The place of meat in dietary policy: An exploration of the animal/plant divide

Frederic Leroy, Adele H. Hite

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

40 Downloads (Pure)


The virtues of “plant-based” eating are commonly extolled in public and academic discourse, in particular in postindustrial countries and exceedingly so on a global level. Animal source foods, on the other hand, are regularly stigmatized for their alleged link with disease, environmental deterioration, and animal abuse. Although there is a reasonable case for the improvement of animal agriculture, this discourse leads to a binary and counterproductive view of food systems: plants are largely seen as beneficial and animal source foods as intrinsically harmful. We argue that this animal/plant binary and the
promotion of civic responsibility to accept it as such are cultural constructs that emerged in the Anglosphere during the 19th century. The divide has been continuously evolving since and is currently deepening due to a global sense of urgency, underpinned by various societal anxieties and normative responses. A symptomatic example is provided by the recent call for a Planetary Health Diet and a Great Food Transformation by the EAT-Lancet Commission and its wider network.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalMeat and Muscle Biology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jul 2020


  • meat
  • veganism
  • vegetarianism
  • health
  • sustainability
  • animal agriculture

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'The place of meat in dietary policy: An exploration of the animal/plant divide'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this