"It's the retailers who are going to force the industry to bring their practices into line with consumer expectations," she said.
Janeen Salak-Johnson, a professor in the University of Illinois animal sciences department, said she observes a conflict among her students as they contemplate issues related to animal welfare and food supply. While some students from suburban Chicago may be embracing meatless diets, students from farming communities are convinced that local farms help feed the world.
Salak-Johnson says she favors a "happy medium" and contends that campaigns such as The Someone Project go too far in trying to equate "production animals" with household pets.
"We can't let all these animals roam free — it's not an economically sustainable system," she said. "Yes, we have to fulfill our obligations to these animals, but is it fair for us to starve the world?"