By Published On: 6 February 2013536 words2.7 min read

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Linda McCartney Foods Confusing ‘Meat-Free’ Message

By Brian Weber, Guest Contributor

The Hain Celestial Group has announced the release of a new line of ‘meat free’ vegetarian foods under the Linda McCartney Foods brand, but vegans won’t be buying them. The problem lies in the fact that, despite being meat free, many of them do contain dairy. With what we know about dairy’s effects on our health and on the environment, not to mention the horrible treatment of dairy cows, this is a curious trade off, especially considering the ‘look how kind we are to animals’ marketing vibe. And while these products are not currently available in North America, a growing number of people are petitioning to change that. I will not be signing that petition.

We can only wonder if the happy, guitar-playing cow in this ad is meant to depict one of the tortured souls being exploited for her milk.

The confusion begins with the message that this food is “kinder to animals…” and that you can “taste the love.” The fact of the matter is that the dairy cows are treated as cruelly, if not more cruelly, than their counterparts who are exclusively farmed for their flesh and hides. The agony and suffering that these wonderful creatures endure over their abbreviated lives is a wretched, heartbreaking reality. And the process by which the eggs are acquired is, of course, no kinder. I can assure you that this is NOT what love tastes like.

We are then taken deeper into the alternate reality of the cartoon when its narrator, Elvis Costello, attempts to lead us into believing that these foods are somehow “kinder to the environment”. This is yet another example of a complete misunderstanding of the link between animal agriculture and climate change. We know that animal agriculture is responsible for at least 51% of human-caused GHG emissions. Scientists from the Agricultural Research Service found that a commercial dairy with 10,000 milk cows generated an average of 3,575 pounds of ammonia, 33,092 pounds of methane, and 409 pounds of nitrous oxide every day. Paul McCartney himself has repeatedly lent his voice to the climate change cause, specifically targeting animal agriculture. How is this hypocrisy not more widely recognized?

RELATED READING: The Environment & Veganism

I understand the need to offer ‘meat-like’ choices but why not embrace recipes and ingredients that benefit all animals, not just some animals. And while we’re at it, let’s be honest with our marketing. If you’re leaving out the meat but still including dairy, are your products really “kinder to animals and the environment”? If I torture 5 people instead of 10, am I kinder for it?

You may be familiar with Sir Paul’s famous quote: “If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be vegetarian.” Perhaps I could provide some much needed clarity with the following addition: …and dairy cows would continue to be forcibly and repeatedly artificially impregnated, have their calves stolen from them at birth, endure a short life of anguish and torture, and ultimately be sent to the abattoirs themselves.

Please go vegan, and help reinforce the notion that there is no significant distinction between the flesh of an animal and other animal products.

Photo: We Animals

By Published On: 6 February 2013536 words2.7 min read

Share This Story!

Linda McCartney Foods Confusing ‘Meat-Free’ Message

By Brian Weber, Guest Contributor

The Hain Celestial Group has announced the release of a new line of ‘meat free’ vegetarian foods under the Linda McCartney Foods brand, but vegans won’t be buying them. The problem lies in the fact that, despite being meat free, many of them do contain dairy. With what we know about dairy’s effects on our health and on the environment, not to mention the horrible treatment of dairy cows, this is a curious trade off, especially considering the ‘look how kind we are to animals’ marketing vibe. And while these products are not currently available in North America, a growing number of people are petitioning to change that. I will not be signing that petition.

We can only wonder if the happy, guitar-playing cow in this ad is meant to depict one of the tortured souls being exploited for her milk.

The confusion begins with the message that this food is “kinder to animals…” and that you can “taste the love.” The fact of the matter is that the dairy cows are treated as cruelly, if not more cruelly, than their counterparts who are exclusively farmed for their flesh and hides. The agony and suffering that these wonderful creatures endure over their abbreviated lives is a wretched, heartbreaking reality. And the process by which the eggs are acquired is, of course, no kinder. I can assure you that this is NOT what love tastes like.

We are then taken deeper into the alternate reality of the cartoon when its narrator, Elvis Costello, attempts to lead us into believing that these foods are somehow “kinder to the environment”. This is yet another example of a complete misunderstanding of the link between animal agriculture and climate change. We know that animal agriculture is responsible for at least 51% of human-caused GHG emissions. Scientists from the Agricultural Research Service found that a commercial dairy with 10,000 milk cows generated an average of 3,575 pounds of ammonia, 33,092 pounds of methane, and 409 pounds of nitrous oxide every day. Paul McCartney himself has repeatedly lent his voice to the climate change cause, specifically targeting animal agriculture. How is this hypocrisy not more widely recognized?

RELATED READING: The Environment & Veganism

I understand the need to offer ‘meat-like’ choices but why not embrace recipes and ingredients that benefit all animals, not just some animals. And while we’re at it, let’s be honest with our marketing. If you’re leaving out the meat but still including dairy, are your products really “kinder to animals and the environment”? If I torture 5 people instead of 10, am I kinder for it?

You may be familiar with Sir Paul’s famous quote: “If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be vegetarian.” Perhaps I could provide some much needed clarity with the following addition: …and dairy cows would continue to be forcibly and repeatedly artificially impregnated, have their calves stolen from them at birth, endure a short life of anguish and torture, and ultimately be sent to the abattoirs themselves.

Please go vegan, and help reinforce the notion that there is no significant distinction between the flesh of an animal and other animal products.

Photo: We Animals

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  1. Stu October 8, 2019 at 4:21 pm - Reply

    In this article you ignore the hypocrisy of the ‘vegans’ themselves buying products made by a multimillion dollar corporation that produces meat products through its other companies and assets.

    So despite what you consume you are STILL giving money to the meat industry.

    Always, always, follow the money to find the truth.

    Carry on.

    • Harry Boggs January 30, 2021 at 1:46 pm - Reply

      Milking a cow is as cruel, if not crueller, than killing it and chopping it up. That kind of idiocy is why people find vegans irritating. Switch your brain on and have some respect for your reader.

  2. PlantGirl January 3, 2019 at 5:13 pm - Reply

    The owner of Linda Mccartney products is the hain celestial group which farms “kosher” meat-products& dairy products too i imagine, if you’re making money, compassion and humanity doesn’t come into it.

  3. Alis February 10, 2013 at 7:49 am - Reply

    “If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be vegetarian.” that was not Sir Paul, but his wife as far as I know. But besides that, totally agree with and support what is stated in this article. I’m sad to hear that they decided to use dairy.

  4. Maija Haavisto February 9, 2013 at 5:01 pm - Reply

    It’s unfortunate how many mock meats contain dairy and/or eggs. :-/ Here in the Netherlands that goes for just about all brands available at supermarkets, except for a few Alpro products and I think some sold at Lidl (many but not all of those sold in health food stores are vegan). Even many products from “The Vegetarian Butcher” contain dairy and/or eggs.

  5. Brian February 7, 2013 at 11:49 am - Reply

    @Ally – Thank you Ally, I’m happy to read that you appreciate this often overlooked, tragic distinguishment between dairy animals and those farmed for their flesh. Keep doing what you do! :)

  6. Ally February 6, 2013 at 6:21 pm - Reply

    Hi Brian,
    Thanks for this important and eloquent post. I am in total agreeance with your argument. The dairy industry is abhorrent.

    I agree with your analogy about kindness. Using their standard, we could argue that rapists are kinder than murderers, or a violent offender who uses a knife is kinder than one who uses a gun. It’s a ludicrous argument in those contexts- and it is ludicrous in this context. There is nothing kind or kinder about having your baby stolen.
    I found you on Twitter. So glad I did!