Towering over a wooden podium in the Arkansas General Assembly this month, Republican representative David Hillman, a self-declared calf-roper, spoke of steak to pitch his latest bill. “I want my rib-eye steak to have been walking around on four feet at one time or another,” he said. His proposal, making it illegal for meat-substitute products to be labeled as meat, was swiftly adopted.
Across the U.S., tens of similar bills have been introduced—some unsuccessfully—as well as half a dozen with opposing aims, as an out-of-sight battle heats up between friends and foes of plant-based meat.
One key issue at stake is whether the rise of alternative meat in the world’s largest beef and veal-producing nation could substantially reduce its planet-warming emissions.
Rearing animals is a major driver of climate change—accounting for nearly 15 percent of greenhouse gas emissions—while producing meat uses land and water less efficiently than growing crops, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization says.
Increasingly, many environmentalists are placing their hopes in greener alternatives for carnivores, including lab-grown meat.
Led by plant-based foods, which mimic the taste, texture, and look of meat, the U.S. alt-meat market is forecast to nearly double to $2.5 billion by 2023, according to market research firm Euromonitor International.| | | Next → | Single Page