Ban on false meat labelling welcomed

Saai welcomes the decision of the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development that plant-based alternatives to animal protein may not be marketed as meat, dairy or egg.

The public is being misled by this and despite the objections from anti-livestock activists and companies, who illegally make a profit by pretending to replace animal products effectively, it is vital for livestock farmers that the integrity of their products in the marketplace is protected.

Anti-livestock activists mislead the consumer not only with labels pretending to be meat, dairy or egg, but also with pseudo-science based on false claims that animal protein has negative implications for health, climate, biodiversity or animal welfare .

At the United Nations (UN) Food Systems Summit of August 2021, the world’s top scientists proved that there are no negative health implications due to animal protein in the human diet, on the contrary, certain essential nutrients such as vitamins B12 are found in animal products.

The anti-livestock activists are also not honest about the climate footprint of meat and dairy production. The release of methane gas by ruminants is part of a short cycle where devoured pastures sequester more carbon than those in which the methane gas is broken down in the atmosphere. It cannot be compared with the release of carbon from fossil fuels in the energy and transport sectors.

The vegetarian movement also does not reveal the carbon footprint and impact on biodiversity that millions of acres of beans, from which plant-based alternatives to animal products must be produced.

The only stakeholders in the food system who benefit from the plant-based protein movement are large processing companies that centralize power in the value chain outside the farm gate, reduce farmers to contract workers, and make huge profits.

As a campaigner for the interests of smaller and medium-sized family farmers, Saai will relentlessly expose the falsehood of the anti-livestock activists and influence policies to ensure that the livestock farmer has a rightful place in the food system.