Tipping point: Beef lobby is worried about the threat of “fake meat”

America’s dairy industry understands the threat–or to many of us, the promise–of cruelty-free dairy alternatives like soy, coconut, and almond milk. Its lobbyists are working overtime on legislation that would regulate the use of terms like “milk” and (allegedly) prevent confusion among consumers.

Now, the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association is grumbling about the growing number of cruelty-free meat alternatives, and it’s preparing to take action in capitol buildings and courtrooms. To vegans and vegetarians, that should suggest that we’ve reached a tipping point:

The association launched what could be the first salvo in a long battle against plant-based foods. Earlier this month, the association filed a 15-page petition with the U.S. Department of Agriculture calling for an official definition for the term “beef,” and more broadly, “meat.”

“While at this time alternative protein sources are not a direct threat to the beef industry, we do see improper labeling of these products as misleading,” said Lia Biondo, the association’s policy and outreach director. “Our goal is to head off the problem before it becomes a larger issue.”

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