Paul Shapiro on the Status of Animal Welfare in 2017 and the Power of the Clean Meat Revolution

Listen on Google Play MusicThere exists a grand order of elite animal rights advocates that have quite literally been changing the game for how animals, from chickens to wolves, are treated in this world. Like the Justice League for animals, these plant-based superheroes often work behind the scenes on changing policy or technology, creating a powerful ripple effect that has improved the lives of billions of animals in recent years. You might have heard my conversation with Nathan Runkle, founder of Mercy For Animals, who is one of these heroes. And today, I’m beyond excited to bring another animal rights superhero to your ears, the one, the only, Paul Shapiro.  

Paul is the vice president of policy at the Humane Society of the United States, one of the organizations leading the way to a better future for animals through animal rescue, care, protection, and advocacy. Paul focuses on shifting the political landscape towards advancing animal welfare in this country. He began his career for animals in high school, becoming vegan after learning about the way industrially farmed animals were treated, and founded the animal advocacy organization Compassion Over Killing. While there, he took part in innumerable actions and campaigns to improve the lives of animals. In 2005, he started with the Humane Society of the US as head of farm animal protection, and was integral in reducing battery cages, gestation crates, and veal crates in a variety of settings and states. Paul has authored a forthcoming book on the clean meat movement coming out in January 2018, and is an inductee into the animal rights hall of fame. Hashtag legend.

Paul and I sat down for this conversation the evening before he delivered a powerful talk at TEDx Sun Valley on how we are better than how we treat animals. We talked about how his early days as an activist have led to the work he does now, the current state of animal welfare policy, effective altruism, and of course, clean meat technology and what that means for saving animals. It was incredibly inspiring to hang out with Paul and his girlfriend Toni Okamoto (who was also recently on the podcast!) in Idaho for a couple of days. I’m honored to call these two friends and to bring you their wisdom, and hope this conversation with Paul gives you the hope and energy to join us in improving the lives of animals. We must take action. We must make a difference. Go follow Paul on Twitter @PaulHShapiro and definitely be sure to stay tuned for the release of his upcoming book. If you’re a regular listener of the podcast, you probably think I sound like a broken record when it comes to my thoughts and feelings about plant-based and clean meat technologies, but honestly I can’t stress their importance and potential for changing the world enough.

Our friends over at Plant Positive Running have an awesome new cookbook out for anyone new to the plant-based lifestyle and specifically for endurance athletes and runners. They are generous enough to offer listeners of the pod a special discount. Visit and use the code EPICDUMPS to receive 40% off! And to be clear, this isn’t a paid advertisement and we aren’t getting anything in return for this offer, just helping out our fellow plant-powered athletes up in northern Idaho spread the message of eating more plants. Check ’em out!

Show Notes

Connect with Paul:



Humane Society:

Relevant articles and resources:

Compassion Over Killing

Mercy For Animals



Sophie’s Kitchen

New Wave Foods

Finless Foods

What a Fish Knows

Effective Altruism Talk

Jobs @ The Good Food Institute

Related episodes:

Nathan Runkle

Toni Okamoto

Join the TFF Club on Facebook:

Connect with TFF:
Thought For Food Club:

Music by: David Cutter Music –



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