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Misinformation to Demonize Vegan Food Exposed in New Report

Misinformation to Demonize Vegan Food Exposed in New Report

Fake news headline on a newspaper

A new report by the Freedom Food Alliance exposes a campaign of misinformation, run by the animal agriculture industry, aiming to demonize vegan food

Robbie Lockie
Robbie Lockie

Los Angeles, June 10th, 2024 — The noticeable rise of veganism in the last few decades has triggered a response, a highly organized misinformation campaign by the animal agriculture industry aimed at stopping the plant-based movement in its tracks.  So argues a new, 100+ page report that warns, “There is a multi-million dollar effort by industry and their allies to slow down the shift from animal-sourced foods to plant-based ones, despite a growing scientific consensus highlighting the environmental and public health imperatives.”

Click Here to Read The Report!

Using propaganda, disinformation, and misinformation, the industry campaign has achieved significant success in demonizing alternatives proteins, particularly veggie burgers and plant-based chicken alternatives by denigrating vegan meat replacements as “processed” or “ultra-processed” while ignoring the fact that processed meat has been declared to be cancer-causing by the World Health Organization. The Cancer Council notes, “The World Health Organization has classified processed meats including ham, bacon, salami and frankfurts as a Group 1 carcinogen (known to cause cancer) which means that there’s strong evidence that processed meats cause cancer. Eating processed meat increases your risk of bowel and stomach cancer. Red meat, such as beef, lamb and pork, has been classified as a Group 2A carcinogen which means it probably causes cancer.” Nevertheless, uncritical acceptance by many mainstream reporters and social media influencers of unfairly alarmist warnings about processed, plant-based foods has allowed this canard to gain significant traction, negatively impacting the plant-based food sector.

The Vegan Cavalry Has Arrived!

Now, the vegan movement is finally fighting back with the creation of the Freedom Food Alliance. The group’s mission is to expose misinformation about veganism and vegan food.  Led by renowned digital media expert Robbie Lockie, this new group, based in the UK, just released this detailed report exposing the meat industry’s propaganda machine. UnchainedTV’s Jane Velez-Mitchell interviewed Lockie and you can watch the entire conversation here:

Exposing Misinformation

Freedom Food Alliance foundation report
Freedom Food Alliance foundation report

Robbie Lockie is a digital media expert and food transparency campaigner with over 20 years of experience in user experience design, web development, and video production. Besides being the founder and CEO of The Freedom Food Alliance, Lockie is also a co-founder and former director of Plant Based News.  Lockie is also a strategic advisor and media ambassador for the Plant Based Treaty, a landmark international treaty that puts food systems at the heart of combating the climate crisis. Lockie explains what inspired them to create the new group.

Over the last decade, I’ve become increasingly concerned about the volume of misleading information that we see on social media, the mainstream media and  outdoor media through advertising. The industry has become increasingly effective at using digital advertising and mainstream media to  pedal a specific narrative, mostly a false narrative, about plant-based diets, plant-based meats, the vegan lifestyle, vegan activism, and activists themselves. They’re using every trick in the book to try to push back against what is a global movement of people.”

The Freedom Food Alliance’s new report is called, “Harvesting Denial, Distractions, & Deception: Understanding Animal Agriculture’s Disinformation Strategies and Exploring Solutions.” Here is how Lockie summarizes it:

“This report is a deep dive, known as our foundation report, which we did with the amazing scientist Nicholas Carter. He is the lead author and environmental scientist on this project, currently working for the Game Changers Institute. His focus with this report was really to expose some of the biggest players in these misinformation and disinformation campaigns, to try to help people understand just how insidious they are, and the effect that it has throughout society.”

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“We have the truth on our side, we have the science and nutritional data on our side, and we really can’t give up.” — Robbie Lockie, The Freedom Food Alliance

Confuse The Consumers

Freedom Food Alliance Website
Freedom Food Alliance Website

The report charges that the animal agriculture industry uses some of the same strategies the tobacco industry used to create confusion surrounding scientific evidence of health risks. The meat industry, it says, funds associations, trade groups, lobbyists,  academics and social media influencers, and – with the U.S. government’s complicity -runs  huge advertising campaigns. Lockie explains more:

“Ultimately, the focus really is to try to discredit, derail, distract, and deny. It’s really about creating as much confusion as possible because, when people are confused about what to eat, and what to buy, they stick with what they know, they stick with the culture that they grew up in. And, most people on Earth today grew up in a culture of meat consumption and animal product consumption. So, when they consume media and they see these conflicting messages, when they’re at the grocery store, what do they do? They stick with what they know: the milk, the cheese, the meat, the eggs, etc.”

Watch the full conversation about the animal agriculture misinformation campaign now.

This is what Lockie says about being honest when talking about plant-based meats:

“When people say. ‘Is this vegan burger healthy?’ I’ll often say, ‘Compared to what? Compared to a bean burger or compared to a beef burger?’. If you’re comparing it to a beef burger, it is absolutely healthier. With lower saturated fats, and obviously high in fiber, these products have many benefits. If you compare it to a bean burger, no, it’s not as healthy. A bean burger has no saturated fat, it’s got a lot more fiber, and it is probably better for you. But we want the consumer to be able to have good choices when it comes to plant-based products, and we want plant-based companies to innovate.”

“I don’t think we’re going to eat our way out of this problem. We don’t need more vegan burgers and vegan chicken, and stuff like that. What we need is a change in culture.” — Robbie Lockie, The Freedom Food Alliance

Watch: About the Plant Based Treaty Now

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