Top 10 Veg Stories of the Decade

Top 10 Veg Stories of the Decade

VegNews looks back on the ’00s’ 10 most significant news stories related to vegetarianism.

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Florida Bans Gestation Crates, 2002
In the first legislation to ban the cruel confinement of animals on factory farms, Florida voters approved Amendment 10, prohibiting gestation crates for pigs. This landmark move paved the way for further compassionate victories later in the decade.

McDonald’s Pays Veg Groups, 2003
In a ruling that was two years in the making, the Illinois Appellate Court ruled that McDonald’s pay $6 million to various vegetarian groups, after being sued by three vegetarians following the revelation that the company’s fries contained beef fat.

Whole Foods’ CEO John Mackey Goes Vegan, 2003
More than two decades after John Mackey founded Whole Foods, the successful entrepreneur made a decision that changed the international health-food giant for the better—he went vegan. Sparking company-wide Animal Compassionate Standards for its products, an increase in vegan goods, and an extensive vegan prepared foods selection, Mackey has integrated veganism into more than 270 Whole Foods stores, making it easier than ever to ditch meat and dairy.

Wayne Pacelle Named CEO of HSUS, 2004
After spending 10 years at the Humane Society of the United States as its chief lobbyist and spokesperson, long-time vegan Wayne Pacelle took over the world’s largest animal protection organization in 2004. From acquiring a roster of national animal groups to forming a factory-farming campaign department to doubling its annual budget to $140 million, Pacelle now leads an unprecedented effort to protect millions of animals around the globe.

The China Study Published, 2005
Since its publication, The China Study by researcher T. Colin Campbell has been one of the most influential books ever to recommend a plant-based diet. The book encompasses a breath-taking scope of research, and in a time of national concern about health care, the study’s findings could not be more pertinent.

UN Report Exposing Animal Agriculture Published
, 2006
Legitimizing the connection between diet and the environment, the United Nation’s groundbreaking report in 2006, “Livestock’s Long Shadow,” exposed factory farming to the world. Its widely referenced study named the meat industry the no. 1 culprit of global warming, emitting more carbon dioxide than all transportation combined.

Skinny Bitch Dominates NYT Best-Seller List, 2007
First published in 2005, Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin’s sassy, straightforward vegan diet manifesto became not only a NYT bestseller, it remains on the list after nearly two and a half years. Garnering numerous media mentions (including The Today Show, NYT, and MSNBC), celebrity fans, and mainstream readers across the globe, Skinny Bitch—with more than 2 million copies in print—laid the foundation for a full-blown vegan empire.

Hallmark Slaughterhouse Shut Down, 2008
After shocking undercover video footage documents the horrific abuse of downer cattle during slaughter, the Hallmark Meat Packing Co. in Chino, Calif. is shut down by the USDA. Through widespread media coverage, the plant’s closure led to the largest meat recall in history and lifted the slaughterhouse veil to people around the country.

Prop. 2 Passes, 2008
In the largest agricultural state in the US, Californians banned the three cruelest forms of confinement on factory farms—gestation crates, veal crates, and battery cages on the same day Barack Obama was elected president. Prop. 2, the decade’s most decisive legal victory for animals, takes effect in 2015.

Ellen DeGeneres Goes Vegan, 2009
After hinting at her new cruelty-free lifestyle at a Prop. 2 fundraiser, comedienne and talk show host Ellen DeGeneres officially announced her commitment to veganism at the 2009 Genesis Awards. In the months to follow, DeGeneres hasn’t wasted any time sharing her cruelty-free lifestyle with viewers—around 3 million of them—with vegan guest chefs, factory farming coverage, a veg lunchtime blog, and an entire section of her website dedicated to living the veg life.