A new movement is starting to take hold around the country — to not eat meat on Mondays. One has to wonder who dreamt this up, but it’s real and we need to take it seriously. Most likely started by the animal rights activists, that’s where “Meatless Monday” should have remained. Despite that, its reach has extended to school districts, the medical field and more.
Timing and conditions seem to be right for this movement. Remember, as we all have said before, perception rules and this scenario is no different. A few years ago those of us in the beef business were beneficiaries of the Atkins Diet fad as it helped sustain the cattle markets. Everyone across the nation who wanted to lose weight was reading the highly publicized book on the Atkins Diet and using meat, mostly beef, as a protein source. Those who tried the diet did lose weight and were healthier on two counts — they weighed less and they saw the benefits of eating beef. Perception, backed by facts, was on our side.
Public perception surrounding this latest movement isn’t working in our favor and it surely isn’t backed by facts. People are incorrectly being told that meat is not healthy for them and that it is also bad for the environment and bad for the planet. It’s a message consistent with the views of our current administration and the liberal press.
This is not the first time this movement has surfaced, but it previously occurred under quite different circumstances. During World War I the U.S. Food Administration called on American families to reduce their consumption of key staples to aid the war effort. “Meatless Monday” and “Meatless Wednesday” were introduced and Americans were encouraged to do their part and they responded. The Saturday Evening Post reported, “Americans began to look seriously into the question of what and how much they were eating. Lots of people discovered for the first time that they could eat less and feel no worse, frequently for the better.” The American people and the food industry pledged to observe these days and our country and the people were better for it. Then the movement returned during World War II when Presidents Roosevelt and Truman used food rationing to help feed war ravaged Europe. I can agree with both of those efforts.
I can’t however agree with some of the driving factors behind this more recent movement…
“Even one meatless day a week — that would be the equivalent of taking 20 million sedans off the road.” —Michael Pollan on Oprah’s Earth Day Special.
“Meatless Monday puts the defense of the earth’s fragile ecosystems and preservation of natural resources in the hands of ordinary citizens.” — The Gainesville Sun
I almost teared up over that last one. The medical field is also getting involved: “Meatless Monday is a non-profit initiative of The Monday Campaigns, in association with the John Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health. Our goal is to help reduce meat consumption 15 percent in order to improve personal health and the health of our planet.”
Here at the Roundup we are doing our part and have started our own campaign — Broccoli-less Tuesday.