USDA cowers under pressure from Beef Association over “Meatless Mondays”

It seemed harmless enough.  A short paragraph in the July 23, 2012 United States Dept of Agriculture’s interoffice newsletter stated that the USDA cafeteria will be participating in the “Meatless Monday program” as promoted by the John’s Hopkins School of Public Health and the non-profit Monday Campaign Inc.  Pointing out the environmental and health benefits of eating less meat, the newsletter encouraged USDA employees to participate because eating less meat is “a small change that could produce big results”.  The newsletter went on to point out that the production of meat (especially beef) is a major source of greenhouse gasses and it wastes resources as it takes 7 kg of grain to make 1 kg of beef. They even stated that the cafeteria has “tasty meatless options… So you can really help yourself and the environment while having a good vegetarian meal!”

Sounds great… to most.

It only took 24 hours for the cow-manure to hit the fan as the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (what…no cattle-women?) and the American Meat Institute (not to be confused with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology) rounded up the posse to undo the great American injustice of suggesting that we try to eat healthier and conserve energy.

Senator Jerry Moran of Kansas (the #3 beef producing state in the US) said on the floor of the senate, “Our own Department of Agriculture is encouraging people not to eat meat!”  Our own Dept of Agriculture? Wonder who he means….

Republican Rep. Steve King of Iowa. tweeted, “Heresy! I will have the double rib-eye Mondays instead.”  I bet you will, senator…I bet you will.

It only took 48 hours for the newsletter to be promptly removed from the USDA website. (But you can see it here.)

A spokesman for the USDA stated that the newsletter was posted “without proper clearance”.  Proper clearance indeed.  They should check with the Beef Association next time they want to do something this un-American.

All-American bull

It’s not hard to see who’s the top “bull rider” in this rodeo…and who’s the rodeo clown.

NY Times article “retracting a plug for meatless Mondays by Amy Harmon

McClatchy News article “USDA skewered over Meatless Monday campaign” by David Goldstein

Categories: diet, health, health and wellness, vegetarian diet

Tags: , ,

14 replies

  1. This is typical of all government agencies. They start small and grow into giant overreaching goofballs. The USDA should not promote any day of specific eating habits. It is up to the individual. The USDA should ban all genetically modifed food produsts such as corn which is fed to cows for human consumption. The cattle industry needs to take a lead on this. GMO’s (genetically modified organisms) are unsafe and worse it gives a monoply to Monsanto as all farmers will have to purchase new seeds every year because you can’t keep any of the seed. It is in the agreement with Monsanto. Meaatt

  2. Thank you for your diligence on this subject. We are all victims of the corporatizing of America. Our health is being compromised to the highest bidder. The one industry that is more wicked than the beef industry is the pharmaceutical industry.

  3. My jaw dropped when I read this. Just unbelievable. I shouldn’t be surprised but I guess living in the UK for so long has made me see the US through rose-tinted glass this. If it weren’t so tragic it would be funny. I have an image of a JR type figure twirling a handlebar moustache with one hand and clutching a humongous burger in the other. Followed by clutching his heart and falling to the floor. Sorry, got carried away there!

  4. I never before realized how much politics lies behind a Big Mac. Thank you, Ellen Brockovich…seriously, somebody needs to make a noise about this nonsense.

  5. Why are people in this country so resistant to change? In other countries individuals wouldn’t get their panties all
    in a wad with a suggestion such as this. Which is in part why, so many more people are grossly overweight in the U.S. compared to … about anywhere….

  6. So, wait, they are not happy with 6 out of 7 days of meat promotion? Bizarre. Thanks for sharing this one!

  7. What the ????!!!X%%$&#* Such nonsense!!

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