(Bloomberg) -- Arkansas has made free speech a crime, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, and the evidence is right there on a toasted bun.

The ACLU and the Animal Legal Defense Fund joined the Good Food Institute on Wednesday in support of a federal lawsuit Tofurky Co. brought last month against a new state law that bars food makers from using words like burger, steak, dog and meat to describe plant-based products. They argue the law’s true purpose is to benefit the beef industry by censoring competition and have asked for a preliminary injunction stopping Arkansas from enforcing the law while a judge weighs the suit.

“We’re talking about penalties of jail time and thousands of dollars for calling a veggie burger a veggie burger,” the Good Food Institute said in a statement.

As Americans increasingly turn to plant-based foods, the meat and dairy industries have pushed, state by state, for bills that restrict the way vegetarian and vegan products like tofu dogs are labeled. They argue food can be called “milk” only if it’s the result of lactation and “meat” only if it’s from a slaughtered animal. Now the plant people are fighting back, even waving the Bible in the Bible Belt.

“And God said, Behold I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed,” Wednesday’s filing cites from the Book of Genesis. “To you it shall be for meat.”

Read More: Vegan-Food Makers Sue for Right to Use ‘Meat’ in Products’ Names

To contact the reporter on this story: Deena Shanker in New York at dshanker@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Anne Riley Moffat at ariley17@bloomberg.net, Peter Jeffrey, Steve Stroth

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