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Animal Law Podcast #62: The Case of Vegan Butter

By Mariann Sullivan — July 29, 2020

On this episode of the Animal Law Podcast, I speak once again to Amanda Howell of the Animal Legal Defense Fund about Miyoko’s Kitchen v Ross, in which one of our very favorite companies is suing the State of California, specifically its Department of Food and Agriculture, for violating its rights under the First Amendment. The lawsuit arose out of  certain enforcement threats Miyoko’s Kitchen received regarding its label for its (utterly delicious) vegan butter. More specifically, the state is troubled that that label is deceptive in that it indicates, inter alia, that the package contains “vegan butter” and that the product inside is “cruelty-free.” Recently, the Northern District of California determined that the State’s motion to dismiss for lack of ripeness was without merit. Thus, the case is now proceeding, and the court will soon decide whether to grant a preliminary injunction prohibiting the state from moving forward with enforcement. We discuss both the motion to dismiss and the pending motion for a preliminary injunction. Clearly, this case is important not only for the future of Miyoko’s Kitchen, but for the future of the many plant-based foods that are designed to remind eaters of animal-based foods with which they are familiar. The stakes are high.

Amanda Howell is a Staff Attorney at the Animal Legal Defense Fund. She works to combat humane-washing, unconstitutional AgGag laws, and the animal agriculture industry’s attacks on plant-based foods. Prior to joining ALDF, Amanda co-headed the food law practice at the Stanley Law Group and focused on state and nationwide class action litigation. Before that she served as Assistant Director of Litigation at the Center for Science in the Public Interest. Amanda has contributed to the National Association of Consumer Advocates’ Standards and Guidelines publication, the National Consumer Law Center’s Class Actions Manual, and two chapters in the latest edition of What Can Animal Law Learn from Environmental Law.

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