The Meaning of Meat

50 Pages Posted: 20 May 2020

See all articles by Jareb A. Gleckel

Jareb A. Gleckel

Cornell University - Law School

Sherry F. Colb

Cornell University - Law School

Abstract

Plant-based and cell-based meat companies are vying to take over the trillion-dollar meat industry—and, in recent years, they have gained momentum. Responding to consumer demand and widespread fear about global climate change, investors like Bill Gates, Richard Branson, and even Tyson Foods began investing in alternative meat. Beyond Meat became a publicly-traded company and partnered with Dunkin’ Donuts, while Impossible Foods partnered with Burger King, bringing plant-based meat products into the mainstream. But many states with strong ties to animal agriculture have sought to impede the growth of the alternative-meat market. In August 2018, Missouri became the first state to restrict how alternative companies use the word ‘meat’ and related terms on their labels. Eleven more states have passed similar ‘Tag-Gag’ statutes. This Article reviews three primary constitutional challenges plant-based companies have leveled against such provisions—challenges based on the First Amendment, Due Process, and the Dormant Commerce Clause. After Part II evaluates the merits of these claims, Part III explores how they could advance or inadvertently undermine other animal and civil-rights lawyering strategies. To supplement the standard arguments, Part IV proposes ways for cause-driven plaintiffs like Tofurky—the first company to challenge Tag-Gag laws—to amplify their free speech claims. First, this Part suggests that although the statutes at issue appear to target mere commercial speech, courts have reason to view them as regulations of political speech calling for strict, rather than intermediate, scrutiny. Second, this Part suggests that plaintiffs could challenge Tag-Gag statutes not only under the First Amendment but also under the free speech provisions of state constitutions.

Keywords: Dormant Commerce Clause, First Amendment, Free Speech, Commercial Speech, Political Speech, Dissent, Dissenting SPeech, State Constitutional Law, Due Process, Vagueness, Meat, Veganism, Vegetarianism, Intermediate Scrutiny, Strict Scrutiny, plant-based meat, food law, movement lawyering

Suggested Citation

Gleckel, Jareb A. and Colb, Sherry F., The Meaning of Meat. Animal Law Review, Forthcoming, Cornell Legal Studies Research Paper No. 20-19, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3605486

Jareb A. Gleckel

Cornell University - Law School ( email )

Myron Taylor Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853-4901
United States

Sherry F. Colb (Contact Author)

Cornell University - Law School ( email )

Myron Taylor Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
United States

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