Students Against Plant-Based Censorship!

Students Against Plant-Based Censorship!

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Harmony Schwartz started this petition to To: the European Commission and EU Member States

Plant-Based foods are currently under attack. Amendment 171 was adopted by the AGRI Committee in May 2019, as part of the update to the Common Organisation of the Markets for Agricultural Products (CMO). The amendment would place incredibly strict regulations on plant-based marketing and would seek to eradicate any “imitation or evocation” of dairy products. The result could be plant-based companies being banned from selling products that even minimally resemble dairy foods, so a plant-based dessert that maintains the shape of a yogurt cup will not fly. Not only would imitation of dairy products be prohibited, but any attempt to exploit the reputation of the dairy industry–such as claiming a product reduces twice as many carbon emissions as dairy– would be strictly prohibited. This ammendment would place a serious hindrance on the growth of plant-based culture, and would only add to the current stigma surrounding the progress of plant-based cuisine. The EU’s stated objective is consumer protection, yet preventing consumers from being able to choose plant-based options with feasibility and viability achieves the opposite. Additionally, the language used in the amendment proposal is vague and neither the scope nor intended interpretation are clearly pronounced. The European Alliance for Plant-Based Food (EAPF) claims that “This could result in unintended but detrimental consequences for the interpretation of food and consumer standards and the future of innovations for plant-based food, as well as a minefield for regulators and the law courts” (EAPF). 

As students, we feel it is our duty to constantly advocate for the health of our environment, ourselves, and the creatures we share the earth with. We are the generation that will soon face the consequences of our rapidly changing climate, waning resources, and issues of social equity. People turn to plant-based cuisine for environmental, ethical, and preferential reasons. Making it harder for these plant-based companies to expand their horizons and develop a larger consumer population is a step in the wrong direction. Two seperate University of Oxford studies have found that a vegan diet reduces one’s carbon footprint by 73%, and that it avoids some of the worst impacts of climate change. Additionally, it is a path to stand against animal mistreatment and the corrupt nature of the meat and dairy industries. Products like “Beyond Burger,” “Impossible Burger,” or even “Gardein Chicken-Nuggets'' may be forced to completely rebrand their marketing and product genealogy due to its loose resemblance to animal branding. A plant-based diet should not be hard. A plant-based diet needs to be equally regulated as any other diet. Don’t let this climate-hostile amendment pass.

A petition organized by ProVeg has already accumulated 435,000 signatures including representation from ProVeg, Upfield, Oatly and 96 other organizations. As students we feel that our voice adds even more value to this debate, as we aren’t just consumers. We are the future generation, and while we may not hold leverage in decisions being made about the future, we will use our voice and demand that amendment 171 be halted immediately.

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