The Top 11 Plant-Based News Stories for March
March was one long month.

It’s time to bid March 2020 farewell. This month, the coronavirus pandemic took hold of daily news cycles everywhere. Infections rose to the hundreds of thousands. China banned the sale and consumption of wild animal meat to mitigate the spread of the virus. And Arnold Schwarzenegger shared his lockdown tips.

The Top 11 Plant-Based News Stories for March

But, it wasn’t all about coronavirus—a California Senator introduced a bill that could ban marine parks like SeaWorld. And vegan meat company Impossible Foods lowered its prices. Here’s are the other top plant-based news stories from March.

California Senator Introduces Bill to Shut Down SeaWorld
Research shows keeping cetaceans in captivity causes them undue suffering.

1. California Senator Introduces Bill to Shut Down SeaWorld

Senator Cathleen Galgiani (D-Stockton)introduced a bill to ban the captivity of whales and dolphins in California. Senate Bill 1405, The Dolphin Protection Act, would make it “unlawful to hold, breed, import, or export a cetacean.”

The bill would affect marine parks like SeaWorld—which has a location in San Diego—from keeping whales and dolphins on display for entertainment purposes.

“We should not rely on cruel and inhumane treatment of any creature simply for our entertainment,” Galgiani said in a statement. “Dolphins are incredibly intelligent beings that suffer a range of health problems and stress as a result of being held in captivity.”

Check it out here.

Joaquin Phoenix spoke out against the dairy industry during his Oscars speech.

2. ‘Hollywood Vegans’ Blamed for Hurting Meat Industry

Minette Batters, head of the UK’s National Farmers’ Union (NFU), blamed Hollywood vegans like Joaquin Phoenix for hurting the meat industry. “Celebrities have to be careful. There are real-life consequences for others,” she said.

She added that UK farmers are anxious about losing their livelihoods at the union’s annual conference: “Joaquin Phoenix, he’s had a really challenging life, and you really feel for him and a lot of the things he was saying, but he has to remember there are people at the end of this, there are small family farms and they get hurt too.”

Phoenix won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his starring role in filmmaker Todd Philips’ “Joker.” During his acceptance speech, he said: “We feel entitled to artificially inseminate a cow and steal her baby, even though her cries of anguish are unmistakable.”

Check it out here.

The Top 11 Plant-Based News Stories for March
China has banned the sale and consumption of wild animal meat.

3. China Permanently Bans Wild Animal Meat to Curb Coronavirus

China’s top legislature announced an immediate and permanent ban on the trade and consumption of wild animals. It said that the fast-track decision will help the country fight the coronavirus outbreak.

The ban stipulates that the illegal consumption and trade of wild animals will be “severely punished.” Experts believe the coronavirus originated from the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in the city of Wuhan, which sold animals including bats, snakes, and civets.

“There has been a growing concern among people over the consumption of wild animals and the hidden dangers it brings to public health security since the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak,” Zhang Tiewei—a spokesman for the top legislature’s Legislative Affairs Commission—said in a statement.

Check it out here.

The Top 11 Plant-Based News Stories for March
Arnold Schwarzenegger is staying home with his animals and eating vegan food.

4. Arnold Schwarzenegger Shares Coronavirus Lockdown Tips

Arnold Schwarzenegger is at home with his animals and eating vegan food. In an Instagram video, the actor, former governor of California, and champion bodybuilder encouraged people to stay home to avoid spreading the coronavirus.

Schwarzenegger referenced the importance of social distancing, “especially when you are 72-years-old!” The actor will be staying home with his animals Whisky and Lulu—a miniature pony and donkey. In the video, he feeds the animals carrots at the dinner table and adds: “I just had my little bit of vegan food.”

Check it out here.

The Top 11 Plant-Based News Stories for March
Impossible Foods is taking steps to make its product more accessible.

5. Impossible Burgers Are Now As Cheap As Beef

Impossible Foods reduced the price of the plant-based Impossible Burger to better compete with beef. The California-based food tech brand hopes to achieve price parity with traditional 80:20 beef products.

According to Reuters, Impossible Foods announced an average 15 percent reduction in the price of products sold to U.S. distributors. On average, plant-based meat is more expensive than traditional animal products at fast-food restaurants. This can limit its accessibility to some consumers.

“We are asking our distributors to pass along the price cuts that average around 15% to restaurants,” Impossible Foods President Dennis Woodside said in a statement.

Check it out here.

The Top 11 Plant-Based News Stories for March
A German chicken farm has been quarantined with bird flu.

6. Bird Flu Outbreak Threatens Germany’s Chicken Farmers

German authorities reported a case of avian influenza A virus in the eastern German state of Saxony. The H5N8 “bird flu” is highly contagious and can infect domesticated birds, including chickens, turkeys, and ducks. All of the animals on the farm were slaughtered and the area is under quarantine, according to the social affairs and protection ministry.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the bird flu occurs “naturally among wild aquatic birds worldwide and can infect domestic poultry and other bird and animal species.”

Although humans aren’t typically infected with bird flu, rare cases have been reported.

Check it out here.

The Top 11 Plant-Based News Stories for March
Could a Bill Gates-backed, lab-grown palm oil save the rainforest? | Wikimedia Commons

7. Bill Gates Invests in Lab-Grown Palm Oil

Tech billionaire Bill Gates’ investment fund, Breakthrough Energy Ventures, led a $20 million Series A investment round in C16 Biosciences. The startup uses bioreactors to grow oil in a lab that’s nearly chemically-identical to palm oil. It functions the same as the popular vegetable oil, but is not as destructive to the environment.

Palm oil production is a major cause of deforestation in Indonesia. Global demand destroys the rainforest habitat of endangered species, including the orangutan and the Sumatran rhino.

The problem is, according to C16 Biosciences CEO Shara Ticku, that it’s tricky to grow palm oil anywhere else. “The oil palm tree can only grow within about five to 10 degrees of the equator,” she told Fast Company. “When you look around the equator, most of the land that we find is actually rainforest.”

Check it out here.

The Beyond Burger Just Launched at IKEA
Select IKEA stores in the Netherlands now offer the Beyond Burger.

8. IKEA Launches the Beyond Burger

Select IKEA stores in the Netherlands now offer the Beyond Burger. A new “even meatier” version of the plant-based patty is available at IKEA Amsterdam and Amersfoort for €7.90.

According to Bram Meijer, Beyond Meat’s Regional Marketing Director EMEA, the new burger is in line with the brand’s “Eat What You Love” mission.

“Our goal is to make vegetable proteins more accessible. We are proud that we can achieve this goal in collaboration with IKEA,” he said. He noted that the chain “strives for a more sustainable life.”

Check it out here.

The Top 11 Plant-Based News Stories for March
The USDA may need to take drastic measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

9. Coronavirus Could Force Slaughterhouse Closures

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is under pressure to keep slaughterhouses open amid the coronavirus outbreak. But, the pandemic could lead to closures.

In an attempt to reassure meat producers, the USDA announced that slaughterhouses will stay open and remain staffed with federal inspectors: “We can assure you that the agencies are committed to ensuring the health and safety of our employees while still providing the timely delivery of the services to maintain the movement of America’s food supply from farm to fork.”

The recent pandemic has greatly affected the livestock industry. Markets have been negatively impacted amid disruptions to supply chains.

According to Reuters, meat companies including Tyson and Smithfield Foods may shutter slaughterhouses if prices for livestock decline further.

Check it out here.

The Top 11 Plant-Based News Stories for March
Oscar winner Joaquin Phoenix is the face of a new vegan ad.

10. Joaquin Phoenix Stars in New Vegan Campaign

Los Angeles-based animal rights nonprofits LA Animal Save and Animal Alliance Network launched anti-meat billboards and bench ads featuring Oscar winner and vegan activist, Joaquin Phoenix.

The two billboards feature a photo of Phoenix at one of the organization’s pig vigils and feature the message: “Save Animals, Go Vegan.” The new billboards are located near Lento Market and Farmer John’s slaughterhouse, where LA Animal Save holds vigils for pigs.

Two tandem benches, featuring photos from a pig vigil, are located in front of the Black Cat Bar in the trendy, walkable Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles. They include the messages “Choose Kindness, Go Vegan” and “The Truth About Bacon.”

Check it out here.

The Top 11 Plant-Based News Stories for March
Sin-Carne-Val is due to take place in May.

11. A Vegan Carnival Is Coming to Texas

This spring, San Antonio in Texas may host the “first-ever” vegan carnival.

While a number of events and festivals have been canceled or pushed back due to the coronavirus pandemic, the two-day carnival is still currently due to take place over Memorial Day weekend.

The organizers posted on Facebook: “CDC suggests canceling all events 50ppl+ until May 2020. As Sin-Carne-Val is scheduled May 23rd-2th, we have decided not to cancel. With that being said, we are keeping a very close eye on the situation. We will do what is necessary should the situation arise.”

Sin-Carne-Val, which means “no meat carnival,” will be located in the heart of downtown San Antonio at the Historic Sunset Station. It will feature live music, carnival rides, and vegan food. Admission is free to the public.

Check it out here.