Shaun Britton Takes A Closer Look At The Meat and Dairy Industries Who Are Restricting The Progress Of The Vegan Movement.
The first fully vegan cheesemongers 'La Fauxmagerie’ opened in Brixton earlier this year, and enjoyed sold-out attendance at their opening. Yet shortly after they found themselves in the centre of a complaint from the dairy industry. The group 'Dairy UK', claimed the owners were misleading customers, unaware of EU regulations and demanded they stop using the word ‘cheese’ to describe their product. Is this a legitimate concern, or the latest of attempts from animal food industries to hold back the rising vegan market?
Troubling Tales: Vested Interests And Biased Reporting
The incident with the vegan cheesemongers is not, by any means, an isolated case. In 2017 in the US, Senator Tammy Baldwin surprisingly authored the ‘DAIRY PRIDE Act’ which sought to remove the words ‘milk’, ‘yogurt’ and ‘cheese’ from plant based alternative products, something farmers have petitioned the FDA with for many years. Whilst not only intimating that the general population can't figure out that soy milk doesn't come from a cow, the act romanticises the dairy industry as a noble quest for nutrition, swiftly jettisoning both its health concerns and dark underbelly from public consciousness.
The ‘Just Mayo’ vegan mayonnaise saga, a similar event in the US, reads like the first few pages of a legal thriller novel. In a spend of nearly $60,000, the American Egg Board (AEB) planted egg product messages with influential bloggers and deployed targeted pop-ups to outrank and obscure searches for the product itself, or similar products online. Whilst an investigation concluded they made the comment in jest, internal emails in the AEB described ‘putting a hit out’ on the maker of the product, and getting ‘old buddies from Brooklyn to pay him a visit’. The events seemed to result in the early retirement of the AEB’s then CEO, after an investigation by the US Department of Agriculture.
These examples are very common, and It's not just dairy either. A recent programme in Australia that aired on Channel 7 titled ‘The Big Beef’, a piece about vegan advocates and activists was criticised for its misleading and potentially inflammatory language and biased reporting, with one of the key participants describing at as ‘ridiculous biased garbage’. Further investigation uncovered that the chairman and owner of Channel 7, a multimillionaire, has his own cattle empire, reportedly at one million hectares.
Echoes of the past?
In Victor Hugo's classic novel ‘The Hunchback of Notre-Dame’, the archdeacon directs the eyes of two visitors from the book on his table to the silhouette of Notre-Dame Cathedral in the distance and states ‘This will destroy that. The book will kill the edifice’. Perhaps, the real concern of the industries seeking to curtail or control the growing vegan movement, is less about wording and more about knowledge. The truth of the animal industries is cleverly obscured. And as the printing press threatened existing structures by the spreading of books, perhaps the vegan movement threatens existing industries with the spreading of truth. | Tru. 🌱
We are a conscious publication and platform providing social-ethical insight and knowledge about topics that matter | Ethical insight, one place. www.tru.org.uk
We are funded by readers like you. To support our work and journalism, donate here
1.) Horton, H. (2019). UK's first vegan 'cheese' monger is misleading customers, dairy industry complains. [online] The Telegraph. Available at: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/02/11/uks-first-vegan-cheese-monger-misleading-customers-dairy-industry/
2.) Currentaffairs.org. (2019). Tammy Baldwin is Great, Just Not for Cows | Current Affairs. [online] Available at:https://www.currentaffairs.org/2018/12/tammy-baldwin-is-great-just-not-for-cows
3.) Mohan, G. (2019). The egg industry launched a secret two-year war against a vegan mayonnaise competitor. [online] latimes.com. Available at: https://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-egg-board-investigation-20161007-snap-story.html
4.) Plantbasednews.org. (2019). Billionaire Tycoon With Meat Industry Links Chairs TV Company Behind Anti-Vegan Documentary. [online] Available at: https://www.plantbasednews.org/post/billionaire-meat-industry-links-chairs-tv-company-anti-vegan-documentary
5.) Hugo, Victor Marie. Notre Dame de Paris. Vol. XII. Harvard Classics Shelf of Fiction. New York: P.F. Collier & Son, 1917