Dear Wall Street Journal: Anti-Vegan Propaganda Isn’t Just Wrong, It’s Dangerous An ad commissioned by members of the meat industry claims eliminating beef consumption is not realistic - Media Credit: Adobe. Do not use without permission.

Dear Wall Street Journal: Anti-Vegan Propaganda Isn’t Just Wrong, It’s Dangerous

The beef industry paid for a major ad to be placed in Wall Street Journal. The ad claimed that meat is not damaging the planet

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4 Minutes Read

Last week, major international newspaper Wall Street Journal (WSJ) published a full-page ad that praised the sustainability of the meat industry. The ad also took a swing at the vegan movement, claiming that if every American stopped eating animal products, greenhouse gas emissions would only fall by 0.36 to 2 percent globally.

The Beef Check Off Advert in Wall Street Journal

The ad was, unsurprisingly, paid for by the Beef Checkoff, a program designed to increase the consumption of beef.

“Beef’s environmental footprint may drive headlines, but the truth is, eliminating beef is not a realistic or impactful solution for climate change,” part of the ad reads. It carries on, saying that raising cattle actually helps protect the planet.

But the claims lack meaningful evidence. And while the meat industry’s editorial tantrums are not a new concept (see the similar ads it placed in WSJ and The New York Times in 2019), they are arguably more damaging than ever.

The global climate emergency is accelerating at an unprecedented rate. We cannot afford to be spreading misinformation on such a major scale (WSJ distributes around 2,834,000 copies a day).

So, here is an open letter to the publication, urging it to correct the advertisement. You can read the full version below.


Dear Wall Street Journal, Dear Mr. Murray,

We were forwarded the attached advertisement with manipulated science displayed in the Wall Street Journal on August 14, and we would like to ask your help in rectifying the advertisement, as continuing to promote beef consumption will cause tremendous damage to our planet. 

This advertisement is based on questionable data. It is not credible, and contradicts data supported by the international scientific reports and data from institutions such as the FAO, UNEP, and the IPCC (leading international climate data sources).

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN, for example, says:

Total emissions from global livestock: 7.1 Gigatonnes of Co2-equiv per year, representing 14.5 percent of all anthropogenic GHG emissions … Cattle (raised for both beef and milk, as well as for inedible outputs like manure and draft power) are the animal species responsible for the most emissions, representing about 65 percent of the livestock sector’s emissions … feed production and processing (this includes land use change) and enteric fermentation from ruminants are the two main sources of emissions, representing 45 and 39 percent of total emissions, respectively.

The US figures for livestock production are lower but typically do not include any emissions caused elsewhere, for example for the production of livestock feed, usually in South America, which are a key driver of greenhouse gas emissions.

Furthermore: 

Switching to a plant-based diet could reduce your food-related emissions by up to 50 percent.

We just launched Diet Change Not Climate Change representing the facts accurately. 

We would prefer the Wall Street Journal to disassociate itself from the advertisement, and a confirmation it will not advertise such misleading data again. 

We would be grateful if this message could be forwarded to the correct department within the Wall Street Journal.   

Yours truly,

Jasmijn de Boo,
Vice President, ProVeg International

Robbie Lockie,
Director of Plant Based News

Update Friday 27th 11:52am BST
The article was updated to correct the
involvement of the CCF in the production of the Beef Checkoff Ad. The CCF has asserted they had no involvement in the production of the WSJ advertisement, nor the production of the website beefwhatsfordinner.com. Plant Based News has updated the article accordingly.

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The Author

Robbie Lockie

Robbie Lockie is the co-founder and director of Plant Based News.

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rodentx2
rodentx2
10 months ago

They are worried. Good!

The media gladly cheerleads for Big Ag, subsidized by the government with OUR tax money.

Harold Brown
Harold Brown
10 months ago

This is just the same old green-washing that the industry trots out every so often to assuage consumers preference bias’. Being a former cattle farmer and having interacted with experts in academia on this issue their claims are all just a bunch of manure.

Rowland Ross
Rowland Ross
10 months ago
Reply to  Harold Brown

If you’r talking about the industrial production of any food ( meat, grains, oilseeds etc. ) then “green credentials” are indeed a load of manure. The “green credentials”of meat produced as a part of integrated livestock in a regenerative system, is a whole different ball game.

Jason Orr
Jason Orr
10 months ago

Maybe you should do a little research Robbie.
Start by watching the movie “Sacred Cow” and you will see how mislead this movement really is. How many grazing herds has humanity destroyed? The number of livestock we have on this planet fails in comparison to what we have killed, for a start. A more present danger humanity poses to the planet is agriculture. The vast areas of forest and grasslands we destroy every year to make way for industrial agriculture makes animal farming look totally irrelevant.

Also, there is absolutely no way a human can be truly healthy without meat. Anyone who tells you otherwise has some sort of agenda they are trying to push or are just kidding themselves and have absolutely no idea.
I am an animal lover and appreciate people wanting to live on an animal free diet purely for their love of animals, as they know, it is their own health they are jeopardizing. But you should not be trying to make people believe in something that is in no way good for their long term health. That is dangerous!
All the research about the dangers of red meat lately don’t bother to tell people that most of the red meat you buy of the shelf is grain fed. Feeding animals something that they are not supposed to eat makes them sick and also makes the people who eat them sick. Animals are just like us. What happens when we eat cereals and grains? We get sick. What happens when you feed cows cereals and grains instead of fresh grass? They also get sick.

Do your research people. Always take agenda pushing websites like this with a grain of salt. And stop trying to deny who and what you are. We are Human Beings. We are an OMNIVOROUS species!! Our bodies and digestive systems evolved over 2.5 million years to eat plants and animals. Our systems fail when we try living on plants alone. We are physiologically not suited to it.

Howard Moss
Howard Moss
10 months ago
Reply to  Jason Orr

Yes, we are omnivorous. Meaning we can eat plants OR animals – OR either of the two according to the choice that we as humans, with a highly developed brain and the most flexible species on earth, make.

Jason Orr
Jason Orr
10 months ago
Reply to  Howard Moss

Do you know why we have a highly developed brain?? We eat meat. When we started eating meat, we had a lot more energy available to us. This, and an evolutionary need to be smarter than the things we ate, allowed our brains to grow as big and complex as they are today. If we didn’t eat meat, we would still be swinging in the branches, eating leaves with our big pot bellies full of vegetation digesting intestines, which we lost once we started eating meat. Amazing isn’t it?

Rowland Ross
Rowland Ross
10 months ago
Reply to  Jason Orr

It’s not just an energy issue, it’s also about the increase of long-chain PUFASs ( game meats are low in saturated fats and much higher in monounsaturated fats and PUFAs ). It has also been hypothesised that the need for communication amongst early Hominins while hunting, resulted in the use of complex language.

Howard Moss
Howard Moss
10 months ago
Reply to  Jason Orr

Yes, it would be amazing if it were true. But there’s not the slightest evidence that we got highly developed brain through eating meat. And if it were the case, why haven’t other animals that eat meat become more brainy too?

Jason Orr
Jason Orr
10 months ago
Reply to  Howard Moss

With all due respect, that’s a bit off topic Howard. The point is, we can’t have evolved a highly developed, large brain without eating meat. Eating meat is the reason why we are who, and what, we are. Stop denying it.

Howard Moss
Howard Moss
10 months ago
Reply to  Jason Orr

Even if it were true that eating meat has made us what we are (and you don’t know, Jason, any more than I do if that’s true, partly true or not true at all), our highly developed brains now allow us (as other animals’ brains don’t allow them) to make informed and humane decisions about how to behave, organise ourselves, feed ourselves, etc. These may be decisions that may go against what has happened in the past, but we shouldn’t hesitate to make them on grounds of morality, empathy, or just common sense.

Rowland Ross
Rowland Ross
10 months ago
Reply to  Howard Moss

I presume you mean your own views of “ morality, empathy, and common sense”. If you lived in a part of the world where you had to supply your own food you may well view things differently. If it is morally acceptable for people in rural communities to consume animal foods then it is also the case in the developed world. The amount we produce and the way we produce it is a different issue.

Arturo Reaza N
Arturo Reaza N
10 months ago
Reply to  Howard Moss
Jason Orr
Jason Orr
10 months ago
Reply to  Howard Moss

It doesn’t matter if your decisions are made for ethical or humane reasons or how well informed you think your decisions are, the fact is, without healthy pasture, or naturally fed animals in your diet, you are going to get very sick sooner or later.
That is a fact. Do all the research you want, to inform your decisions, go to biased websites like this one, to find the answers you are looking for, it will never change the facts. Stop denying who, and what you are. You are a human being who needs to eat meat to be truly healthy. That’s all there is to it.
Welcome to planet Earth!

Howard Moss
Howard Moss
10 months ago
Reply to  Jason Orr

I’m sorry, Jason, this is plain bullshit. I’m 75, haven’t eaten meat or fish for most of my life and I’m truly ‘healthy’, I can assure you. Unlike many of my friends who’ve carried on eating meat and have either fallen prey to bad illnesses (cancers, strokes, heart disease mainly) or have simply died. Yet around me are still very many other healthy vegetarians of my age and older. Please don’t therefore make unjustified and manifestly false comments like ‘a human being … needs meat to be truly healthy’.

Jasko Amsterdam Bosna
Jasko Amsterdam Bosna
10 months ago
Reply to  Jason Orr

Actually mankind developed its intelligence by moving from bountiful areas to areas which arent as hospitable and requires thinking to settle and survive in. Which explains why Africans in general never developed as extensively as other peoples did as the food is plentiful there and the climate is, while sometimes very hot, doable for a tribe of humans who can secure a watersource.

Karen NBvW
Karen NBvW
10 months ago

Wow somebody has found a way to add racism to the discussion of diet. I’d agree if we were talking about racism & genuine food desserts both rural & inner city. There is a whole discussion to be had for that racism & why POC have less good health b/c fresh vegs are unavailable to them in a food dessert that has only processed foods provided by BIG industry to feed the ‘poor’!

Jason Orr
Jason Orr
10 months ago

It doesn’t matter why, I’m arguing the “how”. Without meat, it would not have happened. Our brains use large amounts of energy. Plant based diets failed to supply enough.
Although, I’m pretty sure the adoption of tools had a lot more to do with “why”.

Karen NBvW
Karen NBvW
10 months ago
Reply to  Jason Orr

This ‘argument’ is but on serious misinformation…I will skip all the BS about Animal Ag w’only one comment. Deforestation worldwide is EXCLUSIVELY for either actually grazing cattle &/or for growing food for cattle. Fact #1!

As far as diet: yes humans are omnivore but optimum health is achieved w’FAR less animal fat & protein & FAR more plant fiber than SAD or ‘Standard American Diet’ includes. Fact #2!

Kaiser Foundation, the LARGEST HMO in our C’try has for approximately the last 5 years RECOMMENDED to ALL it’s Med. Staff & ALL it’s patients that the optimum diet is a WHOLE FOOD, PLANT BASED, w’low amounts of distilled oils or WFPBNO. Fact #3

Rowland Ross
Rowland Ross
10 months ago
Reply to  Karen NBvW

If you’re going to quote facts you need to get them right!

Fact # 1. Never heard of Palm Oil, Avocados, Sugar, Cotton, Timber, Paper etc?? 26% of deforestation is due to the expansion of small arable agriculture worldwide. Here in the UK we have lost 50% of Semi-natural Ancient Woodland, thousands of miles of Hedgerows, 90% of Wild Flower Meadows, since WW2 all to grow crops for a rising human population.

Fact # 2. And far less sugar! Nothing wrong with the consumption of quality animal foods in moderation.

Fact # 3. Coming from the UK I’m not familiar with the Kaiser Foundation. However a quick look at their website shows a recommendation of lots of fruit and vegetables plus oily and white fish and small amounts of lean meat, sounds excellent to me.

Jason Orr
Jason Orr
10 months ago
Reply to  Karen NBvW

Fact #1: The only BS is where you wrote ‘EXCLUSIVELY’. Not only do they clear native forests and grasslands for industrial agriculture, but the amount of chemical pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers they apply is unsustainable and downright ridiculous. Meanwhile,
running livestock on land has the opposite effect. It is actually good for the land if done in a responsible way.
Fact #2: My point exactly. We need animals in our diet or we’ll get sick. Also, saturated fats are actually very good for you. Haven’t you heard the news? Conventional wisdom has had it’s day.
Fact #3: Your right! It’s a fact that they recommend this. But just because the countries biggest HMO recommends eating a plant based diet, doesn’t mean it’s good for you…they also recommend eating whole grains!

Arturo Reaza N
Arturo Reaza N
10 months ago
Reply to  Jason Orr

Jason, although you tried hard to sound knowledgeable on this matter, you only revealed that
you need to do some true research. This opinion you hold is vastly, terribly uninformed. To start off, read about the relationship between worldwide deforestation, especially the Amazon and the carnist diet. You also mention that meat eating is healthier and yet offer no true evidence why. And guess what? You are very mistaken. Also, you keep believing that meat eating had an impact on brain development/evolution and this is simply false: https://evolvinghealthscience.blogspot.com/2012/12/why-you-can-all-stop-saying-meat-eating.html

You need to do some homework. I recommend watching ‘Cowspiracy’ and when you are done watching take a look at ‘The Game Changers’ for a better understanding of what veganism can do for you and the planet. But even better yet, start reading books on nutrition and veganism to truly make an informed decision. If you are honest, I am sure, at the very least, you’ll end up being vegetarian.

Jason Orr
Jason Orr
10 months ago
Reply to  Arturo Reaza N

That’s exactly my point. People like you only hear what you want to hear. You ignore the facts pointed out by very inelegant people who have devoted their whole scientific careers to researching, because it doesn’t fit in to your view of the perfect world. You sit around drinking your soy lattes, poking fun at people who follow what our ancestors have done for the past 2.5 million years of evolution. We evolved eating animals, plants, nuts and berries! We never got sick and died from any of the modern day ailments we die from today.
I have been eating grass fed meat, plants and seafood for the past 12 years and have not been sick, not even a cold or a flu. I never run out of energy and do intense exercise 6 days out of 7. I’m fully recovered after 12 hours.

I’m sorry but the facts will never change no matter how much you cry or read otherwise.

I’ll stick with the science. But thanks anyway.

Karen NBvW
Karen NBvW
10 months ago

I am throughly amazed @ the load of misinformation held in the opinions below! That here in 2021 there are so few who do not understand how there bodies respond to food! Please check out documentaries “ForksOver Knives”, “Plant Pure Nation”, “Supersize Me”, Food Inc.” & “Cowspiracy” & read anything by TCCampbell, DOrnish, JFurhman & MGreger along w’his web site http://www.NutritionFacts.org . Ornish & NPritkin are the original Docs who began w’a Whole Food Plant Based No Oil diet in curing relatively young but close to death folks of the results of a life eating SAD or Standard American Diet. Their results alone ought to convince most!

American is a nation of FAT people, who from mid 50s are all beginning to see the result of eating far too much animal protein & fat & not nearly enough fiber. Cancer, IBS, Diabetes, BP, Circulation w’Heart Issues & most immune deficient issues are the result of SAD! TColin Campbell discovered 20+ years ago that breast, prostate & 3 other ‘sex’ organ cancers are very much connected to dairy consumption but BS like the ad spoken about here suppressed info b/c Meat & Dairy lobby is richest in the nation. Only quite recently have news outlets like NYT &WaPo begun to verify this.

People you are being ‘fleeced’ by the moneyed lobbies & news source like WSJ who print these ads to pay for their papers which are losing $$$ daily by b/c folks like these commentators think they are becoming informed by social media when they are actually having total misinformation or rather LIES constantly repeated by ‘meat & dairy bots’ doing as much damage for knowledge of health as they are doing regarding, race, the environment, and anything else of import.

WAKE UP people B4 it’s too late….truth doesn’t happen b/c there are 10,000,000 likes it happens when you learn the FACTS. Spend the time to check them out to protect yourself & our planet!

Jason Orr
Jason Orr
10 months ago
Reply to  Karen NBvW

I prefer to listen to people who base their whole lives on these topics. Anthropologists, biological Chemists and Paleontologists. Not people who live in their own little dream worlds and only absorb the biased information they want to hear, that fits into their perfect world.

Madravenspeak
Madravenspeak
10 months ago

60% of mammals on earth are livestock ( dead stock), 36% of mammals are humans and only 4% of mammals left are wild – from mice to tigers and elephants. Large mammals are being trophy killed into extinction. In fact it takes 11 – 17 X the land to put healthy grains and vegetables through an animal to eat carcasses. That is land cleared of life. 70% of birds on earth are poultry and only 30% all the wild birds left. We are extinguishing the web of life that gives us health to kill off billions of unlucky young animals grown just to kill them.

The Amazon rain forest has just tipped from being a carbon sink to being a carbon emitter due to burning for grazing and mining. FOR MORE HUMAN EXPLOITATION. It was described as the lungs of the planet and the last great reservoir of biodiversity.

We have learned more and more about the sentience and fear and suffering – the kindness and empathy that fellow mortals have – and yet we ignore it to eat cow mucous and carcasses. It is unhealthy not just physically, but spiritually to be so casually cruel (out of sight).

I am a journalist documenting the demise of our planet ( oceans predicted to warm 7 – 11 times faster as we destroy the planet ) and knowing that Worldwatch Institute did intensive studies to prove that 51% cause of climate change is caused by animal agriculture ( added to the massive destruction of wildlife to facilitate animal agriculture ). We are in real trouble destroying the fellow mortals that weave the world together for us. Expect more pandemics and more deadly ones – as this one morphs to more contagious – because we cannot live on a dead planet. As the oceans die, over-fished, plasticized, and acidifying with having absorbed most of the CO2 we have spewed into the air – dead oceans, dead us. There will be war over resources and we will gobble up the rest of life on our way out.

We are in an insect apocalypse – with so many toxic chemical soups being sprayed on our food systems. We are nuts!

We were not a nice species when a beautiful, balanced, full of life world was given us – we certainly will not be nicer as we are alone. Even the Vatican, hardly your animal rights organization, met in February, 2017 and declared biodiversity destruction co-equal to climate change as the major immediate threats to human survival on this planet.

The Center for Biological Diversity just put out a petition to President Biden to declare a national extinction emergency. With a million species going extinct now ( half of the human-identified life of the planet), we are in ecosystem collapse as animals cannot find what they need to survive. It is an interdependent web of life and WE ALL NEED EACH OTHER!

The karma of our cruelty and ignorance is here.

And there is a new documentary EATING OUR WAY TO EXTINCTION – narrated by Kate Winslet with Leonardo DiCaprio and Richard Branson. The trailer is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kAGu7hL3E10 The entire documentary will be released September 16.

Jason Orr
Jason Orr
10 months ago

I think perhaps the lack of meat in your diet is having a serious negative affect on your thought processes.

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