The meat and dairy industries have been feeling so threatened by the booming rise in the plant-based food space that they have made it their mission to ban their competitors from using terms like “meat” and “milk.” It has been a long battle kept afire by Big Meat and Dairy, and a new law from Missouri would mean possible criminal prosecution and jail time for plant-based brands using the term “meat,” but a number of groups are standing up and fighting back against this law they say is unconstitutional.
The groups that have filed for a preliminary injunction in the Western District of Missouri and asked the court to immediately stop the enforcement of this law include the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), The Good Food Institute (GFI), and the ACLU of Missouri. On a similar note, in August of this year, another lawsuit was filed in Missouri on behalf of plant-based meat brand Tofurky and GFI. These groups argue that the new law violates the First Amendment right to free speech.
ALDF’s Executive Director, Stephen Wells stated: “More and more consumers are rejecting the animal agriculture industry — which relies on intense animal cruelty — in favor of plant-based alternatives … But instead of responding to the demand for ethically produced products, certain players in the meat industry convinced a state legislature to criminalize truthful speech.”
GFI’s Executive Director, Bruce Friedrich said: “The state of Missouri shouldn’t criminalize speech in order to privilege one set of producers over another … The people of Missouri like free speech and free markets, and this law tramples on both. We’re convinced that it will not stand.”
Legal director of the ACLU of Missouri, Tony Rothert summed up the argument: “The government cannot restrict truthful speech … Everyone who cares about the Constitution should be concerned about that, regardless of what they put on their plate.”
We truly hope the efforts of these groups result in this law being overturned, which would be a great victory for free speech and a free market, two main tenets on which our country runs on. A huge thank you to these groups for standing up and protecting the rights of these plant-based brands.
Plant-based foods are not only beneficial to our health, helping prevent or reverse diseases caused by or exacerbated by animal products, but they are also of major benefit to the entire planet. To learn more about the environmental impact of our food choices, check out the Eat for the Planet book!
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