Establish federal policies to transition animal industries to plant-based agriculture

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The COVID-19 pandemic emphasizes the dire consequences of zoonotic diseases. An estimated 75 percent of new or emerging diseases start in animals. Most of these originate from farmed animals, and industrial animal agriculture (meat and dairy) provide the perfect environment for viruses to mutate into virulent forms that harm humans.

It is time that our federal government stops subsidizing the meat and dairy industries and transitions our agricultural landscape to plant-based farming, especially legume production, as sustainable protein alternatives. As there are plant-based versions of virtually every dairy product that are better for environmental, human, and animal health, we have every reason to stop reinforcing the dairy industry.

The federal government should enact policies that encourage the production and consumption of plant-based proteins and dairy alternatives, which would reduce the risk of future pandemics, reduce methane emissions, improve human health, reduce health care costs, and spare animals' lives.