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.
Berkeley became the first U.S. city to formally commit to divestment from fossil fuel companies in 2013.
In 2019, it became the first to ban natural gas appliances in new homes.
This past April, it became the first U.S. city to request that its public employees’ retirement system divest from animal agriculture companies.