172 Food Law and Animal Rights: An Interview with Tyler Lobdell from the Animal Legal Defense Fund

Today we are thrilled to publish our fascinating interview with Tyler Lobdell of the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) about the current state of animal law, and about what he (and the ALDF) have been doing in the world of food law as it relates to animal rights!

In This Episode

Tyler Lobdell, food law fellow for the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), joins us today to talk about animal law, particularly as it relates to the work he and the ALDF are doing to improve the welfare of animals used for the production of food products, increase transparency in the food industry, and ensure that consumers have access to cruelty-free and plant-based alternatives.

We talk about the current state of animal law in the United States, talk a bit about the fight against deceptive advertising, and then dig more deeply into food access issues and the work Tyler is doing in this area, especially around the campaign to get plant-based foods into schools:

Plant-Based Food in Schools

Currently, the FNS does not allow schools serving plant-based alternatives like tempeh, seitan and some non-dairy milk and yogurt to be reimbursed for the meals they serve to students under the National School Lunch Program and other Child Nutrition Programs, leading many to simply not offer them at all. Among the reasons listed in the comments for offering more plant-based alternatives to students are:

    1. The growing public interest in plant-based diets and animal welfare
      In the U.S., research found a 600% increase in the number of people that identify as vegan since 2014, and found more people are making an effort to avoid buying factory farmed products out of concern for how animals are treated and how they impact the environment.


    1. The health benefits of a plant-based diet
      People following a plant-based diet have a lower risk of diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and some forms of cancer.


  1. Consideration of non-white cultures and health needs
    For the most part, only culturally white foods (including meat and dairy) are credited by the FNS, even though many other plant-based alternatives have been served as dietary staples in non-white cultures for millennia. Research shows that approximately 63-98% of all people of African, Indigenous American, and Southeast and East Asian decent are not able to consume milk or lactose-rich dairy products without experiencing significant physical discomfort. By crediting plant-based milk and yogurt products, FNS can allow schools to more easily provide versions of these foods that are agreeable to students of all races.

Joke in the Middle
How many men’s rights activists does it take to change a lightbulb?

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