Vegan music mogul Russell Simmons is urging New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to change the state’s official beverage from milk to a dairy-free drink. Simmons explains that plant-based milks such as those made from almonds, soy, and rice, are healthier than cows’ milk, which has been linked to adverse health conditions. The Def Jam Recordings founder acknowledges that dairy farms are a large component of New York’s agricultural economy—in 2010 dairy products brought in approximately $288 million in exports—but says his proposed change could enable new industries to flourish. Simmons, a self-described animal-rights activist, has been vegan since 1998.
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