In March, The James Beard House, an historic culinary center that was once the home of James Beard, hosted its first-ever dinner catered by vegan chefs. James Beard, a legendary cookbook author, teacher and chef mentor, elevated American cuisine starting in the 1940s. In the culinary world, no recognition is more prestigious than the award that bears his name.
Veganizer, a NY-based company that “veganizes” restaurants in an effort to expand the reach of plant-based foods, produced the James Beard dinner, bringing in four renowned vegan chefs – Adam Sobel, Chloe Coscarelli, Daphne Cheng and Jay Astafa. According to Veganizer’s founder Kiki Adami, the unprecedented event sold out in 48 hours and had a waitlist of over 70 people.
Veganizer’s Kiki Adami takes a selfie with vegan chefs Adam Sobel, Jay Astafa, Chloe Coscarelli and Daphne Cheng
Susan Ungaro, the President of The James Beard Foundation, told TheirTurn, “At the Beard House dinners, we want to reflect what’s hot and happening all over the United States, and tonight’s dinner is emblematic of the movement and change that happening in the way American’s eat.”
On April 2nd, hundreds of New Yorkers gathered in the Meatpacking District, of all places, for the start of the 10th Annual Veggie Pride Parade. “We made it ten years; I don’t know how!” joked Pamela Rice, who produces the parade and post-parade exposition in Union Square.
Pamela Rice, organizer of Veggie Pride Parade
While some onlookers laughed condescendingly at the participants, the vast majority laughed with them, remarking on the creative fruit and vegetable costumes and good energy that filled the streets of Greenwich Village. TheirTurn spoke to many people along the parade route to get their reaction:
Several people told us that they would read the pamphlets and consider making changes to their diets, but we suspect that’s not the case for the man caught on camera saying, “Bro. I guarantee this was commissioned by Monsanto.”
A giant pea pod asks onlookers to “Give Peas a Chance.”
The cure to many of our diseases and ailments is right under our nose, but the institutions that should be sharing this information are paid by corporations to ensure that we don’t get it. This moral crime is uncovered in an explosive new documentary film called What The Health, which will be available for streaming on Thursday, March 16th.
On March 7th, hundreds of New Yorkers attended the world premiere of What The Health. Co-directors Kip Andersen and Keegan Kuhn held a Q&A after the screening.
Co-director Keegan Kuhn, Nutritionist Dr. Ruby Lathon & Co-director Kip Andersen at the world premiere of What The Health in NYC (Photo by Lukas Maverick Greyson)
Among the many shocking revelations in the film is that charities like the American Cancer Society and American Heart Association, organizations that should working to improve public health, are withholding life-saving information and promoting a harmful diet in order to curry favor with their corporate donors. “When I was healed, I couldn’t keep quiet,” said Dr. Ruby Lathon, a Certified Holistic Nutritionist who is featured in the film. “I couldn’t believe that there’s a secret out here that you can heal with food.”
Direct Action Everywhere (DxE), an animal rights organization that has visited many “humane” animal farms to investigate their claims, invited TheirTurn to document one of their many nocturnal visits to JS West, an egg farm certified by the American Humane Association. Our visit, which was intended to be an investigation, morphed into a rescue mission.
After spending less than a minute inside of a warehouse with 150,000 egg-laying hens, my worst fears were confirmed. The “humane” label is nothing more than a marketing fraud designed by the animal agriculture industry and retailers to make consumers feel good about purchasing their products.
A hen with a growth on her on her face that is larger than her head is rescued
Please visit Direct Action Everywhere to learn more about how the animal agriculture industry preys on well-intended consumers by fraudulently marketing their products with language that states or suggests that their animals are treated humanely.
A 2016 survey conducted with 1,000 Americans who purchase or consume meat, eggs or dairy products revealed that misleading advertising by the animal agriculture industry and grocery stores has succeeded in fooling consumers. The survey showed that:
65% of consumers believe that the label “free-range” means that animals spend most of their time on a pasture. In reality, a legal definition of “free range” does not exist for most farm animals. In fact, farmers do not need to prove that animals have access to the outdoors.
63% believe that “cage free” means the animals have access to the outdoors when it simply means that they are not raised in cages. Advocates point out that, in “cage-free” facilities, cages of steel have been replaced with cages of flesh, as the animals are stuffed so tightly into warehouses that they have little, if any, space to move.
Labels such “organic,” “humane,” and “cage free” are used to deceive customers.
60% believe that “humane” means animals have a better than average quality of life. In fact, the “humane” label is meaningless, as a legal definition does not exist.
46% believe that “USDA organic” means that animals spend most of their time outdoors. However, regulations do not specify the length of time that farmers are required to give animals access to the outdoors, and they do not specify the size or quality of the outdoor space.
46% believe that “natural” means animals have a better than average quality of life. However, “natural” only refers to how meat is processed and is unrelated to the treatment of the animals.
It’s not only the companies that supply the animal products that mislead the public. Grocery stores also perpetuate the “humane myth.”
In recent years, companies perpetuating the “humane myth” in order to make consumers feel good about buying their products have been exposed by animal rights groups that have conducted investigations at their facilities.
In 2016, Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) and PETA exposed corporations that supply eggs, turkeys and pork to Whole Foods, a company that notoriously promotes the animal products on their shelves as humanely raised and slaughtered. These investigations revealed animals living in filthy, overcrowded warehouses, suffering from lack of veterinary care and being physically abused.
Turkeys and egg-laying hens at Whole Foods suppliers
In addition to conducting investigations, DxE has staged hundreds of protests in Chipotle restaurants and Whole Foods markets in order to educate the public about the animal welfare lies being aggressively marketed by those companies.
The results of the survey, which was conducted by Lake Research Partners and sponsored by the ASPCA, are available online.
According to Animal Equality, over 56 billion land animals are slaughtered each year by the animal agriculture industry. All of these animals – even those raised in the least objectionable of conditions – are treated as money-making commodities, not as individuals with a desire to live freely and in peace. If the animal agriculture industry and the retail stores who sell their products truly cared about the humane treatment of animals, then they wouldn’t sell them. After all, isn’t killing someone who wants to live inherently inhumane?
With hundreds of cruelty-free, plant-based alternatives to meat, fish, dairy and egg products, making the switch to an animal-free diet has never been easier. Please take the first step using this Vegetarian Starter Kit .