Sen. Cory Booker (D., N.J.) said the planet "can't sustain" people eating meat, as the 2020 hopeful aims to become the first vegan president.
Booker told the vegan magazine VegNews earlier this month that he became vegan after coming to the realization that eating eggs "didn't align with my spirit."
While claiming he does not want to lecture Americans on their diets, Booker says Americans need to be nudged into fake cheese because the planet cannot sustain the "environmental impact" of the food industry.
"You see the planet earth moving towards what is the Standard American Diet," Booker said. "We've seen this massive increase in consumption of meat produced by the industrial animal agriculture industry."
"The tragic reality is this planet simply can't sustain billions of people consuming industrially produced animal agriculture because of environmental impact," he said. "It's just not possible."
Booker says the "devastating impact" of greenhouse gases produced by the meat industry is "just not practical."
"The numbers just don't add up," he said. "We will destroy our planet unless we start figuring out a better way forward when it comes to our climate change and our environment."
Booker, who said his vegan "journey" began in 1992 when he became a vegetarian after reading Gandhi's biography, wants to make the "existing model" of the food industry "obsolete."
"You never change things by fighting what exists in reality; to change something, you gotta build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete," he said. "That's the deal here. American consumers should not be told what to eat, but if you provide viable alternatives, in some cases, that taste even better—and if people have more information, if we consumers are informed about whatever it is—the dangers of the overuse of plastics all the way to the conditions in which animals that we are consuming are being treated."
Booker argues all his nonvegan friends "love" vegan food like his favorites, "vegan pancakes" and "vegan stuffed French toast."
"I've seen incredible vegan cheese shops popping up across the country, and my friends who are lovers of cheese just can't tell the difference," said the senator. "You have pizza: I was at the New Jersey VegFest, and Screamer's Pizza is just phenomenal."
"My nonvegan friends love it," Booker said.
Booker is not alone in calling for transformations of major sectors of the U.S. economy. The 2020 Democratic presidential field has already called for the elimination of private health insurance, and to "reshape" capitalism.
Booker, along with every other prominent 2020 liberal candidate, signed on to the Green New Deal, which calls for the "economic transformation" of the United States by transitioning to 100 percent renewable energy in just 10 years. Renewable energy currently accounts for just 17 percent of electricity generation.
Booker's fight against dairy intersects with the aims of the Green New Deal. Initial plans put out by democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez revealed ambitions to eliminate "farting cows."
On the campaign trail Booker endorsed the plan that guarantees every single resident in the country a job with paid vacation, retirement, "adequate housing," and "access to nature," because "our planet is in peril and we need to be bold." He likened the plan to fighting the Nazis in World War II and going to the moon.
Booker explained he first became a vegetarian because his "body just took off," and he had more energy after he stopped eating meat.
He then searched for science that backed up his feelings.
"I found the data that began to reaffirm my vegetarianism," Booker said. "In fact, it led me to more about our environment and cruelty to animals. I began saying I was a vegetarian because, for me, it was the best way to live in accordance to the ideals and values that I have. My veganism started then."
The final straw was eating eggs that did not "align" with his spirit.
"I think so many of our likes and dislikes are childhood memories or family traditions, and you associate the foods you're eating often with such good emotions—but now, suddenly, eating those eggs for me was something that didn't align with my spirit, and I could feel it," Booker said. "I finally just made a decision that I was going to become vegan. I remember my last non-vegan meal was Election Day, November 2014."