Brett Thompson

Room C


Brett Thompson is the co-funder of the Credence Institute, CEO of Ripe Africa and co-creator of Discourse ZA. He studied finance and economics at the University of Cape Town and Stellenbosch University in South Africa.

After completing his honours these, Making an Economic Case for Vegetarianism, he went on to work for the Fry Family Food Co., one of the world’s leading manufacturers of plant-based meat alternatives and dairy-free food. Brett is also passionate about the environment and is the spokesperson for Meat-Free Mondays South Africa.

He is an experienced public speaker and was part of the nationwide campaign that spread awareness to thousands of South Africans about the benefits of a plant-based diet for the planet as well as for the animals who inhabit it.

He is the former Program Manager for Beyond Carnism who has organised trainings for the Center for Effective Vegan Advocacy in countries all over the world including South Africa, Portugal, Australia, Norway and Israel. He is also the former Global Coordinator for ProVeg International, an organisation that aims to reduce the global consumption of animals by 50% by the year 2040.

About the presentation

Unconscious Capitalism: How the market offers a shortcut to animal liberation

Abstract: As advocates and activists, we generally put all our focus on the reasons for not eating animals and animal products. We are quick to point out the health benefits of a plant-based diet, the environmental destruction caused by livestock, and the heinous animal abuse that occurs in factory farms.

However, there is a significant body of research that suggests that this is not the most effective way to get people to reduce their use of animal products. Spouting a stream of facts may, in fact, result in people reinforcing their currently held beliefs instead of opening their minds to new information and changing their behaviour. With this problem in mind, there is a new crop of food tech startups and entrepreneurs who are finding a solution and turning the traditional animal-based food industry on its head.

By promoting the how to go vegan over the why go vegan, and offering solutions in the form of clean and plan-based meat; can we disrupt the market and make a harmful food industry obsolete without a single protest sign?

How did nylon reduce the demand for mutton? Why did kerosene save the whales? What invention saved New York from a tidal wave of manure and unshackled countless horses? Can the rampant use of palm oil also be credited with a decline in animal agriculture?

By answering these questions and showing the speed at which demand can “meat” supply without needing the best intentions, the speaker will pose the question:

“To speed up animal liberation; should future animal activists make themselves obsolete and instead of protesting “meat is murder”, sell the idea, “eat meat, not animals”?”

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