Your future is animal friendly

And it’s never looked better!

Beyond Meat

Today I learnt that the former CEO of… wait for it… McDonald’s is joining Beyond Meat, a California startup that wants to replace beef and chicken with its vegan alternatives:

A little about Beyond Meat:

We believe there is a better way to feed the planet. Our mission is to create mass-market solutions that perfectly replace animal protein with plant protein. We are dedicated to improving human health, positively impacting climate change, conserving natural resources and respecting animal welfare. At Beyond Meat, we want to make the world a better place and we’re starting one delicious meal at a time.

That someone so obviously business minded and driven as a former McDonald’s CEO would take such a strong and active interest in “meats” made with no animals is one massive step forward. It is a sign that these “meats” have a strong potential for commercial success.

This follows news that Asia’s richest man, Li Ka-shing and his private technology investment firm, Horizons Ventures, have invested $23 million into a company aiming at replacing eggs, Hampton Creek.

It was reported early in 2015 in Bloomberg BusinessWeek magazine that Bill Gates is among several investors and venture capitalists supporting start ups who are working on “sustainable food innovation” aiming to create meat and eggs that are not only animal-friendly, but are also cheaper, better for the environment and just as tasty (From The Vancouver Sun). Already back in 2013, Gates was writing about the future of food and some of the major problems linked with eating animals.

From a health perspective, reports linking meat with cancer have been all over the news recently. What this means is that the image of meat as the natural guarantee of health and strength belongs in the dustbins of history. We can no longer pretend that eating meat is best.

From an environmental perspective, reports abound — exploiting animals is often environmentally detrimental. Land use, waste of resources, pollutions… considering we can live without it and be better off, it seems illogical to continue to ignore this simply because we so desperately want to hang on to outdated and cruel cultural habits.

A United Nations study, Livestock’s long shadow (2006), reports how meat production accounts for a massive amount of greenhouse gas emissions. In 2012, the United Nations Environment Programme released “Growing greenhouse gas emissions due to meat production”, stating “the livestock sector emerges as one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems”. The National Academy of Sciences of the USA published a damning report on land, irrigation water, greenhouse gas, and reactive nitrogen burdens of meat, eggs, and dairy production in the United States. Animal agriculture is responsible for an alarming percentage of worldwide deforestation. Please take a look at this detailed and referenced fact sheet on how animal agriculture may be one of the most destructive industries facing the planet today:

Fishing is destroying our planet. Overfishing and pollution kill more corals than climate change. The environmental impact of fishing is a disgrace.

Eating fish or land animals supports the superstition that animals are there for us to use and abuse. Animals are sentient but many if not most people still believe that it doesn’t matter since they’re not humans. The truth is, if we wouldn’t have a companion animal go through what the animals we eat are going through, we are fooling ourselves. Old habits are hard to shake, I get that. Yet our health, our environment and the animals would benefit greatly if we could just for one moment consider change.

Take a look at the animal industry and its practices.

Can we live with this cruelty? The animals can’t and we don’t have to.

Using new technology, we can learn about the truth behind animal agriculture and we can create alternatives that will be cheaper to produce, that will use a lot less resources and that will be healthier and just as tasty.

Drones are increasingly used to gain access and see for ourselves the other side of animal exploitation:

Biotechnology and in particular GM technology allows us to produce food, textile and medical alternatives to their animal version.

The Animalist recently published an interview of Jamie Foley, a biotechnology activist involved in VeganGMO and the Real Vegan Cheese project:

Now, I feel I should clarify that I don’t believe it’s reasonable to simply wait for these animal friendly meats and cheeses to appear on our shop’s shelves to start caring. Millions of animals are still being mistreated and slaughtered because we consume them and see them as products and by products.

It is a great time to ramp up our efforts to do animalist outreach work to help people reduce, or even better, stop completely their consumption of animals. However, it’s going to keep on getting easier and easier as animal friendly alternatives abound and become mainstream. Not only that, but simply getting people to switch the meat, dairy and eggs they are consuming and buying to brands that are clearly better for one’s health, for the environment and for the animals has got to be a whole lot easier than convincing them that they should never have meat or cheese ever again.

Interested? Convinced? Need to see more? Watch this space. Follow The Animalist on Medium, Twitter or on Facebook.

Coming soon: an interview of Ryan Bethencourt, Biohacker, Investor and Entrepreneur, Co-Founder of IndieBio, Berkeley Biolabs, Counter Culture labs and LAblaunch:

Extract of interview: I was involved in 2008/2009 with what we now call biohacking — at the time, we called it community science. During the great recession, biotech companies were going bankrupt, closing doors and myself and a few friends of mine start buying used lab equipment for pennies on the dollar. One of my friends, John Schloendorn, ended up building a robotic lab in his garage and that ended up sparking the biohacker revolution, starting with biocurious, genspace, LA biohackers and I went on to co-found counter culture labs, berkeley biolabs and more. In the last seven years I’ve helped co-found more biospaces than anyone else I know in the hope of helping more people get access to low cost bio tools. I helped Hampton creek hire their first scientist (back then called beyond eggs) and I was excited to see one of my friends, Marc Juul and fellow biohackers realize a dream of his, to make real vegan cheese in yeast in collaboration with Counter Culture labs and Biocurious.
I’m a scientist/maker first but also dedicated vegan (for the last seven years). My aim through my work is not just to accelerate and democratize access to the use of biology to solve some of humanity’s most pressing problems, for food, water, biomaterials and health but also to accelerate the post animal bioeconomy, finding another more humane and environmentally sustainable way of making the products people want but without the use of other sentient beings (animals).

UPDATE: The Ryan Bethencourt interview is out: