Factory Farm Conditions Are Unhealthy for Animals and Bad for People, Too

In 2014, the Review on Antimicrobial Resistance, commissioned by the U.K. government and Wellcome Trust, estimated that 700,000 people around the world die each year due to drug-resistant infections. A follow-up report two years later showed no change in this estimate of casualties. Without action, that number could grow to 10 million per year by 2050. A leading cause of antibiotic resistance? The misuse and overuse of antibiotics on factory farms.

Flourishing antibiotic resistance is just one of the many public health crises produced by factory farming. Other problems include foodborne illness, flu epidemics, the fallout from poor air and water quality, and chronic disease. All of it can be traced to the current industrial approach to raising animals for food, which puts a premium on “high stocking density,” wherein productivity is measured by how many animals are crammed into a feeding facility.

Oversight for the way factory farms operate and manage waste is minimal at best. No federal agency collects consistent and reliable information on the number, size and location of large-scale agricultural operations, nor the pollution they’re emitting. There are also no federal laws governing the conditions in which farm animals are raised, and most state anti-cruelty laws do not apply to farm animals.

For example, Texas, Iowa and Nebraska have excluded livestock from their animal cruelty statute and instead created specific legislation aimed at farm animal abuse that makes accepted or customary husbandry practices the animal welfare standard.

After New Jersey created similar legislation, the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals sued the New Jersey Department of Agriculture, claiming that “routine husbandry practices” was too vague. The New Jersey Society won, and as a result, the state’s Department of Agriculture has created more specific regulations.

In North Carolina, any person or organization can file a lawsuit if they suspect animal cruelty, even if that person does not have “possessory or ownership rights in an animal.” In this way, the state has “a civil remedy” for farm animal cruelty.

Still, the general lack of governmental oversight of factory farms results in cramped and filthy conditions, stressed-out animals and workers, and an ideal setup for the rampant spread of disease among animals, between animals and workers, and into the surrounding environment through animal waste.

Antibiotic Resistance

The problem: In 2017, nearly 11 million kilograms of antibiotics — including 5.6 million kilograms of medically important antibiotics — were sold in the U.S. for factory-farmed animals. Factory farms use antibiotics to make livestock grow faster and control the spread of disease in cramped and unhealthy living conditions. While antibiotics do kill some bacteria in animals, resistant bacteria can, and often do, survive and multiply, contaminating meat and animal products during slaughter and processing.

What it means for you: People can be exposed to antibiotic-resistant bacteria by handling or eating contaminated animal products, coming into contact with contaminated water or touching farm animals, which of course makes a farmworker’s job especially hazardous. Even if you don’t eat much meat or dairy, you’re vulnerable: Resistant pathogens can enter water streams through animal manure and contaminate irrigated produce.

Developments: The European Union has been much more aggressive than the U.S. in regulating antibiotic use on factory farms, banning the use of all antibiotics for growth promotion in 2006. But the U.S. is making some progress, too. Under new rules issued by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which went into effect in January 2017, antibiotics that are important for human medicine can no longer be used for growth promotion or feed efficiency in cows, pigs, chickens, turkeys and other animals raised for food.

Additionally, 95 percent of medically important antibiotics used in animal water and feed for therapeutic purposes were reclassified so they can no longer be purchased over the counter, and a veterinarian would have to sign off for their use in animals. As a result, domestic sales and distribution of medically important antimicrobials approved for use in factory farmed animals decreased by 43 percent from 2015 (the year of peak sales) through 2017, reports the FDA.

However, the agency still allows routine antibiotic use in factory farms for disease prevention in crowded and stressed animals, so these new rules aren’t nearly enough, says Matthew Wellington, antibiotics program director for the U.S. Public Interest Research Group Education Fund.

“The FDA should implement ambitious reduction targets for antibiotic use in the meat industry, and ensure that these medicines are used to treat sick animals or control a verified disease outbreak, not for routine disease prevention,” Wellington said in a statement, according to the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy.

National Resources Defense Council Senior Attorney Avinash Kar agrees. “Far more antibiotics important to humans still go to cows and pigs — usually when they’re not sick — than to people, putting the health of every single one of us in jeopardy.”

Water and Pollution

The problem: Livestock in this country produce between 3 and 20 times more waste than people in the U.S. produce, according to a 2005 report issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). That’s as much as 1.2-1.37 billion tons of manure a year. Some estimates are even higher.

Manure can contain “pathogens such as E. coli, growth hormones, antibiotics, chemicals used as additives to the manure or to clean equipment, animal blood, silage leachate from corn feed, or copper sulfate used in footbaths for cows,” according to a 2010 report by the National Association of Local Boards of Health. Though sewage treatment plants are required for human waste, no such treatment facility exists for livestock waste.

Since this amount far exceeds what can be used as fertilizer, animal waste from factory farms typically enters massive, open-air waste lagoons, which spread airborne pathogens to people who live nearby. If animal waste is applied as fertilizer and exceeds the soil’s capacity for absorption, or if there is a leak or break in the manure storage or containment unit, the animal waste runs off into oceans, lakes, rivers, streams and groundwater.

Extreme weather increases the possibility of such breaks. Hurricane Florence, for example, flooded at least 50 hog lagoons when it struck the Carolinas last year, and satellite photos captured the damage.

Whether or not the manure is contained or spread as fertilizer, it can release many different types of harmful gases, including ammonia and hydrogen sulfide, as well as particulate matter comprised of fecal matter, feed materials, pollen, bacteria, fungi, skin cells and silicates, into the air.

What it means for you: Pathogens can cause diarrhea and severe illness or even death for those with weakened immune systems, and nitrates in drinking water have been connected to neural tube defects and limb deficiencies in newborns (among other things), as well as miscarriages and poor general health. For infants, it can mean blue baby syndrome and even death.

Gases like ammonia and hydrogen sulfide can cause dizziness, eye irritation, respiratory illness, nausea, sore throats, seizures, comas and death. Particulate matter in the air can lead to chronic bronchitis, chronic respiratory symptoms, declines in lung function and organic dust toxic syndrome. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that children raised in communities near factory farms are more likely to develop asthma or bronchitis, and that people who live near factory farms may experience mental health deterioration and increased sensitization to smells.

Developments: It is difficult to hold factory farms accountable for polluting surrounding air and water, largely for political reasons. The GOP-controlled Congress and the Trump administration excused big livestock farms from reporting air emissions, for instance, following a decade-long push for special treatment by the livestock industry.

The exemption indicates “further denial of the impact that these [emissions] are having, whether it’s on climate or whether it’s on public health,” says Carrie Apfel, an attorney for Earthjustice. In a 2017 report from the EPA’s Office of the Inspector General, the agency admitted it has not found a good way to track emissions from factory farms and know whether the farms are complying with the Clean Air Act.

No federal agency even has reliable information on the number and locations of factory farms, which of course makes accountability even harder to establish.

Foodborne Illness

The problem: The United States has “shockingly high levels of foodborne illness,” according to an investigation jointly conducted by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism and The Guardian, and unsanitary conditions at factory farms are a leading contributor.

Studying 47 meat plants across the U.S., investigators found that hygiene incidents occur at rates experts described as “deeply worrying.” One dataset covered 13 large red meat and poultry plants between 2015 and 2017 and found an average of more than 150 violations a week, and 15,000 violations over the entire period. Violations included unsanitary factory conditions and meat contaminated with blood, septicemic disease and feces.

“The rates at which outbreaks of infectious food poisoning occur in the U.S. are significantly higher than in the UK, or the EU,” Erik Millstone, a food safety expert at Sussex University told the Guardian.

Poor sanitary practices allow bacteria like E. coli and Salmonella, which live in the intestinal tracts of infected livestock, to contaminate meat or animal products during slaughter or processing. Contamination occurs at higher rates on factory farms because crowded and unclean living conditions increase the likelihood of transmission between animals.

It also stresses out animals, which suppresses their immune response, making them more susceptible to disease. The grain-based diets used to fatten cattle can also quickly increase the risk of E. coli infection. In poultry, the practice of processing dead hens into “spent hen meal” to be fed to live hens has increased the spread of Salmonella.

What it means for you: According to the CDC, roughly 48 million people in the U.S. suffer from foodborne illnesses annually, with 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths each year. Salmonella accounts for approximately 11 percent of infections, and kills more people every year than any other bacterial foodborne illness.

Developments: In January 2011, President Obama signed the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), the first major piece of federal legislation addressing food safety since 1938. FSMA grants the FDA new authority to regulate the way food is grown, harvested and processed, and new powers such as mandatory recall authority.

The FSMA “basically codified this principle that everybody responsible for producing food should be doing what the best science says is appropriate to prevent hazards and reduce the risk of illness,” according to Mike Taylor, co-chairman of Stop Foodborne Illness and a former deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine at the FDA. “So we’re moving in the right direction.”

However, almost a decade later, the FSMA is still being phased in, due to a shortage of trained food-inspectors and a lack of funding. “Congress has gotten about halfway to what it said was needed to successfully implement” the Act, Taylor said.

The Flu

The problem: Both the number and density of animals on factory farms increase the risk of new virulent pathogens, according to the U.S. Council for Agriculture, Science and Technology. In addition, transporting animals over long distances to processing facilities brings different influenza strains into contact with each other so they combine and spread quickly.

Pigs — susceptible to both avian and human flu viruses — can serve as ground zero for all sorts of new strains. Because of intensive pig farming practices, “the North American swine flu virus has jumped onto an evolutionary fast track, churning out variants every year,” according to a report published in the journal Science.

What it means for you: These viruses can become pandemics. In fact, viral geneticists link the genetic lineage of H1N1, a kind of swine flu, to a strain that emerged in 1998 in U.S. factory pig farms. The CDC has estimated that between 151,700 and 575,400 people worldwide died from the 2009 H1N1 virus infection during the first year the virus circulated.

Breast, Prostate and Colon Cancer

The problem: Factory farms in the U.S. use hormones to stimulate growth in an estimated two-thirds of beef cattle. On dairy farms, around 54 percent of cows are injected with recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH), a growth hormone that increases milk production.

What it means for you: The health effects of consuming animal products treated with these growth hormones is an ongoing international debate. Some studies have linked growth hormone residues in meat to reproductive issues and breast, prostate and colon cancer, and IGF-1, an insulin-like growth hormone, has been linked to colon and breast cancer. However, the FDA, the National Institutes of Health and the World Health Organization have independently found that dairy products and meat from cows treated with rBGH are safe for human consumption.

Because risk assessments vary, the EU, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Israel and Argentina have banned the use of rBGH as a precautionary measure. The EU has also banned the use of six hormones in cattle and imported beef.

Developments: U.S. Department of Agriculture guidelines allow beef products to be labeled with “no hormones administered” and dairy products to be labeled “from cows not treated with rBST/rBGH” if the producer provides sufficient documentation that this is true. Consumers can use this information to make their own decisions about the risks associated with hormone-treated animal products.

What You Can Do

You can vote for local initiatives that establish health and welfare regulations for factory farms, but only a tiny number of states, including California and Massachusetts, are even putting relevant propositions on the ballot.

Another option is to support any of the nonprofits that are, in lieu of effective government action, taking these factory farms to task. The Environmental Working GroupEarthjustice and the Animal Legal Defense Fund are among those working hard to check the worst practices of these factory farms. Another good organization is the Socially Responsible Agricultural Project, which works with local residents to fight the development of factory farms in their own backyards.

Buying humanely raised animal products from farms and farmers you trust is another way to push back against factory farming. Sadly, products from these smaller farms make up only a fraction of the total. In the U.S., roughly 99 percent of chickens, turkeys, eggs and pork, and 70 percent of cows, are raised on factory farms.

You can support lab-grown “clean” burgers, chicken and pork by buying it once it becomes widely available. Made from animal cells, the process completely spares the animal and eliminates the factory farm. “The resulting product is 100 percent real meat, but without the antibiotics, E. coliSalmonella, or waste contamination,” writes the Good Food Institute.

In the meantime, you can register your objection to factory farming by doing your bit to reduce demand for their products. In short, eat less meat and dairy, and more plant-based proteins.

More than $13 billion has been invested in plant-based meat, egg and dairy companies in 2017 and 2018 alone, according to the Good Food Institute, and Beyond Meat’s initial public offering debut in May marked the most successful one since the year 2000.

Lest you think that what you do on your own can’t possibly make a difference, consider one of the major drivers behind all this new investment: consumers are demanding change.

“Shifting consumer values have created a favorable market for alternatives to animal-based foods, and we have already seen fast-paced growth in this space across retail and foodservice markets,” says Bruce Friedrich, executive director of the Good Food Institute.

This article was produced as part of a partnership between Stone Pier Press and Earth | Food | Life, a project of the Independent Media Institute. An earlier version appeared on Stone Pier Press.

Protecting Purity from Pollution, or Protecting Pollution from Purity?

No photo description available.

*The Golden Age, Garden of Eden, and Thanksgiving Myth of Origin*

*By Karen Davis PhD, President, United Poultry Concerns *
This article was first published Nov. 26, 2019 on the *Animals 24-7*

* “The question before us is, which images of the universe, of power, *
* of animals, of ourselves, will we represent in our food?” *
– Carol J. Adams, *The Sexual Politics of Meat*, p. 202.

*How Will a “Myth of Origin” Be Used?*

People look to the mythic past for prototypes in order to propagate some
plan or
hope for the present and future, to protect existing traditions and
outlooks, or
to advance new practices and prospects from elements within the myths that
not yet been exploited. This is the true use of the Golden Age and the
Garden of
Eden and other myths of origin, including the American myth of Thanksgiving.

Myths of origin act as informing principles of existence. In this sense
they can
promote ethical insight and change, or they can be invoked ironically to
the “fallen world” from the infiltration of ethical progress. This is how
have mainly been used with respect to how we view and treat the other
members of
the animal kingdom to which we ourselves belong.

*”Traditions” Evolve and Change*

How a myth of origin will be used is primarily a matter of desire and will,
in a word, motivation, because people in reality constantly change their
traditions to conform to whatever else they believe or identify with.

The American Thanksgiving, which is rooted in ancient harvest festival
traditions, has been “recreated” many times over; fabricated, as James W.
shows in his chapter, “The Truth about the First Thanksgiving” in his book
*My Teacher Told Me*.

Arguably, says Elizabeth Pleck in *Celebrating the Family*, vegetarians who
hours preparing a tofu turkey or a chestnut casserole from scratch express
spirit of Thanksgiving more authentically than the turkey takeout people do,
while taking the American tradition of the pioneer to a new level of
and nurture.

*Turning Flesh into Fruit*

Substitution of new materials for previously used ones to celebrate a
is an integral part of tradition. In the religious realm, if we can
animal flesh for human flesh, and bread and wine for “all flesh” and the
shedding of innocent blood in communion services, and can view these
changes as
advances of civilization, not as inferior substitutes for genuine religious
experience, then we are ready to go forward in our everyday lives on ground
is already laid.

Could the religions of the world ever reach the point of respecting “all
not in false ceremonies of compassion, but in actual fact? *For if God can
*flesh, then flesh can become fruit.*

Technologically, this transformation, this substitution, has already
People have demanded it, and technology can meet the demand.

If the Peaceable Kingdom is a genuine desire and a practicable prospect,
meat is the food to which dead meat has aspired, and the animal-free meat
are as deserving as anyone of the Nobel Prize for Peace.

*Disgust at the Thought of Meat*

In the past, says Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, author of *The Evolving Self and*
*Creativity*, “our limbic system learned to produce disgust at the smell of
meat. Now we might be learning to experience disgust at the thought of
meat in the first place – thanks to values that are the result of

The cultural turkey in America is a model figure that allows us to examine
attitudes and the values they imply, like the values implicit in creating
laughingstocks and innocent victims in order to feel thankful, and the
values of
a nation that ritually constitutes itself by consuming an animal – one,
moreover, that it despises and mocks as part of a patriotic celebration
memorializing the wholesome virtues of family life.

In The “Thanksgiving” Turkey: Object of Sentimentality, Sarcasm, and
I draw attention to the moral ecology surrounding the Thanksgiving turkey,
miasma arising from the traditional holiday meal. The ritual taunting of the
sacrificial bird conducted by the media each year – what if this
foreplay and blood sacrifice were taken away?

What elements of Thanksgiving would remain?

*Decomposing Turkey Ghosts*

Hunters claim that the killing they do is incidental to their joy of being
the woods, and turkey eaters claim that the carnage they inflict is
to their appetite for togetherness.

Yet the carnage perpetrated by both is the one thing in the midst of other
changes on which these people stand firm, as if Plymouth Rock amounted in
final analysis to little more than a pile of meat, just as the symbol of
happiness is portrayed in the final epiphany of Scrooge in Charles Dickens’
*Christmas Carol*, published in 1843. There, under the aspect of the Ghost
Christmas Present, Scrooge mounts a pile of flesh as a foretaste of his
social redemption and return to life’s pleasures:

“Heaped up on the floor, to form a kind of throne, were turkeys, geese,
poultry, brawn, great joints of meat, suckling-pigs, [and] long wreaths of

Scrooge’s first charitable act following his nightmares is to purchase “the
prize Turkey” hanging upside down at the butcher shop.

*Free All Spirits from Inflicted Suffering*

It is time for the Ghosts of Christmas Past and Present to include the
ghosts of
all those turkeys who were murdered for the meals of “Scrooge.” It is time
all future turkey ghosts to be freed from haunting the table.

Slowly this pile of avian ghosts may be rotting away. As the present century
proceeds in America, the conflict between vegans and flesh eaters, between
animal rights people and the rest of society, crystalizes at Thanksgiving.

As the single most visible animal symbol in America, the de facto symbol of
nation, the turkey focuses our conflict and marks its progress in a holiday
which personal values and cultural ideals come together, or clash, most


Carol J. Adams. *The Sexual Politics of Meat: A Feminist-Vegetarian
New York: Continuum, 1990. New edition published by Bloomsbury
Revelations, 2015.

Mihály Csíkszentmihályi. “It’s All in Your Head.” *Washington Post Book
May 16, 1999, 3.

Karen Davis. *More Than a Meal: The Turkey in History, Myth, Ritual, and
New York: Lantern Books, 2001.

Charles Dickens. *A Christmas Carol and Other Haunting Tales*. New York:
New York
Public Library-Doubleday, 1998. First published 1843. See Karen Davis, *More
*a Meal*, 59-60.

James W. Loewen. *Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History*
*Textbook Got Wrong* <https://thenewpress.com/books/lies-my-teacher-told-me>.
New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995. New revised edition
published by The Free Press, 2018.

Elizabeth H. Pleck. *Celebrating the Family: Ethnicity, Consumer Culture,
*Family Rituals*. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2000.


*See Also:*

– Turkeys: Sympathy, Sensibility, and Sentience
– The “Thanksgiving” Turkey: Object of Sentimentality, Sarcasm, and
– Cutie, My Precious Turkey, Was a True Joy to Me
– Peeper: A Story of Unending Love

Vast animal-feed crops to satisfy our meat needs are destroying planet

WWF report finds 60% of global biodiversity loss is down to meat-based diets which put huge strain on Earth’s resources

Workers on tractors harvest soybeans in the deforested land of Campo Novo do Parecis, in the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso.
 Workers on tractors harvest soybeans in the deforested land of Campo Novo do Parecis, in the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso. Photograph: Maurilio Cheli/AP

The ongoing global appetite for meat is having a devastating impact on the environment driven by the production of crop-based feed for animals, a new report has warned.

The vast scale of growing crops such as soy to rear chickens, pigs and other animals puts an enormous strain on natural resources leading to the wide-scale loss of land and species, according to the study from the conservation charity WWF.

Intensive and industrial animal farming also results in less nutritious food, it reveals, highlighting that six intensively reared chickens today have the same amount of omega-3 as found in just one chicken in the 1970s.

The study entitled Appetite for Destruction launches on Thursday at the 2017 Extinction and Livestock Conference in London, in conjunction with Compassion in World Farming (CIFW), and warns of the vast amount of land needed to grow the crops used for animal feed and cites some of the world’s most vulnerable areas such as the Amazon, Congo Basin and the Himalayas.

The report and conference come against a backdrop of alarming revelations of industrial farming. Last week a Guardian/ITV investigation showed chicken factory staff in the UK changing crucial food safety information.

Protein-rich soy is now produced in such huge quantities that the average European consumes approximately 61kg each year, largely indirectly by eating animal products such as chicken, pork, salmon, cheese, milk and eggs.

In 2010, the British livestock industry needed an area the size of Yorkshire to produce the soy used in feed. But if global demand for meat grows as expected, the report says, soy production would need to increase by nearly 80% by 2050.

“The world is consuming more animal protein than it needs and this is having a devastating effect on wildlife,” said Duncan Williamson, WWF food policy manager. “A staggering 60% of global biodiversity loss is down to the food we eat. We know a lot of people are aware that a meat-based diet has an impact on water and land, as well as causing greenhouse gas emissions, but few know the biggest issue of all comes from the crop-based feed the animals eat.”

With 23bn chickens, turkeys, geese, ducks and guinea fowl on the planet – more than three per person – the biggest user of crop-based feed globally is poultry. The second largest, with 30% of the world’s feed in 2009, is the pig industry.

In the UK, pork is the second favourite meat after chicken, with each person eating on average 25kg a year in 2015 – nearly the whole recommended yearly intake for all meats. UK nutritional guidelines recommend 45-55g of protein per day, but the average UK consumption is 64-88g, of which 37% is meat and meat products.

The vegans are coming, and we might join them

Package of lab-grown meat.

Jiraroj Praditcharoenkul/iStock

In replicating the look and taste of real meat, companies are appealing to the mainstream consumer

Some Burger Kings recently introduced a new version of the iconic Whopper with its signature flame-broiled beef patty swapped for a meatless replica that the company claims is virtually indistinguishable from the real thing.

It’s called the Impossible Whopper, and it’s the latest iteration of the trend of vegan food intended to appeal to the average consumer. So appealing is it, in fact, that the restaurant intends to roll out the new take on its signature sandwich in all 7,200 stores nationwide by the end of this year. White Castle has been selling a slider version of the Impossible Burger in its almost 400 stores since last year. In January, more than 1,000 Carl’s Jr. restaurants started offering a vegetarian burger made by Beyond Meat, which, like the Impossible Burger, tries to replicate real beef. It even appears to bleed. Restaurants and supermarkets also stock the products.

“What this is, is the mainstreaming process,” said Nina Gheihman, a Ph.D. candidate in sociology at Harvard’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS). She researches how veganism, a historically marginal practice, has become a popular lifestyle choice as the demand for healthier, more sustainable food has grown in recent years. “Especially in the past three to five years, veganism has really transformed from this fringe animal-rights movement into a lifestyle movement,” she said.

It has done so by shifting from a strategy focused on convincing consumers to abandon animal products for ethical reasons to using technology to satisfy those meat cravings, Gheihman said.

When it comes to meat, the idea is to get people to give it up without feeling like they’re giving it up. The leaders in this field are the vegan tech companies looking to mimic and replace meat and other animal products using one of two approaches: plant-based or cell-based.

The plant-based “meat” approach, led by companies like Impossible Foods, the one behind the Impossible Burger, and Beyond Meat, both based in California, combines high-protein vegetables like peas and soybeans to replicate the taste, texture, and look of meat. The “blood” in the Beyond Meat burger, for example, is beet juice. The meatlike texture and taste of the Impossible Burger comes from genetically modified yeast that is used to create the burger’s central ingredient, soy leghemoglobin, or “heme.”

The cell-based approach, led by companies like Memphis Meats and Mosa Meat, is science fiction made real in a laboratory. Workers take cells from animals like cows, chicken, or turkeys and grow specific products in a culture dish — steak, chicken breast, or turkey nuggets. It is real meat but producing it does not harm animals.

The two approaches differ in strategy, but the underlying key is creating a product indistinguishable from the original.

“What’s happening is that these companies are saying, ‘We’re not going to appeal any more to just vegans,’” Gheihman said. “‘Instead we’re appealing to the omnivores; we’re appealing to the average person. … We’re going to create this thing that you’re already consuming. It’s just going to be plant-based or cell-based.’”

The plant-based strategy has been gaining traction in the U.S. According to a 2017 Nielsen Homescan survey, 39 percent of Americans are trying to consume more plant-based foods, and it’s showing on their grocery lists. Meat alternatives posted a 30 percent growth in U.S. sales between April 2017 and April 2018, according to Nielsen, while traditional plant-based options like tofu trended down by 1.3 percent in the same period. Plant-based cheese, yogurt, pizza, and noodles showed similar growth to meat alternatives.

Cell-based (or “clean”) meat is still in development, but it’s expected to hit the market as early as 2021. Its potential is promising, with initial testers saying it provides virtually the same taste as meat but without the ethical dilemmas around the treatment of animals or the environmental effects of raising livestock, which, according to a 2006 UN Report, is responsible for approximately 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions — not to mention air and water pollution and high energy consumption.

While both approaches show promise in terms of human and planetary health, healthy-diet researcher Frank Hu, from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, says there is a need to keep a watchful eye on these products.

“The current effort to produce more plant-based protein food like the Impossible Burger and some other plant options, I think that is in a good direction,” said Hu, the Fredrick J. Stare Professor of Nutrition and Epidemiology and chair of the Department of Nutrition. “I think it could have potential benefits in improving the health of humans in the world. Of course, the data on the products like the Impossible Burger or other types of [similar] veggie burgers is still very limited. I think it’s very important to monitor the trends of the consumption patterns in the population and also monitor the health effects of those products, because some of those products, even though they contain high amounts of plant-based protein, may also contain unhealthy ingredients, such as high amounts of sodium or unhealthy fats. Being plant-based doesn’t necessarily mean it’s healthier.”

As for cell-based meat, Hu said it is too a new phenomenon to have reliable data, so its effects on humans are currently unknown. “At this point, there is no data whatsoever because it’s at such an early stage,” he said.

Hu also noted the high production costs of both plant-based meat and clean meat, which currently translate to the consumer but are expected to lower with time.

The vegan trend has not lost touch with its origins in the animal-rights movement, it just embraces them in a subtler, pragmatic way while at the same time tapping into people’s desire for sustainability and good health.

“It’s sexy; it’s aspirational; it’s desirable,” Gheihman said. “And it’s been framed in that way. … I think it really is shifting the perception of the average person. With the rise of social media and documentaries, a lot more people are more informed about what they’re putting into their bodies in terms of its costs both for them from a health perspective and for animals and the environment.”

Whoopi Goldberg Slammed For Having ‘Triggered Fit’ Over Plant-Based Meat

‘It’s so easy to make choices that don’t support suffering and death. We urge you to consider that’
'Go eat a couch if you want' (Photo: Instagram / Whoopi Goldberg)

‘Go eat a couch if you want’ (Photo: Instagram / Whoopi Goldberg)

American actor and TV personality Whoopi Goldberg has been slammed for having a ‘triggered fit’ over plant-based meat.

The celebrity featured on talk show The View earlier this month, where she defended her right to consume bacon.

“What I don’t want is no choice…,” the star said. “I like the bacon, I want the bacon, you don’t have to eat it… No one should tell you that you can’t have something.”

The comment received backlash from animal-rights charity PETA, who said it couldn’t help but ‘call-out’ Goldberg for her ‘rant on The View’.

‘Enormous suffering’

“Really, Whoopi? Eating bacon is your Friday cause? Your ‘choice’ really hurts. Be kind,” PETA said. “Animals should have a choice though. Eating bacon causes enormous suffering and ends a pig’s life.

“It’s so easy to make choices that don’t support suffering and death. We urge you to consider that.”

‘Making a fuss’

“Hey I understand PETA is making a fuss because I like bacon,” Goldberg tweeted to her 1.5 million followers.

“I never said I was a vegan, and just like I want choice over my body, I want the same for what goes into my body. I would NEVER suggest that ANYONE pressure any one of YOU to change your vegan habits. Go eat a couch if you want.”

‘Animals are not property’

The star’s response added to the controversy, with a plethora of vegans highlighting the cruelty of bacon.

“You spoke a truth in you that you didn’t realize you had, Whoopi,” one user tweeted.

“Animals are not property just as human beings are not property. They don’t belong to us. They deserve to have control over what happens to their bodies just as we do.”




While in Canada for the climate protest, vegan activist Greta Thunberg pays the beloved pig a visit.


Vegan climate activist Greta Thunberg recently paid a visit to Esther the Wonder Pig, a famous pig that helped her dads Steve Jenkins and Derek Walter go vegan. Thunberg came to the United States via sailboat from her native Sweden last month to speak at the Climate Action Summit in New York City and support Fridays For Future, a movement she founded to demand action on the global climate crisis. Thunberg continued her North American tour by driving an electric car, lent to her by actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, to Canada to attend the climate strike in Montreal last Friday. While in Canada, Thunberg shared a cupcake with Esther at her Southern Ontario home, a moment commemorated by a photo of the two changemakers.

“We were gonna change the world together, but she took my last cupcake so the future of our alliance is uncertain,” Esther’s Facebook page captioned the photo. Thunberg has received backlash from conservatives that do not share her views on the climate crisis and Esther’s page was not safe from commenters looking to disparage the teenager. “This is a picture of a sixteen year old girl that is under more pressure than any of us can likely even fathom, enjoying a quiet day with a pig she loves, with cupcakes and a smile on their faces,” Esther’s Facebook page responded to one such commenter. “No matter what you think of our view on animals or Greta’s view on the climate, if you can’t see the joy in their faces and appreciate the fact that she came here to relax and smile (the same reason you all do) then I’m sorry we have failed you in our mission to promote kindness for all kinds.”

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Impossible Foods To Make Its Supermarket Debut Next Week

‘Get ready to enjoy Impossible Burger where food tastes best – at home’
The meatless patty will hit selected stores this month (Photo: Instagram / Impossible Foods)

The meatless patty will hit selected stores this month (Photo: Instagram / Impossible Foods)

Plant-based startup Impossible Foods is to make its supermarket debut on September 20 – after a key ingredient received approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) earlier this year.

The ruling – which cleared the use of soy leghemoglobin, aka heme, as a color additive – meant the company would be able to sell its products directly to consumers instead of only to restaurants.

‘Smells like palm trees’

Impossible Foods has kept secret the first location to stock its meat-free burgers, writing on Instagram: “Guess what city you can find us on shelves? Here’s a hint: Smells like palm trees.

“Get ready to enjoy Impossible Burger where food tastes best – at home. Stay tuned to find out where we’re headed first.”

Vegan controversy

Impossible Foods itself consider its meatless patty to be plant-based rather than vegan.

This is because in 2017 heme was fed to rats in order to test its safety. More than 180 rats were killed as a result of the testing.

CEO Pat Brown reacted to the controversy, publishing a statement titled The Agonizing Dilemma of Animal Testing.

Beyond Meat Will Crash When Investors Realize What It’s Really Selling


Beyond Meat (BYND) is now probably the hottest stock in the world.

Its innovative “plant-based meat” is found in the frozen food section of thousands of grocery stores. Carl’s Jr., Del Taco, and a few other restaurant chains sell its products, too.

Supposedly, it tastes just like real meat but is better for animals and for the environment. Many investors expect plant-based meat to be the “next big thing.”

The chart below says it all.


Beyond Meat’s stock shot up 840% after going public on May 2!

Today In: Money

I’ve never seen anything quite like this. It’s the top-performing IPO of the year and one of the best of all time.

Make no mistake, Beyond Meat’s crazy 840% gain in not even three months is an outlier. But it’s not all that uncommon for stocks to skyrocket shortly after going public. The average return for a US IPO last quarter was 30%.


But with the giant early gains in Beyond Meat behind us, the question now is: Does the stock have staying power? Should you buy it now?

Let me explain why the answer is NO.

Do You Remember the LaCroix Craze?

LaCroix is a popular brand of flavored sparkling water.

You’ve probably seen it at the grocery store. Its “retro” packaging jumps off the shelf.

It tastes pretty good, but it’s nothing special. There are plenty of sparkling water brands that are just as good.

And yet, LaCroix became a cultural phenomenon a few years back. Young adults were obsessed with it.

Like Beyond Meat, people thought it was the “next big thing.” Investors loaded up on shares of National Beverage (FIZZ)—the parent company that owns LaCroix.


National Beverage’s stock surged 550% from May 2015 to September 2017.

It was madness. At its peak, FIZZ traded at a price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of 58. Investors were paying $58 for every dollar of profit the company made. That was more than double the S&P 500’s P/E at the time.

All for a company that sells sparkling water.

National Beverage’s Crash No One Saw Coming

National Beverage failed to live up to the hype. Its stock plunged 31% in nine months after peaking in September 2017.

Today, FIZZ trades at 66% below its 2017 high.

The thing is, people didn’t stop drinking sparkling water. Sales of sparkling water have nearly tripled over the past decade. Last year, Americans spent $49 million on sparkling water—22% more than in 2017.

But people are drinking a lot less LaCroix. Its sales plunged 15% this May. That’s after falling 6% in February… 5% in March… and 7% in April.

Where did LaCroix go wrong?

Coca-Cola (COKE) Bought Topo Chico in 2017

Topo Chico is a trendy Mexican sparkling water brand.

PepsiCo (PEP) got into the business, too. It recently launched its own sparkling water called Bubly.

Even Costco (COST) has entered the market. Last summer, the retail giant started selling zero-calorie flavored drinks under its private Kirkland Signature brand.

In short, LaCroix ran into powerful competition. Sparkling water is easy to replicate. Now people have lots of brands to choose from. That sucked the wind out of National Beverage’s sails and caused its stock to tank.

The Exact Same Thing Will Happen to Beyond Meat

Some will call this an unfair comparison. They’ll argue Beyond Meat is more innovative than National Beverage. They’ll say it has a “first-mover advantage.”

It’s true that Beyond Meat introduced plant-based meat to the masses. But let’s not forget that plant-based meat is a basic consumer good. It’s a commodity that can be easily replicated.

Commodities that can be easily replicated compete on price. That’s a big problem for Beyond Meat because its products are expensive…

Its hamburger cost anywhere from double to triple what real hamburger costs.

Beyond Sausage, another one of its products, sells for around $10.30 per pound. That’s 70% more than what pork sausage sells for.

It can’t charge such sky-high prices for much longer. In fact, competition is already heating up.

Impossible Burger also sells plant-based burgers. You can buy its products at more than 9,000 restaurants, including Qdoba and Burger King.

Tyson (TSN)—the largest US meat producer—is also developing its own line of alternative meat products. It was an initial investor in Beyond, but sold its stake in April.

Nestle—the world’s largest food company—has entered the plant-based market, too. It’s selling its “Incredible Burger” in Europe already. The company plans to introduce this product to America by fall.

Finally, JBS—the world’s largest meat producer—is also looking to launch a plant-based meat product in Brazil this year.

Soon, Every Major Food Company Will Have Its Own Plant-Based Burger

These companies have deeper pockets and better distribution than Beyond Meat.

They can develop new products and bring them to market much faster than Beyond Meat.

Perhaps most importantly, they charge less than Beyond Meat.

This will force Beyond Meat to either cut prices or surrender market share. Both would be bad for investors.

Beyond Meat’s Stock Is Absurdly Expensive

It trades at a price-to-sales (P/S) ratio of 87. Investors are paying $87 for every $1 that Beyond Meat generates in sales.

Let me put that in perspective…

Tyson trades at a P/S of 0.73. Conagra Brands (CAG) trades at 1.5X times sales. And General Mills (GIS) trades at 0.4X sales.

Should Beyond Meat trade at a premium because it’s a disruptor stock changing the way we eat? Okay. Let’s compare it to another disruptive company: The Match Group (MTCH).

The Match Group is disrupting how people find love. It dominates online dating, it’s growing like crazy, and its stock has delivered 416% gains since it went public in November 2015. That’s 10 times the S&P 500’s return over the same period.

Match.com trades at 12 times sales. Its stock is 1/7 as expensive as Beyond Meat’s!

Like National Beverage, Beyond Meat Won’t Live Up to This Absurd Valuation

That doesn’t mean Beyond Meat will disappear. But the hysteria will fade away.

When that happens, its stock should come crashing down. I wouldn’t be surprised if BYND falls another 30% or more once investors realize powerful competitors are coming for its market.

If you own Beyond Meat stock, you’re probably sitting on big profits. Nice call. But consider selling your shares to lock in those profits as soon as you finish reading this.

The clock is ticking. Once investors wake up to the tough competition Beyond Meat faces, its stock could drop fast.