Monday, July 8, 2024

Taste, Price, Convenience, Chicken

Tim Story: In This Small Spot 

#TeamChicken (look closely)

As I've written ad nauseam, most everything we* do as advocates increases the number of animals being factory-farmed

Watching the relentless increase for the past decades ...

...made supply-side advocacy more attractive. It was 2006 when I first started arguing that we should just give people what they want but plant-based. Make it easy for people to make a better choice - match the taste, price, and convenience of animal meat - and people will stop making "bad" choices. 

And in the past decade or so, more people and companies have adopted this view. (Impossible Foods founded in 2011; Beyond Meat in 2009, going public in 2019.)

Yet in terms of animals suffering, there is zero evidence of any impact of this work, either.

In the past few months, I spent many hours on different occasions in an airport lounge in Los Angeles. The food was free (can't beat the price). Plant-based was right next to the animal chicken (perfect convenience).  

Yet watching the buffet, not a single person even tried the plant-based chicken.

This is just an anecdote, of course, although it is supported by the statistics. More, from the Wall Street Journal Food Forum:

The McDonald's president was asked when we'll see more plant-based options at McDonald's. He responded by saying that no one wanted the McPlant, their customers don't want plant proteins from McDonald's, the consumer wants more chicken, and they now sell more chicken than beef at McDonald's.

I don't say this to be a downer. But if we want to have any chance of actually reducing suffering, I do think we need to start by being honest.  

And we need to explicitly give people reasons specifically not eat chicken.

* In the United States. However, as documented at the end of 2022, even meat reduction in Germany led to more animals being factory-farmed. The very latest data indicates this might be turning around. Even with the most optimistic projections, it will be a while before the number of animals killed per capita returns to where it was ten years ago.  

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