An excellent recent post on Alex Gazzola’s AllergyInsight blog covers several subjects (including a recent Anaphylaxis Campaign webinar on novel proteins on which more anon) but homes in on the current battle between the vegan and dairy lobbies, both claiming the moral high grand in the environmental debate.
The truth is, of course, that if you are talking about factory farming – be it of dairy or beef cows or of soya beans or oats – it is all unsustainable and damaging to the environment.
If our world is to survive, we need to eat less meat, drink less milk and grow fewer soya beans to feed the cattle – but that does not mean that we should eat no meat and drink no milk. Cattle, raised as part of a sustainable agricultural system, deliver significant benefits and offer a nutritious food source. In his post Alex links to an impassioned defence of responsible farming by farmer Tom Haddon.
But vegans, marching in full cry towards the promised land, will have none of that and are happy to use any means to discredit dairy – see Oatly’s current very clever but scarcely emollient campaign, Dad’s on TV. This uses using virtue signalling to shame milk loving dads into giving up their much loved pinta. More clear-sighted vegans understand that, rather than shaming them, a better way to wean dairy and beef lovers off their favourite foods is to provide them with a planet-protecting alternative that replicates the original as closely as possible. But in winning over the doubters, terminology is all important. So making the verbal link – ‘Beyond Burgers’, yogurt alternative, Cheddar style – could be crucial in gaining acceptance in a meat and dairy loving world.
But vegans are not the only ones to understand this. The EU meat and dairy industries, their backs to the wall, have been lobbying the EU to tighten the regulations governing the use of such terms – ideally to prevent their use altogether. Their suggestion is that the words ‘burger’ and ‘sausage’ should be replaced by ‘disc’ and ‘tube’. One can see why vegans might think this was a poor idea.