Big Ag Bullies US House to End Meatless Monday Promos

Written by Jaya Bhumitra

Big Ag

You might be surprised to learn that cafeterias in the US House on Capitol Hill have been advocating “Meatless Mondays.” But you’re probably not surprised to hear that after this caught the attention of the Big Ag lobby, those signs promoting the idea of choosing a meat-free meal at least one day a week were removed.

In a letter to the US House Administration Committee, the so-called Farm Animal Welfare Coalition, which is a euphemistically-named trade body representing animal agribusiness, claims:

“‘Meatless Mondays’ is an acknowledged tool of animal rights and environmental organizations who seek to publicly denigrate US livestock and poultry production, alleging we provide unhealthy foods, while contributing disproportionately to climate change and environmental damage. Both claims are offensive to us and wrong.”

The letter goes on to demand that the Committee tell Restaurant Associates, the food service provider for the House of Representatives cafeteria, that it “must cease immediately” any further promotion of Meatless Monday. Vegetarian options, however, will still be readily available to diners.

This isn’t the first time that Big Ag has had a cow over the mention of Meatless Mondays in federal offices. Last year, the US Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) was under fire from the National Cattleman’s Beef Association after an internal department newsletter touted the benefits of meat-free foods and suggested participating in Meatless Mondays. After being bullied by the beef industry, the USDA not only removed the pro-vegetarian information from its website but also backtracked on its sustainability message by stating that it “does not endorse Meatless Monday” and the newsletter was sent “without proper clearance.”

This is apparently what happens when Big Ag flexes its muscles on Capitol Hill. But the US government isn’t just giving in, it seems to have forgotten who launched the idea of Meatless Mondays in the first place: oh, that’s right — it was the US government.

Since its inception during WWI, Meatless Monday has expanded into an international public awareness campaign empowering people to choose meat-free meals at least one day each week. A recent meat industry poll shows that more than 50% of Americans are familiar with the program, and approximately one in five participate. In addition, cities and school districts across the US, most recently Los Angeles and San Diego, have embraced this easy and fun initiative celebrating greater consumption of fruits and veggies.

If the government won’t stand up for our health, the environment, and animals, then it’s up to us. Visit TryVeg.com to learn more about how we can make a difference by choosing meat-free foods on Mondays and every day of the week.