Food Tank recently had the opportunity to speak with Paul Shapiro, Vice President of Farm Animal Protection at The Humane Society of the United States, who was one of the speakers at the 2015 Food Tank Summit in partnership with The George Washington University.
Food Tank (FT): What will your message be at the Food Tank Summit?
Paul Shapiro (PS): Each one of us can make a positive difference every time we sit down to eat. The United States has the highest rate of meat consumption of any nation on Earth. The overconsumption of animal products is at the root of many of the social ills we face: environmental destruction, poor health, and animal cruelty, to name a few. While there are many actions we can and should take, the single most powerful step to help improve sustainability, public health, and animal welfare is to reduce our per capita rates of meat consumption.
FT: How are you contributing to building a better food system?
PS: By working with institutions like school districts and hospital chains to reduce their reliance on meat and other animal products.
FT: What are the biggest obstacles or challenges you face in achieving your organization’s goals?
PS: A strong lobby by the agribusiness industry.
FT: Who is your food hero and why?
PS: Ken Botts, who as a director of dining at University of North Texas, demonstrated that plant-based menus in cafeterias are delicious, affordable, and wildly popular.
FT: In 140 characters or fewer, what is the most important thing we can all do to help change the food system?
PS: The easiest—and most delicious—way to improve food sustainability is to take some holidays from meat and enjoy more plant-based fare.