Wouldn't it be great if Google maps would tell you which restaurants offer vegan, vegetarian or humanely raised options? A new app in the works from America for Animals wants to do just that. Called The Humane Eating Project, the iOS app hopes to help consumers support animal rights.
"The goal is to make it easy to make humane choices," said Jonathan Wadley, the Founder and CEO of America for Animals. "And to also increase overall awareness about eating humanely."
The non-profit America for Animals is launching a crowd-funding campaign to help raise the money needed for the project. The app has been designed, but still needs further funding to be executed.
The biggest challenge the project faces is how to define what "humane" really means. "There's no legal definition," said Wadley. For now, The Humane Eating Project is relying on restaurants that explicitly make humane treatment part of their menus. Later, they hope to highlight restaurants that source their meat from third-party certified suppliers. For now, Chipotle and Whole Foods are the only two national chains that make the cut.
The app also includes a "Watch List" of restaurants that serve inherently cruel dishes: fois gras, veal and shark-fin soup.
For diners who want to be absolutely sure their meal is humane, the app will show restaurants that have a vegan menu, meaning that roughly 25 percent or more of the menu is free of animal products. Each filter--vegan, vegetarian or humane--is color coded.
Chief Technology Officer Tim Drees explains that The Humane Eating Project has two "reach funding" goals. The first level will enable the designers to incorporate a petitioning tool. For every 50 users who want a local spot to up its game, The Humane Eating Project will send that restaurant a letter explaining how to serve humane choices and offering help to improve their sourcing.
The next level of reach funding would help The Humane Eating Project set up a loyalty program through the app that could benefit both users and restaurants, said Drees. "There's a cost for restaurants to makes these changes and we want to help."