Cattle Ranchers Are Trying to Stop Vegan Brands from Using the Word ‘Meat’

Cattle Ranchers Are Trying to Stop Vegan Brands from Using the Word ‘Meat’

The U.S. Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) has filed a petition with the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) to define the words “beef” and “meat” as products of animals “raised, harvested, and processed in the traditional way” in order to exclude companies — particularly Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods — from using the words “beef” or “meat” in their labeling.

This ridiculous petition seemingly stems from the beef industry’s fear that it’s losing out to plant-based foods that are better for the environment and kinder to animals.

Citing the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA), the USCA calls on the Secretary of Agriculture to protect the public from “false” and “misleading,” labeling, positing that the labels of meat and beef on vegan products mislead consumers into thinking that they’re purchasing animal products: “Current labeling practices may cause consumer confusion in the market place.”

The initial flaw in this argument is the use of the word “meat.” The definition for meat isn’t strictly related to the body of an animal (nuts have “meat,” too). And although the USDA does use the word to describe what constitutes food when outlining regulations for animal products suitable for human consumption, those rules are about defining safe food and protecting people from illness — not about protecting the beef industry.

And while there isn’t readily available evidence to support the aforementioned “confusion,” there is a lot of data proving people are making a conscious choice to purchase vegan products. Reports indicate a surging demand for plant-based foods: 60% of the population has said they are cutting back on meat and 55% say it’s a permanent change. And a Global Data report found that 6% of the U.S. now identifies as vegan: a skyrocketing 600% increase from 2014-2017. People buy plant-based products because they want them, not because they’ve been deceived. But since there really isn’t any way for the USCA to eliminate this competition, it has resorted to a faux concern for consumers as the crux of its case.

But the vegan food trend isn’t likely to stop. Even Hellmann’s now has a vegan dressing and spread similar to its “Real Mayonnaise” on the market, despite the fact that its parent company, Unilever, battled for a year against Hampton Creek’s usage of the word “mayo” on its “Just Mayo” vegan mayonnaise. Eventually the case was dropped and Just Mayo was allowed to keep its label with a clear adjustment that its product was egg-free.

The USCA wants to avoid plummeting sales as clean meat and plant-based meat become the norm, which is their true motivation for pushing back against vegan alternatives:

“USCA is concerned with the recent introduction and development of alternative products that are being marketed or may be marketed as though they are ‘beef,'” says the petition. “Though initial costs for these products were exorbitantly high, costs are rapidly decreasing and expected to be commercially sold by 2020…The proliferation of synthetic products is expected to continue, with an increasing number of synthetic products entering the market and displacing the market share of traditional beef products.”

But it’s illegal to assert a monopoly on our food supply and block our choice for a healthier option. We know animal agriculture is a primary culprit in our fight against climate change. Not eating meat should be a priority in our attempt to confront this head-on.

Is eating animals “processed in a traditional manner,” including a life of torture, abuse, and confinement, really something we should be striving for as a society? Shouldn’t the USDA, in the interest of the health of the people it’s supposed to protect, be pushing for more, not fewer, plant-based food sources?

What sounds more appetizing: Contributing to the safety of the planet, your health, and fellow animals, or eating the flesh of a slaughtered cow, adversely affecting your health and contributing to the planet’s destruction? It’s an obvious choice for millions of people who have already given up eating animals. It’s inspiring to see what demand for change can bring — and the USCA petition only reflects the growing demand for cruelty free food. Whatever its result, people have decided to change their diet, and the words “beef” and “meat” aren’t going to stop them.

Note: Please keep comments peaceful and family friendly.

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  1. B. Maurene White

    Finally we’re re hitting them below thebelt! Right in the pocket!

    Reply Report comment
  2. Leanne

    The term meat isn’t just confined to describing animal flesh. The insides of a nut are descibed as nut meat. The flesh of friuts and vegetables are the meat of that plant. The USCA is just trying to blow smoke up the asses of the USDA. Make no bones about this they are worried aboit their bottom line not whether the public is confused or not. 🐂🐃

    Reply Report comment
  3. DJ

    Maybe, just maybe, if the USCA had thot of animal welfare AHEAD of its pocketbook, there would not be such a need. Sux to be them and their pathetic wimpering. Someone please hand them a dictionary with meanings of the word “meat”

    Reply Report comment
  4. Nelson Petrie

    It is time that the food choice of Americans are pushed further into veganism. What America does to day the rest of the world will
    do tomorrow. Will TV channels like FOX, TLC,National Geographic (People) and many other channels stop glorifying the consumptoion og beef, pork, veall, mutton, chicken, geese and so on. These channels are also responsible in encouraging the eating of meat. These channels too must be sued in court for encouraging cruelty as well.Will the evangelical and other meat -eating Christians abstain from eating flesh? If they follow the scriptures strictly, and not only the first five books of the OT, they should abstain from meat. I hope Americans realize this so that the meat industry in America, Canada and Mexico and Europe (most Germans are already turning to veganism),will come to an end.

    Reply Report comment
  5. Age Groot (Netherlands)

    In Holland and other country’s you see the same tactics by some idiot politicians. e.g. Vegetarian beef,the word vegetarian wouldn’t be clear enough….. They say some people….might still buy the wrong product……and maybe get a big trauma? Those political idiots who want those product to be forbidden,who act like meat-industry marionettes are laughed at.

    Reply Report comment
  6. Evan

    Losers who are afraid that their brutally derived products cannot compete on a level playing field with cruelty-free food that taste at least as good. “Meat” and “milk” are such general terms in the English language. Does “the milk of human kindness” only come from the dairy industry? Ironic. Do lactating women have to call what they feed their infants something else now, because the dairy industry didn’t produce it? Trying to ban the use of common words in the English language out of fear they sell a weaker product. Such brave capitalists!

    Reply Report comment
  7. Karen Tipping

    #CrueltyForProfit I have seen appalling video footage of what these sentient creatures endure at the hands of cruel cattlemen and slaughtermen (how would you like to be stabbed in the eye while fully conscious !) the intensive farming methods are UNNATURAL UNNECESSARY CAUSE PAIN AND DISTRESS PHYSICALLY AND PSYCOLOGICALLY. Seems like #Karma is working for the SENTIENT VOICELESS and my sympathy is with them always. The cruelty of the cattlemen is going to come full circle and brand them on the arse. Shame.

    Reply Report comment
  8. Zig Pope

    Torture and bloody massacre of God’s creatures by the billionaire welfare queens and all they can b$tch about is a label.

    May they suffer the same horrifying end as the suffering cattle they “harvest”.

    Reply Report comment
  9. Bev

    How about they protect the abused animals within the factory farming community????!?!! Is eating animals “processed in a traditional manner,” including a life of TORTUE, ABUSE and CONFINEMENT, really something we should be striving for as a society?
    Yes, the USCA are running scared that vegan will overtake carnivorous. Too bad they have so many politicians in their pockets!

    Reply Report comment
  10. sirena

    they should start calling ‘meat’ what it is…dead animals who suffered. they should put pictures of the animals on the meat packages too!!!

    Reply Report comment
  11. Christine

    Shame on those blood-thirsty cattlemen who put those animals through such torture for greed. Hope more and more people choose compassion and hurt them the only place they care about, their pocketbooks.

    Reply Report comment

    It’s because cattle are “harvested” in the traditional ie cruel way that people are turning away from eating meat

    If slaughterhouses had glass walls we would all be vegan and for our health we should be

    Reply Report comment

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