egg producers euthanize 200 million male chicks per year. According to AP, Chicago-based animal rights organization Mercy for Animals videotaped male chicks being ground up alive while undercover in Iowa hatchery Hy-Line North America that same year.
The same practice appears to occur in Canada, too, though the Canadian government has announced recent changes in an effort to minimize this waste.
Jean-Michel Laurin, president and CEO of the Canadian Poultry and Egg Processors Council, told Global News that the industry has been working towards eliminating the euthanizing of male chicks.
“This requires a great deal of research, which has been occurring worldwide and includes Canadian-based research which has been active for about 10 years,” he said. “Currently, stakeholders in Canadian industry have made significant investments to bring us beyond the research trial phase.”
“Our industry is committed to continually improving practices. Farmers, hatcheries and others in the supply chain have demonstrated, over generations, their desire to improve and to respond to change.”
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He added that the National Farm Animal Care Council’s (NFACC) Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Chickens, Turkeys and Breeders lists several methods to euthanize day-old chicks and emphasizes that in all circumstances, the termination of life must be instantaneous.
Toronto Chick-fil-A launch draws customers and demonstrators
Toronto Chick-fil-A launch draws customers and demonstrators
In 2018, then-Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Lawrence MacAulay announced an $844,000 investment would go towards developing an electronic scan to determine a bird’s sex and fertility of eggs prior to hatching, Poultry World reported.
This would mean male eggs could be sold before hatching, which would increase capacity and efficiency of Canadian hatcheries and ultimately end male chick culling.
“The Canadian egg industry is driving our economy and creating good jobs,” he said in a statement. “The government of Canada is produce [sic] to support the Egg Farmers of Ontario for this first-of-its-kind study that will make Canada a world leader in animal welfare.
“This investment will help pilot a solution that will be welcomed in Canada and around the world and will keep the egg industry strong and growing.”
Whether you’re concerned about the state of the environment or are focused on your own health concerns, there are more than a few reasons to consider a plant-based diet.
Despite common misconceptions, you don’t have to survive on raw celery and plain nuts to do it, either.
In fact, transitioning to a vegan lifestyle, can actually be incredibly delicious in addition to being great for the environment. Plus, a plant-based diet can save you some serious cash if you do it right.
So, if you’re thinking of making the switch, here is everything you need for a seamless transition into veganism.
With any major dietary change, it’s important to know just what you’re getting into. There are a wealth of resources available to help you learn more about both the environmental and health aspects of veganism.
Eating Animals by Jonathan Foer: This popular book provides a truly eye-opening look at the food and farming industries that can put your meat-free lifestyle into perspective. It’s a poignant moral examination of our food and lifestyle choices.
Plant-Based on a Budget by Toni Okamoto: It’s also a good idea to invest in some solid vegan recipe books so that you don’t get stuck eating the same boring thing every day. We love the budget-friendly, easy-to-prepare meal ideas in this particular cookbook.
Whether you decide to go vegan for the environment, animal welfare, or simply want a clean healthy diet, the temptation to dive in immediately in can be overwhelming. To have long-term success with a plant-based lifestyle, it’s important to transition slowly. You can and should still finish any non-vegan groceries in your house, then swap them out for plant-based alternatives when you replace them.
Nature’s Bakery Whole Wheat Fig Bars: You should focus on replacing the small stuff first. Swapping out traditional granola bars that likely contain milk or honey for a vegan snack bar is an easy and attainable goal to start with, and these are a delicious fruity breakfast option on the go.
Clif Bar Best Sellers Variety Pack: If you prefer something denser and with a little peanut butter or chocolate, then this is an excellent protein-dense choice great for after workouts or as an afternoon snack.
Many of us think that it would be nearly impossible to sacrifice the flavors of our favorite meaty dishes, but the truth is, you don’t have to. You might be surprised to learn just how easy it is to replace many of your favorite meat-based meals with veggie options if you have the right seasoning.
Edward & Sons Not-Chick’n Cubes: For chicken-style meals, you can find a number of imitation poultry bullion cubes that you’d never know were vegan. These are super easy to use and they’re gluten-free as well.
Old Bay Seasoning: Did you know mushrooms, either from the supermarket or locally foraged, can easily replace decadent seafood like scallops? Just sprinkle some Old Bay on them and you’re good to go.
Kamenstein 16-Jar Revolving Countertop Spice Rack: Of course, seasoning goes well beyond meat substitutes. In order to elevate every dish you make, you’re going to need a variety of spices on hand. This rack comes with pre-filled jars and is an easy way to get all of the basic spices you’ll need to get started.
McCormick Organic Spice Gift Set: If you don’t have the counter space for a traditional spinning spice rack, then this wall-mountable option is an excellent alternative that includes even more spices and herbs.
Have the right tools
There are a few essential kitchen appliances and accessories that will make transitioning to a plant-focused diet easy, and dare we say, fun.
Prep Naturals Glass Meal Prep Containers: One common complaint about vegan cooking is that it’s time-consuming. If you don’t have a lot of spare time to set aside for cooking during the week, then doing a large meal prep day on the weekend will save some serious time. These containers make storing your meals for the week simple. Vitamix E310 Explorian Blender: Next up, you’ll need a good blender. From banana ice cream to nut-based cheese sauce and every breakfast smoothie and creamy sauce in between, you can never go wrong with a Vitamix.
The general assumption is that veganism is healthy, and it certainly can be. However, just because certain foods are vegan doesn’t mean they’re inherently healthy. You can’t live off of a diet of french fries with a side of Oreos, for example.
So be sure that you’re still getting all of the protein and vitamins that are essential to a healthy diet. Black beans, lentils, spinach, quinoa, and bok choy are just a few of many protein-dense vegetables that should be incorporated in your meals.
Orgain Organic Plant-Based Protein Powder: If you’re worried about getting enough protein, then adding some vegan protein powder to baked goods, smoothies, and more is an easy way to get your daily requirements.
Anthony’s Premium Nutritional Yeast Flakes: B12 is also essential to a healthy well-balanced diet. Since this nutrient is naturally found in animal products, vegans will have to look for alternatives. Nutritional yeast is full of B12 and has a mouth-watering nutty, cheesy flavor. It can be sprinkled on top of popcorn or pasta or used in any number of cheesy recipes for a B12 boost.
Nature Made Vitamin B12: Nutritional yeast alone may not be enough, but luckily there are a number of supplements available that will ensure you’re getting enough of this helpful nutrient.
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Along with the iconic Hunter rainboot, the company has a huge collection of items that use no animal materials or animal by-products during the manufacturing process.
Upon first consideration, anyone who avoids animals products might not worry that their Wellington boots were not vegan. But that’s the thing about avoiding animal products – they show up in very surprising places. If plastic bags and bicycle tires may not be vegan, why not rubber boots?
Which is why I love this great initiative by Hunter, the maker of iconic rubber boots. They have created a “vegan edit” in which they’ve singled out all of their vegan products in a special section, to the delight of rubber-boot wearing vegans everywhere. Vegan items also display a vegan symbol (below) in online descriptions and on product tags to make it clear.
“Increasingly, we are being asked which products within the Hunter collection are vegan,” notes the company. “Because of our commitment to using natural rubber, many of our iconic and best-selling rain boots are, in fact, already vegan.”
At this point, they have a whopping 278 products certified as 100 percent vegan, meaning they were all made without using any animal materials or animal by-products during the manufacturing process. The vegan edit has been PETA approved. and includes the classic Original Tall boot, as well as best-selling styles like the Original Short, Original Chelsea, Play and Refined boots.
The company has come a long way from being just makers of wellies – they have all kinds of other apparel and accessories, including many things to keep warm; many of which are traditionally made with things like wool and down. So it’s nice to see plenty of cozy vegan items in the edit as well.
Meanwhile, if you are wondering about all that rubber that goes into the making of all those rubber boots – we are right there with you. The company says they are committed to respecting “human rights, animal welfare and the environment.” Which means, as far as the rubber is concerned, it is all natural and sourced from plantations in China, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam. In a sustainability statement, the company explains that they “recently signed a Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) position statement on the responsible sourcing of natural rubber, it commits to sourcing rubber from deforestation-free, environmentally- conscious and socially responsible natural rubber.”
I discovered something else about the company that I didn’t know, which is they started a charity initiative in 2012 called Hunter Donated. Since then, they have donated 116,335 fully functional waterproof Wellington boots to their global charity partners around the world.
“Hunter Donated has provided boots in response to natural disasters in Haiti and Puerto Rico as well as to development organisations in Cambodia and to local farmers in East Timor,” says the company. “So far, we have reached thousands of people across four continents.”
Macy’s has announced it will end the sale of fur across its stores, notching a major win for animal rights activists.
The US retailer joins a growing number of brands, cities and states turning away from the use of products made with animal fur. Prada, Ralph Lauren, Gucci and Burberry have already dropped real fur.
While Macy’s is not the first US department store to end fur sales – JCPenney and Sears have already done so – the move is significant because of the company’s enormous size and reach. With sales of more than $24bn in 2018, and hundreds of stores in nearly every state, the decision will make the company the largest US retailer so far to adopt a ban.
Plans are to phase out real fur by the end of 2020’s fiscal year at Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s and its discount outlets.
Earlier this month, in a pair of bills signed by the state’s governor, Gavin Newsom, California became the first US state to ban the sale and manufacture of new fur products and the third to bar most animals from use in circus performances. Los Angeles and San Francisco had banned fur sales even before Newsom signed the bills.
Macy’s chairman and chief executive officer, Jeff Gennette, said in a statement that over the past two years the company has been following consumer brand trends, listening to customers and non-governmental groups such as the Humane Society of the United States.
“We are proud to partner with the Humane Society of the United States in our commitment to ending the sale of fur. We remain committed to providing great fashion and value to our customers, and we will continue to offer high-quality and fashionable faux fur alternatives,” Gennette said.
Kitty Block, the president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, applauded Macy’s decision.
“This announcement is consistent with the views of countless consumers in the marketplace, and other retailers should follow. With so many designers, major cities and now a state taking a stand against the sale of fur, we’re that much closer to ending this unnecessary and inhumane practice,” Block said in a statement.
Animal rights advocates argue that animals whose fur is taken for products are subject to cruel treatment and inhumane actions, such as gassing and electrocution. One advocacy group, Direct Action Everywhere, is working with activists to pass similar bills in cities nationwide, including Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Portland, Oregon.
But opponents in the fur industry say the bans could create a black market for animal fur and lead to arbitrary bans on other products. Keith Kaplan of the Fur Information Council previously said the ban was part of a “radical vegan agenda using fur as the first step to other bans on what we wear and eat”.
PJ Smith, the director of fashion policy at the Humane Society, said he believed the shift in the fashion industry was being driven by a younger, more socially conscious generation of consumers.
“Across the board the industry has moved away from fur. I think the consumer is really speaking up on this and we’re at a time when retailers really want to align their policies to what customers want,” Smith said.
Macy’s has about 680 department stores in 43 states, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico under the names Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s. It has about 190 specialty stores that include Bloomingdale’s the Outlet, Bluemercury and Macy’s Backstage.
Vegan musician and photographer Bryan Adams says killing animals for food is ‘f*cking up the planet’.
The rock icon made the statement in a recent Instagram post.
He shared an image of himself wearing a T-shirt saying ‘please stop killing whales’, and accompanied it with a caption talking about what he described as the ‘magnificent giants’.
‘F*cking up the planet’
“Just the fact that this T-shirt has to get printed blows my mind. I remember the save the whales campaign from the 1970s,” Adams wrote.
“Even after years of people campaigning to stop whaling, there are still countries that persist like Japan, St Vincent/Bequia, the Faroe Islands and Norway that consider it acceptable to kill these magnificent giants.
“There’s no need for it, despite any cultural or aboriginal claims of sustainability. The future is recognizing that killing animals for food is fucking up the planet.”
Adams, a longtime vegan advocate, has previously spoken out about the benefits of a plant-based diet for human health, the environment, and for animals.
“Being sympathetic to animal rights is just something that came very naturally to me,” he once told vegan charity PETA. “Perhaps because I used to have dogs growing up, and you know they became part of the family. And it never occurred to me growing up. I never put the whole thing of animal cruelty and that together as a youngster.
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The vegan meat market is booming. As consumer attitudes change, supermarkets, fast-food chains, pubs, restaurants, and even fish and chip shops are jumping on the vegan wagon. But there seems to be a catch that comes with eating vegan meat products — especially if you buy them straight from the store — in many instances, they’re more expensive.
It’s a fact that cannot (and should not) be ignored, but is it one that is going to change anytime soon? Many think it is. According to Liz Specht Ph.D., a senior scientist at the Good Food Institute (GFI), price parity with vegan meat and its animal-based counterpart is just around the corner.
“Industrial animal agriculture has been operating and optimizing at a global scale for decades,” she explained in a post on GFI’s website. “Yet it is still inherently more efficient to make meat directly from plants rather than feeding our crops to animals and then eating a part of the animal.” She added, “It’s all but inevitable that the plant-based meat industry will eventually be cost-competitive with conventional meat.”
Why Is Vegan Meat Currently More Expensive?
According to Specht, vegan meat is currently more expensive for a number of reasons. It’s partly due to the fact that brands are operating in a “free market.” They must maximize their profit, and this means charging consumers more.
“Companies like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods are currently producing as much as they can and are still unable to meet demand,” writes Specht. “There is no reason for them to charge less than consumers will pay at this time — moving down the supply/demand curve would not allow them to sell more products.”
She continues, “Lowering prices would just lower their revenue, which would, in turn, hurt their ability to scale and meet demand.”
Another reason is that while the vegan meat market is growing at a rapid rate, currently, it remains small. This means that brands have a harder time negotiating prices for their ingredients — such as soybeans or peas. The market is also currently at a place where it lacks the same infrastructure as animal agriculture. “The current scale of plant-based meat companies also limits their manufacturing facility design, equipment, and other technologies,” notes Specht.
“Even the largest plant-based meat production facilities look like boutique operations compared to the scale of manufacturing facilities for conventional meat products and other common food products,” she adds.
When vegan meat brands have a bigger share of the overall meat market, production methods will evolve, explains Specht, increasing efficiency and inevitably reducing cost.
One of the other factors to consider when looking at the price of vegan meat products is the cost of research and development. UK veggie and vegan meat brand Quorn, for example, recently invested £7 million into researching and developing its own “bleeding” plant-based burger.
As smaller brands find their feet and “secure their market position,” less money will be poured into this research and development, says Specht.
How Long Until Vegan Meat Falls In Price?
Vegan meat could fall in price pretty soon.
The market is consistently growing. It’s currently worth around $1 billion, but this is expected to increase by 4,000 percent in the next decade, potentially reaching a worth of more than $40 billion.
The growth could be partly due to Beyond Meat’s recent IPO. The California-based brand — responsible for the “bleeding” Beyond Burger — went public in May. It was the first-ever company of its kind to do so. Initially, the IPO was priced at $25 a share, but this rose to $65 at the end of the first day. Stocks are now valued at around $99.
Primary competitor Impossible Foods has also seen huge success in recent months. It partnered with fast-food giant Burger King to launch the Impossible Whopper — a vegan meat version of the chain’s signature beef-filled Whopper sandwich. The vegan trial — conducted in 59 locations in Missouri — went “exceedingly well,” and the burger is now being rolled out across the U.S.
“[The] tipping point may hit relatively soon,” notes Specht. “Given the recent flurry of activity reflecting new production capacity among the existing plant-based meat companies and the involvement of new entrants with massive resources.”
The market is growing so quickly that existing major companies want in, like meat giant Tyson Foods and multinational corporation Nestlé. The latter has already rolled out the plant-based Incredible Burger across Europe, which features on McDonald’s menus in Germany and Israel. It also intends to roll out the similar Awesome Burger in the U.S. in the fall, under its Sweet Earth brand.
Tyson Foods — the world’s second largest processor and marketer of chicken, beef, and pork — announced earlier this year it will be joining the vegan meat market this summer.
Specht adds, “once plant-based achieves sufficient market penetration to tap into these emerging opportunities to optimize raw materials and make production more efficient, the industry will enter a bright new era of accessibility and affordability that will benefit both consumers and producers.”
Could Anything Stifle The Growth Of The Vegan Meat Market?
Some have criticized the vegan meat market. In Mississipi, plant-based foods that emulate meat cannot be labeled as meat or a meat-based product on the packaging. So, brands cannot market soy or pea protein-based products, for example, as “meatless meatballs” or “vegetarian bacon.” The reason for the law is that some members of the meat industry believe that consumers will be misled by this use of terminology.
But many vegan organizations and brands — such as the Plant Based Foods Association (PBFA) and Upton’s Naturals, which are suing the state of Mississipi over the law — maintain that using this sort of language helps consumers understand what the product will taste like.
“People are not confused by terms like ‘veggie burger’ or ‘vegan hot dog,’” said Justin Pearson, a managing attorney at the Institute of Justice, in a statement. The institute is backing the PBFA and Upton’s Naturals lawsuit. He continued, “To the contrary, those terms tell consumers that they are buying exactly what they want: a plant-based alternative to animal meat.”
Daniel Staackmaan — the founder of Upton’s Naturals — added, “Mississippi’s law is not about clearing up consumer confusion, it’s about stifling competition and putting plant-based companies at a disadvantage in the marketplace.”
The Future Is Innovation
Despite challenges from the meat industry, it’s unlikely the vegan meat market will slow down anytime soon. The food industry is innovating, just like the tech industry has and continues to do, says GFI on its website.
“Unlike at any other moment in history, we now have the ability to blend imagination with design to improve the world around us,” notes the organization. “An array of inventions has improved lives for billions of people across the globe. Smartphones allow farmers and textile workers in the developing world to start small businesses and move out of desperate poverty.”
“Modern air travel and the internet have made travel and information more accessible than previous generations could have even imagined,” it continues. “Now, that same spirit of innovation is coming to our dinner plates. Just as modern automobiles replaced the horse and buggy, better alternatives will replace conventional animal agriculture.”
As it stands, animal agriculture brings with it a wealth of environmental problems. Last year, the United Nations labeled tackling meat consumption as one of the world’s biggest problems. It also jointly honored Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods with the Champion of the Earth award.
“Our use of animals as a food-production technology has brought us to the verge of catastrophe,” said the UN Environment in a press release at the time. “The destructive impact of animal agriculture on our environment far exceeds that of any other technology on Earth.”
“The global community can eliminate the need for animals in the food system by shifting the protein at the center of the plate to plant-based meat,” it continued. “For their pioneering work towards reducing our dependence on animal-based foods, Ethan Brown [CEO of Beyond Meat] and O’Reilly Brown [CEO of Impossible Foods] have been selected 2018 Champions of the Earth in the category or science and innovation.”