The Top 11 Plant-Based News Stories for April
These are the top LIVEKINDLY news stories for April 2020.
Senior Editor | New York City, NY | Contactable via: kat@livekindly.com

Kat has been writing about veganism, environment, and sustainability for five years. Their interests include over-analyzing the various socioeconomic forms of oppression, how that overlaps with veganism, and how the media in all of its forms reflects the current culture.

In contrast to the painstakingly slow crawl that was March, April felt like it was half as long as it should be. But, with May upon us, we find ourselves looking back at the biggest news stories from last month. From Snoop Dogg helping donate vegan burgers to hospital workers on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic to a new documentary about an all-female troop of anti-poaching rangers, here are the top plant-based news stories from April.

The Top 11 Plant-Based News Stories for April
Snoop Dogg helped donate 1 million vegan burgers to hospital workers.

1. Snoop Dogg Donates 1 Million Vegan Burgers

Snoop Dogg helped Beyond Meat donate vegan burgers to hospital workers on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic.

The 48-year-old rapper posted on Instagram: “Beyond Meat has made a pledge to donate over one million Beyond Burgers to those in need during these challenging times.”

He continued, “I’m proud to be a part of it.” The company sent Beyond Burgers over to Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital in Southern LA.

Check it out here.

The Top 11 Plant-Based News Stories for April
More than 70,000 sea turtles were seen nesting along a coastline in India.

2. Sea Turtles Return to Empty Beach

More than 70,000 olive ridley sea turtles nested along the coast of the eastern Indian state of Odisha.

According to Business Insider, the sea turtles did not partake in their annual nesting last year. Some sources attribute the absence of olive ridleys to factors like natural disasters. But, others say lockdowns and stay-at-home restrictions ordered for COVID-19 have allowed the sea turtles to nest undisturbed by humans.

Odisha is one of the largest mass nesting sites for the olive ridley. The sea turtles also nest along the coasts of Mexico and Costa Rica.

“The last time we saw day time nesting of olive ridleys along this site was in 2013. Usually, they come on to the beach for nesting only during the night. This March was special for us as we saw the species visiting the site at night and even during the day, in equally good numbers,” Amlan Nayak, district forest officer in Berhampur, Odisha, told Mongabay-India.

Check it out here.

The Top 11 Plant-Based News Stories for April
Coronavirus has infected hundreds of slaughterhouse workers.

3. Slaughterhouse Workers Test Positive for COVID-19

Smithfield Foods Inc. closed its Sioux Falls-based pork plant indefinitely as hundreds of slaughterhouse workers tested positive for coronavirus.

The pork plant became the single-biggest source of coronavirus cases in the U.S., prompting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to send a team to the Smithfield plant to assist with mitigation efforts.

The Sioux Falls plant, which employs approximately 3,700 people, is one of the largest pork processing facilities in the country. Over the month of April, 22 meatpacking plants and slaughterhouses closed down as workers became infected with the virus.

Check it out here.

The Top 11 Plant-Based News Stories for April
Bill Maher highlighted the diseases present in American factory farms on his talk show.

4. Bill Maher: Factory Farms Are Just as Bad as Wet Markets

Talk show host Bill Maher called American factory farms “just as despicable” as wet markets.

On an episode of HBO’s “Real Time With Bill Maher,” the comedian opened with telling others to “stop trying” to get him to watch the Netflix docu-series “Tiger King.”

“It’s not gonna happen. I already need to watch one bottle blonde from reality TV,” he said alongside a photo of President Donald Trump. “And the other reason I’m not watching ‘Tiger King’ while sequestering: because torturing animals is what got us into this mess.”

“That’s the lesson that we keep refusing to learn,” he continued. “That you can’t trash the environment—including animals—and not have it come back and kill you.”

The 64-year-old added that he has received bipartisan praise for critiquing the Chinese government’s decision to open wet markets. Experts believe that a market in Wuhan is where the first human infections came from.

Maher then turned his attention to U.S. industrial animal agriculture: “Here’s another hot take that may not be as popular: America’s factory farming is just as despicable as a wet market and just as problematic for our health.”

“Factory farming has a lot more lobbyists, but ecological timebombs tick the same,” he added. “Americans should not get too high and mighty about wet markets while we are [factory farming].”

Check it out here.

The Top 11 Plant-Based News Stories for April
Dairy Queen is getting vegan ice cream bars.

5. Dairy Queen Launches Vegan Dilly Bars

Popular fast-food chain Dairy Queen is launching vegan ice cream bars.

The dairy-free ice cream bars are a twist on the chain’s classic Dilly Bars. Instead of dairy, the bars feature a coconut cream base and a chocolate-flavored coating.

The Facebook page for the Dairy Queen in Alliance, NE teased the new frozen treats. It said the desserts are also gluten-free.

The Non-Dairy Dilly Bars will be available at select Dairy Queen locations. Although exact locations haven’t been disclosed, eagle-eyed customers spotted the new dessert on a menu in Las Vegas labeled “coming soon.”

Check it out here.

The Top 11 Plant-Based News Stories for April
Restaurants can now sell uncooked Impossible Burgers to customers.

6. Restaurants Are Selling Impossible Burgers in Bulk

Restaurants were given the green light sell five-pound bricks of vegan burger meat directly to customers.

Impossible Foods announced on LinkedIn that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) relaxed its labeling rules to allow direct-to-consumer sales of Impossible Foods’ raw, plant-based meat.

“We know the last few weeks of the COVID-19 health crisis have been unimaginably difficult for our partners, with many shifting to takeout and delivery. We’ve heard from many of you that during this time you’d like to sell Impossible directly to your guests to cook at home, and now you can,” the company said.

Check it out here.

The Top 11 Plant-Based News Stories for April
Doctor Fauci believes wet markets should be shut down “right away.”

7. Doctor Fauci Demands Global Shut Down of Wet Markets

Doctor Anthony Fauci believes that there should be a global shut down of wet markets. The American physician and immunologist is one of the nation’s leading coronavirus pandemic experts.

“I think we should shut down those things right away,” Fauci said on the “Fox & Friends” morning news show.

He continued: “It boggles my mind how when we have so many diseases that emanate out of that unusual human-animal interface, that we don’t just shut it down. I don’t know what else has to happen to get us to appreciate that…because what we’re going through right now, is a direct result of that.”

Check it out here.

The Top 11 Plant-Based News Stories for April
James Cameron’s new film “Akashinga: The Brave Ones” tells the story of an all-female, vegan team of rangers.

8. James Cameron Just Made a Film About All-Female Vegan Anti-Poachers

A new film was just released about the world’s only all-female anti-poaching unit. The documentary, entitled “Akashinga: The Brave Ones,” is produced by three-time Academy Award-winning director James Cameron and directed by Maria Wilhelm.

The short film—which is a National Geographic Documentary Films production—explores conservation methods of Akashinga. Akashinga is a radical team of vegan women that are working to protect Africa’s key species, including the country’s vulnerable elephants.

Anti-poaching leader and former Australian special forces soldier Damien Mander founded the team in Zimbabwe. The military-trained sniper, who is also vegan, taught the rangers to use innovative conservation tactics. They rely on working with the local community instead of partaking in a “full-on armed assault against poachers.”

Check it out here.

David Attenborough Is Teaching Kids About Wildlife Online
Sir David Attenborough will teach U.K. students online.

9. David Attenborough Teaches Kids About Wildlife Online

Sir David Attenborough is teaching quarantined kids about geography and animals for the BBC.

The British network just launched a virtual learning program—called Bitesize Daily—earlier this month. The new 14-week curriculum-based learning program teaches U.K. students who are out of school due to coronavirus. The program includes hundreds of lessons taught by more than 200 reputable teachers.

Attenborough, an English broadcaster known for natural history documentaries like “Our Planet,” will teach students about the world’s oceans, animal behavior, and geography, the BBC reports.

Check it out here.

The Top 11 Plant-Based News Stories for April
Joaquin Phoenix enjoyed a vegan barbecue kit from LA-based restaurant Crossroads Kitchen. | Crossroads Kitchen

10. Joaquin Phoenix Cooks Vegan BBQ in Quarantine

Joaquin Phoenix spent a weekend grilling vegan barbecue from Crossroads Kitchen.

Due to lockdown measures, the LA-based vegan restaurant has closed for dine-in customers. A few weeks ago, it began offering plant-based meal kits for customers to cook at home.

The meal kits include Spicy Impossible Wontons (made with vegan meat by Impossible Foods), Spaghetti & Meatballs, and the Grilling Kit. The latter—ordered by Phoenix—includes Impossible Burgers, homemade Italian-style sausages, smoked barbecue beans, and potato salad.

Crossroads Kitchen recently posted on Instagram: “We know what Joaquin Phoenix will be grilling this weekend—the Crossroads grilling kit! How about you guys? Call the front desk to order our kit to take home today.”

Check it out here.

The Top 11 Plant-Based News Stories for April
Vegan food is growing in popularity in the U.S.

11. Veganism Skyrockets 3000% in U.S.

The number of Americans who identify as vegan has increased by more than 3,000 percent over the past 15 years.

A new study by Ipsos Retail Performance states 9.7 million people in the U.S. are now turning to a plant-based lifestyle. In 2004, a survey by Time and CNN found there were only 290,000 people interested in plant-based living.

Using Google Search data, Ipsos Retail Performance was able to determine levels of interest in veganism and plant-based diets in the U.S. from 2004 to 2019.

Ipsos compiled the search data results state-by-state to better understand each state’s level of interest. Those living in North Dakota, South Dakota, and Mississippi consistently registered the lowest levels of search interest around plant-based diets. States with higher levels of search interest in 2019 include California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, and New York.

Check it out here.