Kristen Sparrow • July 28, 2012
This is pretty outrageous, and totally belongs in the “Follow the Money” file. The Meat Industry couldn’t even handle the recommendation of going ONE DAY without meat, to help the environmental impact of meat production. Too bad there isn’t a Vegetable Lobby that’s as strong. And we subsidize meat production too. Bah.
Retracting a Plug for Meatless Mondays
By AMY HARMON
The message seemed innocuous enough, coming as it did from the federal agency tasked with promoting sustainable agriculture and dietary health: “One simple way to reduce your environmental impact while dining at our cafeterias,” read a United States Department of Agriculture interoffice newsletter published on its Web site this week, “is to participate in the ‘Meatless Monday’ initiative.”
Thousands of corporate cafeterias, restaurants and schools have embraced the idea of skipping meat on Mondays in favor of vegetarian options, an initiative of the nonprofit Monday Campaign Inc. and the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health.
But by Tuesday afternoon, amid outraged Twitter messages by livestock producers and at least one member of Congress, the agency’s “Greening Headquarters Update” had been removed. “U.S.D.A. does not endorse Meatless Monday,” a spokeswoman said in a statement. The newsletter, which covered topics like the installation of energy-efficient lights on the Ag Promenade and recycling goals, “was posted without proper clearance,” the statement said.
Among those who objected to the Agriculture Department’s apparent plug for vegetables was Representative Steve King, Republican of Iowa, who tweeted: “USDA HQ meatless Mondays!! At the Dept. of Agriculture? Heresy! I’m not grazing there. I will have the double rib-eye Mondays instead.”
A spokesman for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, which drew the offending passage to the U.S.D.A.’s attention on Tuesday afternoon, called it “a slap in the face of the people who every day are working to make sure we have food on the table to say ‘Don’t eat their product once a week.’ ”