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Activism and plant-based products were called major threats to the animal agriculture industry by agribusiness news site Feedstuffs this month.
The article, Six greatest ag challenges for 2018, lists six anticipated hurdles – and highlights effects of veganism, calling activist activity like undercover filming an ‘assault’ on animal ag.
Its author, Chuck Jolley, is the president of a food marketing firm whose clients include Cattlenetwork and the North American Meat Association.
Jolley warns the industry that activists are ‘still out there; smarter, well-financed, more sophisticated and deeply determined to end animal agriculture’.
He adds that ag-gag laws – intended to prevent filming on farms without consent – have been ineffective in stopping them.
He said: “If anything, those laws gave them serious ammunition in their public relations war against you [asking why big ag needs these laws if it has nothing to hide].”
Amanda Hitt, Director of the Food Integrity Campaign with the Government Accountability Project says that, for activists, ‘getting caught (breaking ag-gag laws) might be even better than not getting caught’.
Jolley also offers tips to animal agriculture businesses to avoid being exposed for bad practices, and calls activist organizations like Mercy for Animals and Direct Action Everywhere ‘demons’.
Jolley warns that ‘competition for the centre of the consumer’s plate,’ in the form of increasingly popular of meat and dairy alternatives is another major threat, with forecasted sales of these products set to hit $25 billion within ‘two short years’.
He writes: “After years of hanging around the far distant fringes of even the most healthier-than-thou hippy co-ops and vegetarian prone supermarkets, faux burgers and holiday tofurky products are becoming mainstream.”
According to Jolley, massive cash injections from ‘the likes of billionaire philanthropists Bill Gates and Richard Branson’ mean there are some companies with the money ‘to do the serious research to make fake meat taste more like the real thing’.
Aside from activism and plant-based products, Jolley lists four additional threats to agribusiness for the coming year.
He claims cost and accessibility of transportation, a lack of cheap labour, reduced international trade and a new farm bill which will redistribute government subsidization will also pose a threat to animal ag in 2018.