Berkeley Becomes The First U.S. City To Go 50% Plant-Based By 2024 With A Long Term Goal Of Going 100%
Berkeley City Council passed a resolution late Tuesday to switch 50% of city expenditures on meat, dairy, eggs and all other animal-based foods to plant-based by 2024, and commit to a long-term goal of going 100% plant-based.
The first-of-its-kind policy is the result of a 16-month advocacy effort by the Berkeley-based grassroots animal rights network Direct Action Everywhere (DxE), which included community outreach, demonstrations, and assisting with research on implementation of the measure.
DxE was joined in the effort by a coalition of groups, including Extinction Rebellion Oakland, The Animal Save Movement, East Bay Animal PAC, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, and The Suitcase Clinic.
DxE cites the negative impacts of animal agriculture — describing the industry as a leading source of greenhouse gas emissions and deforestation. The industry also cruelly confines billions of animals in facilities that are breeding grounds for pandemic disease.
During Tuesday’s Berkeley City Council meeting, Mayor Jesse Arreguín said of the measure, “This is a very important step for the city to take as part of our broader climate efforts, as well as building on our long tradition promoting the humane treatment of animals here in the city of Berkeley.”
It’s just the latest step in Berkeley’s trailblazing environmentalist history.
The city was among the first to have a recycling program, taking the lead in U.S. environmental organizing around 1970.
With DxE activists undertaking similar divestment efforts in Chicago and elsewhere — and a partial shift to plant-based food purchasing already passed in San Francisco last year — the group hopes to spur a ripple effect of similar legislation across the nation and globally. DxE touts its advocacy efforts which led to city-wide bans on the sale of fur in Berkeley in 2017 and San Francisco in 2018, as well as a statewide ban signed by California Governor Gavin Newsom in 2019.
“The public is rising up and taking action against the destructiveness of animal agriculture,” said Almira Tanner, a Berkeley resident and DxE’s Lead Organizer. “We’re hopeful this historic step can spur a wave of legislation to protect all life on Earth while we still have time.”
While it’s wonderful to see positive change slowly taking place at the government level, we as individuals can do our part by leaving animal products off our plates.