A petition by:
The meat industry is about to have one of its dearest wishes written into law this summer in the European Parliament. A "name ban" will prohibit vegetarian and vegan meat alternatives from using words traditionally associated with meat, like "Burger" and "Sausage". Gone will be the days of the "Veggie burger" - all purportedly in the name of consumer protection.
Given the looming climate crisis, it is an outrage that our leaders have nothing more urgent to do than use disingenuous regulations to further hobble a tiny industry that has huge climate-saving potential. Help us tell those in charge to resist this latest lobbyist scheme and instead support environmentally friendly alternatives to meat!
For years, Big Meat has tried to make the use of terms like "Burger", "Sausage", and "Schnitzel" illegal for anything but its own products. This has already become national law in France, where since 2018 infractions can be fined with up to €300,000, a ruinous amount for many a small manufacturer of vegetarian or vegan alternatives. The bill was spearheaded by a member of parliament who is also a cattle breeder.
In Germany in 2016, lobbyist organizations Deutscher Fleischerverband (German butchers' association) and Deutscher Bauernverband (German farmers' association) petitioned regulatory bodies to ban "names associated with meat products" for meat-free alternatives. As a consequence, regulations that came into effect in 2018 now prohibit the use of terms like "Salami" or "Bratwurst" if the product contains no meat.
This April, the European Parliament's Agricultural Committee drafted a bill that would limit the use of "meaty" terms to actual animal body parts. The meat industry is obviously "panicking" because young people are abandoning meat and trying alternatives instead, Molly Scott Cato, a green UK MEP and a member of the committee, remarked.
Meat alternatives from plant proteins that save resources, reduce emissions, and come with health benefits are urgently needed. Their manufacturers need to be allowed to clearly label which traditional meat product they are an alternative to - after all, that is the whole point. Also, many existing and well-established meat alternatives have been carrying "meaty" names for decades that they would now have to give up, with potentially disastrous consequences for their business.
Access to vegetable-based alternatives must be improved, not be made even more difficult and confusing! Laws, regulations, and guidelines that are the result of the powerful meat industry's relentless lobbying should be revised.
Before the EU bill becomes law, the European Parliament has to confirm it in May, after the EU elections. We call on MEPs to vote against the Agricultural Committee's bill!