… Across the United States, tens of similar bills have been introduced - some unsuccessfully - as well as half a dozen with opposing aims, as an out-of-sight battle heats up between friends and foes of plant-based meat…
U.S. lawmakers tuck into juicy debate over meat substitutes
Sebastien Malo, Reuters
March 14, 2019
NEW YORK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Towering over a wooden podium in the Arkansas General Assembly this month, Republican representative David Hillman, a self-declared calf-roper, spoke of steak to pitch his latest bill.
“I want my rib-eye steak to have been walking around on four feet at one time or another,” he said. His proposal, making it illegal for meat-substitute products to be labeled as meat, was swiftly adopted.
Across the United States, tens of similar bills have been introduced - some unsuccessfully - as well as half a dozen with opposing aims, as an out-of-sight battle heats up between friends and foes of plant-based meat.
One key issue at stake is whether the rise of alternative meat in the world’s largest beef and veal-producing nation could substantially reduce its planet-warming emissions.
Rearing animals is a major driver of climate change - accounting for nearly 15 percent of greenhouse gas emissions - while producing meat uses land and water less efficiently than growing crops, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization says.
Increasingly, many environmentalists are placing their hopes in greener alternatives for carnivores, including lab-grown meat.
Led by plant-based foods, which mimic the taste, texture and look of meat, the U.S. alt-meat market is forecast to nearly double to $2.5 billion by 2023, according to market research firm Euromonitor International.
Lab-grown meat is not yet being sold.
The trend has put the country’s half-a-million meat-industry workers on edge, and prompted more than 20 meat-producing states, from Wyoming to Indiana and Nebraska, to look at adopting legislation similar to Hillman’s, according to The Good Food Institute, a nonprofit that promotes meat alternatives.
In contrast, legislative bodies in states with enthusiastic backers of vegan diets - green groups, animal rights activists and health campaigners - have pushed bills encouraging plant-based food, first in California, followed by Washington D.C., New York and Oregon.
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In California, which made history last year with a law guaranteeing “plant-based meals” for hospital patients...
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