Animal ag industry outlet Dairy Herd Management has published an article titled Rejecting The Vegan Message.
According to the piece, many 'alternative' brands have started smearing their opponent - i.e. meat and dairy producers - rather than touting their own benefits, in an attempt to sell more goods.
Writer Dan Murphy suggests this is an attempt to succeed financially, as opposed to a serious moral stance, writing: "When the upstarts aren’t collecting serious windfalls by selling out to the very companies they profess to loathe, that is."
Murphy uses posters by campaign group Go Vegan World as an example.
While the group isn't a business, or trying to sell any products, it does aim to promote a vegan message.
Go Vegan World made headlines last summer when the Advertising Standards Agency ruled it legal to label milk product 'inhumane' - as the group had done in its ads.
It said: "We understood that Defra recommended that calves should be kept with their mothers for at least 12 and preferably 24 hours after birth.
"Although the language used to express the claims was emotional and hard-hitting, we understood it was the case that calves were generally separated from their mothers very soon after birth, and we therefore concluded that the ad was unlikely to materially mislead readers."
Murphy writes: "The Go Vegan World campaign is familiar to anyone who’s paid attention to the anti-industry activists in this country. The approach is transparent: Attack animal agriculture, and along with it the use of animals in medical research."
The vegan movement is becoming increasingly powerful
Murphy puts forward a plan to combat vegan messaging.
He quotes Go Vegan World Sandra Higgins saying: "We imagine that non-human lives hardly matter at all.
We live as though our difference from other species entitles us to use them and that they exist for our benefit.
"This view is not only inaccurate, it is unethical. Nobody wants … their children to be the property of someone else, so anybody who is not vegan is participating in violence that directly contradicts the values that we all claim to have."
Murphy concedes that this position is difficult, if not impossible to refute - saying the correct approach is in fact not to refute it - and focus instead on repeating a positive message.
He writes: "The industry needs to stay focused on promoting animal well-being and educating consumers about sustainable food production, environmental stewardship and the importance of food security and agricultural sustainability.
"The demographic that buys into the no-animals-never-ever is but a thin slice of the adult population, about the same percentage of voters who pull the lever for the Green Party in national elections here in The States.
"Those born-again veggies aren’t going to be persuaded that the philosophy of veganism has serious problems."
Murphy does not outline what those problems are.
Like most in the animal agriculture lobby, the writer appears to take promotion of the vegan message as an attack on farmers - rather than an attack on animal exploitation.
While he writes that vegans are in the minority - and uses terminology like 'born again' to suggest a maniacal zeal around the movement and downplay it - the very fact he wrote his opinion piece shows that the industry is starting to take the threat from vegans and vegetarians more seriously.
This piece is one of a slew of recent articles in which the farming lobby has complained that vegans have been mean to them.
The dairy industry is starting to fight back
Those promoting a plant-based diet, or the vegan movement itself, should take heart from these kind of opinion pieces.
I would suggest the community braces itself for far stronger attacks over the coming months and years.
Veganism is starting to reach a critical mass - a time where the consumer boycott of unethical products like dairy is starting to have credible financial implications.
There is an old saying: "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win."
These missives from animal agriculture suggest the giant is starting to take the threat seriously - the days of being ignored and laughed at are over - it's a matter of time until the vegan message wins.
Maria is the head of written content for Plant Based News. Also a former magazine editor, newspaper reporter, and features writer. Her writing has been published by The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and various regional newspapers, as well as Vegan Life magazine and Vegan Trade Journal. She has interviewed a huge range of people, from Prime Ministers to authors, activists, pop stars and actors, and enjoys the varied range of topics writing for PBN allows her to tackle. You can follow her on Twitter @MariaChiorando and Instagram @mariachiorando.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are prepared in the author's capacity and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Plant Based News itself.
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