[Meanwhile] Fur real? The City Council aims to ban fur in the name of animal rights; what’s next?

Fur real? The City Council aims to ban fur in the name of animal rights; what’s next?
How about leather shoes? (OPREA FLORIN/Getty Images/iStockphoto)

City Council Speaker Corey Johnson wants to ban fur clothes for sale in the five boroughs of New York City, excepting used apparel and that “sourced exclusively from used fur” (how will Department of Consumer Affairs sleuths ever tell?) and, of course, fur worn for religious reasons (rest easy, Hasidim).

We don’t mind private citizens making a stink over mink, pounding the table over sable or putting a pox on fox. We get those who are revolted by wearing dead animal products. Hell, it’s respectable to live life as a vegan.

But it is rich indeed for city government in the name of animal rights to outright ban the sale of fur, an important piece of an important New York industry, while allowing sale, on a scale that dwarfs the fur industry, of cow leather and sheepskin (and no, the leather on your Chinese-made shoe is not produced under conditions regulated by federal authorities).

And while allowing sale by the tons, in supermarkets and restaurants, of meat and eggs and dairy from animals that, we suspect — though no animals were interviewed in the making of this editorial — would rather not be exploited. Including veal, which comes from calves.

The slope is slippery because, let’s be honest, lots of animals bleed on it.

Johnson and the Council enjoy the symbolism of a fur ban, but they wouldn’t dare go after the many other ways humans benefit from inexpensive and plentiful protein and, well, just plain tasty food. Would they?

Fake meat: Don’t go bacon my heart, say butchers

Sausage dummies are pictured at the international meat industry fair IFFA in Frankfurt am Main, western Germany, on May 6, 2019. — AFP pic
Sausage dummies are pictured at the international meat industry fair IFFA in Frankfurt am Main, western Germany, on May 6, 2019. — AFP pic

FRANKFURT, May 12 — Slicing through juicy cuts of pork belly alongside rarer delicacies of ox brain and sheep intestine, young butchers at a Frankfurt trade hall cast a suspicious eye towards the so-called fake meat products on display.

Puzzlingly, for the butchers, the fake meat seems to be popular.

“As a butcher, it just can’t be that we have to get into plastic!” said Paolo Desbois, an 18-year-old French butcher, referring disparagingly to the synthetic burgers, sausages and nuggets at the IFFA meat industry convention.

The concept that animals are meat—and plants are not—never used to challenged.

But increasingly plant-based protein products are trying to muscle in on the meat market.

Derived from sources like soy, peas or beans, the synthetic products are being manufactured without using animals.

And Desbois, who placed second in a young butchers competition at the convention, feels they undermine “the essence of the profession”.

“It’s just not possible to work with synthetic meat,” he said.

Another budding elite butcher from Switzerland, 20-year-old Selina Niederberger, agreed.

“As a butcher, I’m for real meat. I think a lot of people would see it the same way,” she declared.

Non “real” meat products have been making headlines lately, backed by investors with an appetite for supplying plant-based burgers and sausages to the trendy diet-conscious masses.

The celebrity-backed vegan burger start-up Beyond Meat, for example, made a sizzling Wall Street debut on May 3 when it more than doubled its share price.

Backed by Hollywood star Leonardo DiCaprio and Microsoft founder Bill Gates, the firm and its competitors aim to turn plant-based foods mainstream and capture a huge potential market.

Ethical concerns

Whether meat substitutes will ever be able to 100 percent replicate the taste, colour, smell and texture of a freshly chopped up slaughtered animal is debatable.

But some young butchers suspect their growing popularity will inevitably have a transformative effect on their trade.

“It’s just shifting with the world and working with it rather than against it,” said 19-year-old British butcher Lennon Callister.

Trade skills are “what sets butchers apart from supermarkets,” he argued, but accepted consumers are starting to look at food differently.

Josja Haagsma from the Netherlands, who won the young butchers competition, agreed that synthetic meats were changing opinions.

“It makes you think about how you can use meat and how you can change it, how you can use more vegetables,” she said.

“Maybe the next generation” will be the ones pressed to apply their knives and creativity to the task, Haagsma said.

Vegetables used to be considered a side dish, at best, for carnivore connoisseurs.

But in increasingly health conscious societies, where governments warn about the dangers of consuming too much red meat, plant-based products are widening in appeal.

Alongside ethical concerns over animals bred for the dinner table and green advocates urging the public to eat less meat to save the environment, the scope for more no-meat products is growing.

‘They aren’t sausages!’

“It’s very important that we think about it, that we consume less” but “good quality meat,” said Haagsma.

“You can use organic meat and homegrown cows, and not the cows from the big companies,” she said.

The growing numbers of people turning to plant-based meat alternatives include vegans, who shun all animal products, and flexitarians, who advocate moderate consumption of meat.

One sign of their expanding popularity? Silicon-valley company Impossible has linked up with Burger King to offer a plant-based version of its signature Whopper.

Nestle and Unilever are also aiming to cement their presence in the sector.

The move by big conglomerates into the sector has made young butchers note that changes are on the way.

“There’ll be less of this mass-produced stuff, which is also really, really bad for the climate,” said 23-year-old German Raphael Buschmann.

However, while recognising environment-conscious citizens are rethinking their diets, Buschmann predicted a limit to the industry changes.

Vegetarian sausages would not be added to his displays any time soon.

“They aren’t sausages,” he said. “That’s just the way it is.” — AFP

Tyson Chicken recalls almost 12 million pounds of frozen chicken


Photo credit: MGN

EDITOR’S NOTE: This release is being reissued as an expansion of the March 21, 2019 recall, which consisted of 69,093 pounds of frozen, ready-to-eat chicken strip products. The scope of this recall expansion now includes more information and an additional 11,760,424 pounds of product.

Tyson Foods, Inc., a Rogers, Ark. establishment, is recalling approximately 11,829,517 million pounds of frozen, ready-to-eat chicken strip products that may be contaminated with extraneous materials, specifically pieces of metal, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.

The frozen, ready-to-eat chicken strip items were produced on various dates from Oct. 1, 2018 through March 8, 2019 and have “Use By Dates” of Oct. 1, 2019 through March 7, 2020. The chart contains a list of the products subject to recall.

The products subject to recall bear establishment number “P-7221” on the back of the product package. These items were shipped to retail and Department of Defense locations nationwide, for institutional use nationwide and to the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The problem was discovered when FSIS received two consumer complaints of extraneous material in the chicken strip products. FSIS is now aware of six complaints during this time frame involving similar pieces of metal with three alleging oral injury.

Anyone concerned about an injury or illness should contact a healthcare provider.

FSIS is concerned that some product may be in consumers’ freezers. Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them. These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase.

FSIS routinely conducts recall effectiveness checks to verify recalling firms notify their customers of the recall and that steps are taken to make certain that the product is no longer available to consumers. When available, the retail distribution list(s) will be posted on the FSIS website at www.fsis.usda.gov/recalls.

Consumers with questions about the recall can contact Tyson Foods Consumer Relations at 1-866-886-8456. Members of the media with questions about the recall can contact Worth Sparkman, Public Relations Manager, Tyson Foods, Inc., at Worth.Sparkman@Tyson.com (479) 290-6358.

Consumers with food safety questions can “Ask Karen,” the FSIS virtual representative available 24 hours a day at AskKaren.gov or via smartphone at m.askkaren.gov.

The toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) is available in English and Spanish and can be reached from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday.

Recorded food safety messages are available 24 hours a day. The online Electronic Consumer Complaint Monitoring System can be accessed 24 hours a day at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/reportproblem.

Beyond Meat preps for IPO as rivals take bite out of food industry

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/apr/28/beyond-meat-wall-street-debut-public

Startup is the latest ‘unicorn’, with a valuation of about $1.2bn, to go public as its competitor launches the Impossible Whopper

In 2018, Beyond Meat brought in a net revenue of $88m, and lost $30m.
 In 2018, Beyond Meat brought in a net revenue of $88m, and lost $30m. Photograph: George Whale

Wall Street is going vegan. At some point in the next four weeks, Beyond Meat, a pioneering plant-based meat alternative startup, will debut on Wall Street at a valuation of about $1.2bn. And in the meantime its rivals are cutting deals with some of the biggest names in food.

Beyond Meat is the latest in a series of “unicorns” – private companies valued at over $1bn – to go public. And this one is edible.

The company, based in El Segundo, California, was founded 10 years ago by tech entrepreneur Ethan Brown. It found early backing from legendary Silicon Valley financiers Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers – and later from Bill Gates and Leonardo DiCaprio – before it brought its first product, a chicken-free “chicken”, to market in 2013.

Now the company is going public, at a pivotal moment for meat-like products created from plant-based protein, mainly yellow peas, which are being used to create a new wave of burgers (which actually “bleed” with beet juice), together with poultry and sausage substitutes that taste far closer to the real thing than their predecessors.

The benefits of eating less meat from both ethical, environmental and health standpoints, have never been greater. And the business community has spied the potential for big profits.

Even giant meat companies such as Tyson, the world’s second largest processor of chicken, beef and pork, are backing meat alternative startups. It is investing in cultured meat maker Future Meat Technologies, which grows meat from cells.

Memphis Meats, another company developing cultured meats, boasts the vast Cargill grain company among its investors, alongside Gates, again, and Sir Richard Branson.

Wall Street’s interest doesn’t stem from a new found love of veganism. US meat production totalled 52bn lb in 2017, poultry production totalled 48bn lb. Beef exports alone are worth over $7bn a year.

The goal of Beyond Meat’s Brown is to recreate meat with plant-based inputs. “We don’t want you to walk away from meat, we’re just taking animals out of the equation,” he said in an interview with CBS, citing figures that show 70 million Americans are reducing their intake of meat.

In a letter written by Brown included in Beyond Meat’s IPO prospectus, Brown insists: “We do not face a binary decision to eat or abandon meat.”

He describes livestock as “a bioreactor consuming vegetation and water and using their digestive and muscular system to organize these inputs into what has traditionally been called meat”. Beyond Meat, he says, does the same, without the animal.

So far, Beyond Meat is consuming cash. In 2018, it brought in a net revenue of $88m, and lost $30m. A year earlier, revenues were nearly $33m, and the company made a loss of $30m.

But that could change fast if alternative meat products can take just a small bite out of the $1.4tn global meat market, or mirror the success of non-dairy milk products – which in the US is now 13% of the size of the traditional dairy milk business.

As consumers increasingly turn to plant-based meat alternatives, the only limit for growth maybe the availability of plant-based protein to make products from.

Just five years since the launch of its debut product, Beyond Meat products are now available at 30,000 outlets in the US and overseas, from Whole Foods and TGIF in the US to Tesco and All Bar One in the UK.

According to Dan Altschuler Malek, a venture capital partner at New Crop Capital, an early investor in Beyond Meat, the meat, dairy, egg and seafood sectors are a trillion-dollar market ripe for large-scale disruption.

“We believe the global food system is broken and one of the contributors is animal agriculture which has caused significant damage to the environment,” said Malek. “At some point, the planet will hold 9 billion-plus people, and the reality is there are not enough resources to sustain current levels of protein consumption.”

Beyond Meat, Malek says, is the third generation of plant-based products. The first was for vegans who, for philosophical reasons, sacrificed pleasure for beliefs in refusing animal proteins. The second generation developed products with taste and flavor. In the third generation, companies like Beyond Meat looked to develop products that are good enough on their own to consume without any sense of loss or substitution.

“That’s a seamless transition for the consumer and that’s what the third generation of producers are doing. Manufacturing technology has played a large part. Now we have a convergence that fulfill the promise of great taste and texture for consumers.”

Ultimately, Malek believes, we may begin to detach from the need for plant-based protein to resemble meat products. But now it’s still early days and consumers still want something that they already know.

“You can’t make them jump across two axes, simultaneously, switching ingredients and switching flavor. Eventually we’ll get to a place where products don’t need to resemble chicken or beef or lamb. They will simply be delicious and plant-based.”

And moneyspinning.

Burger King plans to roll out Impossible Whopper across the United States

New York (CNN Business)Burger King’s test of a vegetarian version of its signature Whopper was such a success, the chain is planning to roll the Impossible Whopper out nationally this year.

On April 1, Burger King started testing the vegetarian burger, using a plant-based patty from Impossible Foods. The test took place in St. Louis and “went exceedingly well,” a spokesperson for Restaurant Brands International (QSR), Burger King’s parent company, said. The spokesperson added that the sales of the Impossible Whopper are complementary to the regular Whopper.
That’s exactly what Burger King wants.
With the Impossible Whopper, Burger King is primarily targeting meat eaters who seek more balance in their diet. The new product is designed to “give somebody who wants to eat a burger every day, but doesn’t necessarily want to eat beef everyday, permission to come into the restaurants more frequently,” Chris Finazzo, president of Burger King North America, told CNN Business when discussing the initial test.
Burger King started testing out the Impossible Whopper in St. Louis.

The Impossible Whopper is supposed to taste just like Burger King’s regular Whopper. Unlike veggie burgers, Impossible burger patties are designed to mimic the look and texture of meat when cooked. The plant protein startup recently revealed a new recipe, designed to look and taste even more like meat. That version is being used in Burger King’s Impossible Whoppers.
The company plans to expand to more markets “in the very near future” before making the sandwich available nationally by the end of the year. Burger King had about 7,300 US locations at the close of last year.
There’s public interest in plant-based protein because of concerns about animal welfare and the environmental impact of factory farming, and because some consumers are interested in reducing their consumption of meat for health reasons.
And the interest appears to be growing. The global market for meat substitutes is forecast to grow from an estimated $4.6 billion in 2018 to $6.4 billion by 2023, according to research firm MarketsandMarkets.
Beyond Meat, Impossible Food’s primary competitor, thinks that the potential is bigger. In an SEC filing detailing plans for the 10-year-old company’s IPO, Beyond Meat projected that over time the plant based-meat market could reach $35 billion in the United States. Beyond Meat plans to start trading in early May.

‘BOYCOTT JIMMY JOHNS’ TRENDS AFTER CEO’S HUNTING OBSESSION EXPOSED

‘Boycott Jimmy Johns’ Trends After CEO’s Hunting Obsession Exposed

by  | April 27, 2019

There should be no doubt in how fiendish an act hunting can be. Nonetheless, many people find their cup of tea in the ruthless “sport.” Just recently, CEO of Jimmy John’s, Jimmy John Liautaud’s hunting obsession was exposed on Twitter, and a new hashtag has been making its rounds on the internet reading, #BoycottJimmyJohns. Read on to know more about ‘Boycott Jimmy Johns’ hashtag that went viral on Twitter.

Boycott Jimmy Johns
Photo by Loïc Fürhoff on Unsplash

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‘Boycott Jimmy Johns’ Trends After CEO’s Hunting Obsession Exposed

The CEO of the gourmet sandwich chain, Jimmy John Liautaud, has a hunting obsession and the fact is quite well documented. Years back, a website allegedly revealed the CEO’s images with him posing with killed “trophy” animals like a leopard and an elephant.

More recently, Twitter user Yossarian317 posted a macabre image which features the sandwich chain’s CEO posing with two thumbs up, sitting on the corpse of a huge elephant he allegedly hunted and killed. The tweet garnered some 28k re-tweets and 22k likes.

Twitter user Yossarian317 tweeted the post with the caption:

“Owner of Jimmy Johns celebrating the killing of a beautiful animal. Remember next time you want a sub. Please retweet!”

Credit: @yossarian317/ Twitter
‘Boycott Jimmy Johns’ Trends After CEO’s Hunting Obsession Exposed

And within a blink of an eye, twitter outpoured their aghast and anger on the image with comments flooding in. A user wrote:

Credit: @tarastrong/ Twitter

“Despicable, unfathomable, disgusting. The owner of @jimmyjohns. Sorry about your tiny penis, Jim. I’m sure glad there’s lots and lots of other sandwich places.”

Credit: @RobWoodson26/ Twitter

Another user said: “Will never go to Jimmy Johns again!”

Credit: @LeilaniMunter/ Twitter
‘Boycott Jimmy Johns’ Trends After CEO’s Hunting Obsession Exposed

“Do we start a #BoycottJimmyJohns trend??,” added another user.

How Can Killing be Fun?

Hunting as a sport is unfortunately still enjoyed by many. Some hunting instances take place on private enclosed lands where enforcing the law can be difficult. Hunters reportedly pay to kill native and exotic species in what it is called a “canned hunt.” Do you find anything exciting or sporty in succumbing animals to death in enclosed lands where they can’t escape? I don’t.

Animal rights activist groups like PETA are encouraging people to boycott Jimmy Johns, like the trending hashtag, and are referring to sandwich shops like Subway, which does not support trophy hunting. What do you think? Going vegan is surely an all-in-one boycott to every single animal abuse happening on earth. Let me know your views in the comments.

I lectured about the public health dangers of industrial farming. But what I saw went beyond my fears

.. Visiting one was far worse than I imagined

APRIL 20, 2019 6:00PM (UTC)
Excerpted and adapted from “Our Symphony with Animals: On Health, Empathy and Our Shared Destinies” by Aysha Akhtar. Published by Pegasus Books. © Aysha Akhtar. Reprinted with permission.
https://www.salon.com/2019/04/20/i-studied-factory-farms-for-years-visiting-one-was-far-worse-than-i-imagined/?fbclid=IwAR0qzRUvQyipHFsAthJ1yyp_6dvahNy_eu9-yAUpqy_nYjQbcqh1jn4wkoI
I was giving a talk at a conference in Oklahoma about the public health dangers of industrial animal farming, or “factory farming” as it is commonly called. Each year, more than 64 billion animals are raised and killed for food globally. In the United States alone, 1 million animals are slaughtered every hour. Largely because of increased demand for cheap animal products, intensive animal operations have replaced most traditional farming practices world- wide. The transformation of animal agriculture is so dramatic that it has been dubbed the “livestock revolution.” This unprecedented change in the human relationship with animals has led to not only more animal suffering than ever before in human history but also to devastating harms to human health.

At the conference, I presented data showing how animal agriculture (and the resultant high consumption of animal products) causes more greenhouse gas emissions than the entire transportation sector. It also pollutes our land and water and increases our risks of cancers, obesity, strokes, and infectious diseases like salmonella, E. coli, and bird flus. Throughout my presentation, a solemn-looking woman with short, auburn hair and glasses kept shaking her head in disagreement. When I ended my talk and opened the floor for questions, the woman went on the attack. She disputed everything I said. There are no environmental hazards, no infectious disease risks, no animal welfare problems.

“Have you ever visited one of these farms?” she demanded, with evident anger.

I told her I had not because these places are not open for the public’s viewing. But my data came from reputable studies published by institutions like the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. The evidence is so strong, the American Public Health Association called for a moratorium on factory farms.

The woman, Jean Sander, was dean of the Oklahoma State University’s Center for Veterinary Health Sciences. “You need to visit our farms,” she replied. “They are nothing like what you say.”

Three months later, I take Jean up on her offer. The farms are worse than anything I’ve read.

On a dismal morning in late November, I meet Dr. Sander at the parking lot of a Sonic fast food restaurant in Bristow, Oklahoma. After we greet each other and complain about the weather, I get into her car. We head out to visit an egg-laying farm about a half hour away. This farm is not the place Jean initially set up for my visit. She was originally going to take me to see a “broiler” farm, where chickens are produced for meat, which is contracted by Tyson Foods. The Tyson chicken facility is one of Oklahoma’s largest.

But a few days before my flight to Tulsa, the Tyson facility manager backed out. He informed Jean that an undercover investigation at a chicken facility in Tennessee recently caught the attention of news reporters. As a result, he was not letting any outsiders in his buildings. The undercover investigators videotaped farm employees beating sick chickens with spiked clubs. Like the Oklahoma facility, the one in Tennessee was also contracted by and supplied chickens to Tyson Foods.

The only reason I am being allowed in is because of Jean. Her affiliation with Oklahoma State University, one of the largest agricultural schools in the country, has placed Jean in a position to know many of the animal farm managers in Oklahoma. They view her as an ally. And thanks to my connection with Jean, they must have seen me as nonthreatening. Even so, it took months for Jean to find facilities that would open their doors to us.

Herbert Wendell walks up to us and shakes our hands with fervor. With his ruddy cheeks and cheerful welcome, he immediately reminds me of my father-in law. Herbert comes from a family of crop farmers and was the first to move into animal agriculture. In 1957, he bought one chicken that started his egg-laying business. Since then, the number of chickens has grown to about thirty thousand.

After a few minutes of greeting, Jean hands me a disposable coverall, pair of booties, and gloves. They are meant to keep us from inadvertently introducing infectious agents into the facility as part of a biocontainment plan—methods that clearly don’t work, given how often bird and swine flu epidemics sweep across industrial farms in the United States. Jean and I cover ourselves. We then follow Herbert and his granddaughter inside the nearest of the two animal sheds and . . . oh my god!

I hide my face so the others don’t see me gag. I’m worried I’ll offend Herbert if I vomit.

With great effort, I swallow the bile pooling at the back of my throat and straighten up. Slowly, my other senses kick in. Touch first. Flies land on my face. I swat ineffectually at my forehead, nose, ears. Next comes sound. Not the individual noises of calls, clucks, and squawks. But a roar. A singular shout.

Jean tells me that the standard of practice used to be to allow 54 square inches per bird in a cage. Now they’re moving to 60 to 65 square inches per bird as an animal welfare gesture. Sixty-five square inches is about two-thirds the dimension of a single sheet of letter-sized paper. A hen is forced to live her entire life in the space of my laptop screen, but this is considered, by the agricultural industry, as progress.

As we walk down the rows, I breathe through my mouth to somewhat ease the stench. The birds scurry and climb on top of one another to hide near the back of the cages. They’re terrified of us. I’m scared too. Scared that they will crush one another, which Herbert tells me, has happened. Up closer, I see raw, red exposed areas on most of the birds, where their feathers rubbed off against the wires entrapping them. I can’t imagine how painful that must be.

Since birds crowded like this commonly go mad and peck one another to death, these birds were debeaked, a practice whereby workers grab baby chicks in one hand and thrust their beaks between hot, steaming blades. Workers cut off anywhere from one-third to two-thirds of chicks’ beaks while they’re fully conscious. The industry calls this “trimming their beaks.” But slicing chickens’ beaks off with a heated blade or a scissor device, as is frequently done, is not like trimming your nails. Birds’ beaks are sensitive, highly innervated and able to feel pain and other sensations. It would be like having your toes cut off without anesthesia. Not only do chickens rely on their beaks for many functions, having their beaks severed causes them immense, acute, and, often, lifelong pain.

As we walk about, Herbert describes how the facility functions. Conveyer belts run along the span of the building, automatically collecting the eggs that fall under the chickens. Trenches alongside the cages hold feed pellets. It’s all mechanized. No human hand need ever touch a bird until the time of her death. This, then, is a chicken’s life. To huddle in a cage cowering on top of another for one and a half years until someone kills you.

Jean reminds me this is a small facility. Average-size farms house 100,000 birds. The largest may contain 200,000. I am so overwhelmed by the smell of filth and fear, I can’t fathom what those larger factories must be like.

Maggots. Hundreds, thousands of maggots squirming about the ground. I jump and lift my legs. Squashed maggots are stuck on the bottom of my bootie-covered sneakers. As I hop on each leg to inspect my feet, I slip.

And down I go.

When I look back at this moment, the image that comes to mind is a scene in the movie Poltergeist (the original, of course), when the earth beneath the haunted family’s house erupts and releases the screaming skeletons and gaping skulls buried beneath. In the downpour of a raging storm, the mother desperately tries to rescue her children trapped inside the house. As she runs into their backyard screaming for help, her foot slips along the edge of a large, muddy pit. She slides into a pool of death.

Qdoba’s Impossible Meat tacos and bowls are 100% meatless

All 730 Qdoba locations will offer Impossible Meat’s plant-based beef alternative.

Do you like the idea of a plant-based Impossible Burger, except you’re not a fan of burgers? Your best bet might be Qdoba. The Mexican food chain announced this weekthat its trial of Impossible Meat at a few of its Michigan locations was a major success, and it will expand to its 730 locations nationwide by the end of May.

It’s been an incredible month for Impossible Foods and its competitors in the plant-based meat industry.

Impossible Foods, which makes the Impossible Burger and other plant-based meat products, announced just two weeks ago it was partnering with Burger King to offer plant-based Whoppers. Early reviews — and sales — look good. Burger King joined White Castle, which sells Impossible Foods sliders, and Carl’s Jr., which sells burgers from Impossible Foods’ competitor Beyond Meat. Last week, Mexican food chain Del Taco announced it would sell Beyond Meat, too.

Now, Qdoba has joined them. The plant-based meat alternative is featured in two entrees — the Impossible Bowl and the Impossible Taco — or you can order it in anything else in place of beef.

The rise of plant-based foods is actually a big deal

There’s a lot wrong with our food system — from animal cruelty to antibiotic resistanceto its contributions to climate change. But people really like meat, and efforts to curb these problems by convincing people to switch away from meat haven’t worked well. There are about as many vegans and vegetarians as there were 20 years ago.

That’s where plant-based meat alternatives can step in. Products like veggie burgers, fake chicken, and soy and almond milk are growing in popularity and market share — and even better, they’re getting tastier and harder to distinguish from animal meat.

Beyond Meat founder Ethan Brown told my colleague Sigal Samuel that 93 percent of consumers who buy Beyond Meat also buy animal meat — and he’s fine with that. It’s a sign these products, far from being a just-for-vegans eccentricity, are going mainstream.

With the surge of consumer and restaurant interest in plant-based foods has come a surge in investment from titans of the meat industry. Last fall, Perdue Farms announced it was looking into its own plant-based products. Tyson Foods announced in February it was launching a plant-based product line. Since 2016, Tyson has also made investments in plant-based and lab-grown meat research and operations, putting money into the cell-based meat startups Memphis Meats and Future Meat Technologies Ltd. and in the plant-based meat startup Beyond Meat.

It’ll probably be a long time before these alternatives can replicate the experience of a steak — though engineers are hard at work on it. In the meantime, they’re finding their niche with burgers and ground beef. Restaurants and consumers, going by the recent surge of interest, are increasingly getting on board.

Help animals = Help the earth

Factory farming is one of the leading causes of global warming and environmental damage

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https://www.humanesociety.org/resources/help-animals-help-earth

The HSUS

We live in a pivotal moment. Billions of animals and people around the world are affected by global warming and environmental damage. If we don’t start making small changes now, the consequences will be anything but. Millions of animals already die each year in climate change-fueled hurricanes and wildfires; it’s estimated that 50% of all the world’s species could go extinct by the year 2100. The primary culprits to this widespread destruction are among the most unexpected.

Factory farming is an alarming contributor. Did you know …

… that factory farms are one of the largest sources of powerful methane emissions, which have 86 times the global warming effect of carbon dioxide? Altogether, the food we eat makes up nearly 30% of our total greenhouse gas footprint—more than all of the emissions from cars, buses and airplanes combined!

… that confined farm animals generate 500 million tons of manure annually? On most factory farms, chemical-laced feces and urine are funneled into massive waste lagoons, making them a major source of water pollution and contamination that threatens approximately 119,948 miles of rivers and streams and 450,892 acres of lakes, reservoirs and ponds in the U.S.

… that animal agriculture is a leading cause of deforestation? Nearly 80% of the world’s agricultural land is used to raise livestock or to grow feed for livestock. More than two million hectares of tropical forest are cleared each year for animal agriculture—an area the size of the state of Massachusetts. In the U.S. alone, 10 billion animals are raised for dairy, meat and eggs each year.

It’s up to us to protect our planet. This Earth Day, pledge to make one (or all!) of three small changes to your lifestyle and eating habits that will have a lasting impact on the future of our environment. By committing to help animals, you’ll help our planet too—not just on Earth Day, but every day of the year.

How will you choose to change the world?

Even the smallest changes can make a big difference. 

  • Commit to reducing or replacing meat in your diet, whether by participating in Meatless Mondays eliminating meat from one meal per day. If every American ate a plant-based diet just one day a week, it would be the equivalent to cutting 500,000 cars’ worth of greenhouse gas emissions!

Pledge to Reduce Your Greenhouse Gas Footprint

  • Take action on state and federal legislation that cracks down on factory farming and promotes a more humane food system. Mass confinement has profound effects on animal welfare, human health and the environment; several states now have laws banning extreme confinement of farm animals. (Text EARTH to 30644* to receive text message updates so you know when it’s time to act!)

Pledge to Help Us Crack Down on Factory Farming

  • Be savvy with your support and consider buying directly from more humane producers who reject the factory farm model. Not all farms are created equal! If you consume meat, eggs or dairy, take the time to understand how different farms and suppliers treat their animals and the land. Make sure you know the meaning of different labels on meat, eggs and dairy, such as “free-range,” “grass-fed” and “pasture-raised.”

Pledge to Be a Compassionate Shopper

How will you choose to change the world?

This Earth Day, commit to reducing your meat consumption, advocating for higher standards in factory farming and shopping smart to help animals and in turn, help our planet.

Take the Pledge

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