As the movement against animal cruelty and the suffering caused by the meat and dairy industries continues to gain momentum, there are important and world-shifting developments happening across many different sectors of industry and science. Joining us to talk about his work to reduce animal cruelty in the food sector is Josh Balk, Vice President of Farm Animal Protection at the Humane Society. Having been a part of important and substantive legislative change in the animal rights movement, including the recent Proposition 12, which has banned the sale of caged animals’ eggs, veal, and pork in California, Josh is expertly positioned to offer insight into the current state of the cause.
He has witnessed an amazing transformation over the past few years, and it is refreshing to hear someone on the frontlines run through the valuable victories that have been won. Josh shares some thoughts on how change actually occurs in his world, and his thoughts on shifting culture in an inclusive and friendly way make a lot of sense. For Josh, the task of reducing meat and dairy consumption is best approached through innovation and taste, and he believes that once people are exposed to convenient and delicious forms of cruelty-free food products, massive change will be within reach. One way he is pioneering this is by cofounding the already popular alternative-meat brand — JUST.
Josh talks about plant-based foodstuffs as well as the looming possibility of commercially available cultivated meat — meaning meat that is created independently from the life of an animal. We hear from him why this idea of lab-grown meat is not actually as shocking or freaky as some of us might feel and his vision for how it can catch on in a major way. Josh comments on the usefulness of an obsessive dedication to a cause, and working with the grain to bring people on board through non-accusatory and non-judgmental means. For a truly inspiring chat with someone making a sizable impact on the future of a more humane world, do not miss this conversation! Listen at one of the links below:
Listen on Spotify
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Key Points From This Episode
How to eat more ethically (according to Josh Balk)
Go to the grocery store and buy one plant-based item from each category (milk, meat, cheese, etc.). Try them and figure out which ones you like and stick with those. You don’t need to change everything. Do a Meatless Monday, replace simple ingredients, and over time you will change your habits and those of the people around you.
How to ‘shift culture’
Find aspects of culture that already exemplify what you would like to see more of. To Josh’s point, the idea of ‘lab-produced’ meat is viewed as creepy by many. But when you point out to people that Cheerios, cheese, and soda are also engineered in a lab, they start to switch mindsets.
How to make something with no experience
Be highly motivated and bring together great minds that will be able to accomplish any task. When you are as obsessed with an idea as Josh was with the thought of a vegan egg replacement, not even no experience in food science will stop you from finding an amazing solution. When people see how badly you want something, they will buy in with either their expertise or their money.
How to find what motivates you
Look for what moves you deeply. For Josh, he always felt a deep pain to see even one animal suffer, so to work to improve the lives of millions of animals is intrinsically motivating. When you find this purpose, other paths, regardless of money, will not call as strongly.
“The animals deserve us to be practical in change and we have to actually have tangible results.” — @joshbalk[0:01:56]
“Now every single major grocer in the country has plant-based milk in the dairy section!” — @joshbalk[0:07:50]
“Part of it was bringing together people that are a lot smarter than us when it came to science when it came to food-tech when it came to taste.” — @joshbalk[0:28:55]
“I have always had a soft spot for animals. I always feel so badly, in my heart, and deep down in my soul when I see animals suffer.” — @joshbalk[0:32:35]
Coming Up Next
Next week, we hear from Charly Kleissner, an impact investor and founder of Toniic. Toniic is a network of wealthy individuals who have promised to give their money for good. If you’ve been waiting for an episode about money, this one is for you. Make sure you visit our website to subscribe and access shareable content, as well as leave us a rating so that we can keep producing the show. See you next week!
Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode
Benjamin Von Wong
Josh Balk on Twitter
The Game Changers