Four Part Post on Meat: Part 1

27 04 2011

I would like to use this blog as a forum to discuss the Meatless Mondays campaign and the Meat on Monday campaign that has been developed in response. This will be accomplished in 4 parts, following an article I recently wrote.

Part 1 is the perspective of a vegan and vegetarian who support the efforts of this campaign. Please comment on how you feel about this campaign, the statements made in the article, your personal experiences, etc.

An American Tradition Restored

Americans have returned to their World War I roots, reviving the Food and Drug Administration’s Meatless Mondays food rationing campaign with the Meatless Mondays public health awareness program of today.

Meatless Monday is one, non-profit initiative of The Monday Campaigns, an organization devoted to starting and sustaining healthy lifestyles, in association with Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Supporters say reduced meat consumption leads to reduced carbon footprints, reduced climate change and improved health.

“I would like to encourage everyone to learn about the food that they eat,” Meatless Monday proponent Melissa Dion said. “Ignorance is not always bliss.”

Animals are mass produced for consumption at an unnatural rate, said Meatless Monday supporter Brittany Brandon, a senior in sociology at the University of Illinois.

“Because there are so many animals, the amount of methane gas they release into the air is causing a lot of greenhouse effects that affects the ozone layer, which contributes to pollution,” Brandon said. “It is a significant amount contributed.”

Proponents of the campaign state the health benefits include: increased lifespan, improved diet, obesity avoidance and reduced risk of heart disease and cancer.

Dion said she saw lots of improvements in her health and lifestyle since beginning this eating lifestyle in 2008. “I feel really great and I have a lot more energy.”

United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization estimates the meat industry is responsible for almost one-fifth of man-made greenhouse gases. The campaign hopes to reduce the carbon footprint of the industry.

“Meatless Mondays is a great way to lower your carbon footprint and become healthier,” Dion said.

Water usage is also a concern of Meatless Monday supporters. A study prepared for the Water Education Foundation estimates 1,800 to 2,500 gallons of water is required for each pound of beef produced compared to 220 gallons for tofu.

In addition to health and environmental benefits, there are financial gains to going meatless, said Brandon. “It costs too much to consume meat,” Brandon said.

“Healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, rice and beans are cheaper than meat,” Dion said.

Brandon recommends research and making sure it is “something you really want to do” before making the switch to Meatless Mondays. “To give up meat after you have been eating it so long, that’s like throwing your body out of whack,” Brandon said.

“It is a great way to test out vegetarianism before taking the plunge,” Dion said.

Brandon said, “If people raise awareness about the benefits of not eating meat and make it more publically aware, then it will rise in popularity-but as long as people don’t know it will be something people just do.”

Dion said, Meatless Mondays will continue to grow in popularity. “Oprah is now doing Meatless Mondays,” Dion said. “This is just the beginning.”

Is it just the beginning???? What do you think?

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5 responses

28 04 2011
Tami

Tremendous (and well executed) undertaking! Drop me a line if you’d like information/ some quotes from the national campaign.
Tami O’Neill
Project Associate
MeatlessMonday.com

28 04 2011
Patrick

The meat eaters of this world are unhealthy because how they cook/serve meat, not, that they eat meat. Environmentally: I am poultry farmer http://www.rossdown.com and I am proud to say that my family and my industry are very conscious of our impact on the environment. It is in our nature to be sensitive to our impact on mother earth. Further, the waste we produce is in most cases a cost against our bottom line. Therefore, we are always looking to reduce our waste. For us we are taking it a step further and R&D’ing a method to turn all our farm and slaughter waste into energy. But this is a very costly project with unproven results so far

28 04 2011
ruralroutereview

What a great idea! I would love to hear how that “energy recycling” works out. From an agricultural communications perspective, it sounds like a great idea for an article.

29 04 2011
candace

“United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization estimates the meat industry is responsible for almost one-fifth of man-made greenhouse gases.”

That’s not what the EPA says… According to a 2009 study by EPA, emissions from the entire agriculture sector in 2007 represented 5.77% of total greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. The entire livestock sector’s estimated contribution was 2.8%. These are based on U.S. agriculture, which is much different and typically much more efficient than agriculture in other parts of the world.

Most of the reasons put forth here seem like a stretch. Eat meat on Mondays or don’t. Meat in moderation is generally considered to be healthy and good for you. And like everything, it is best appreciated within a balanced diet. If you’re not a fan, though, don’t eat meat on Mondays, or Thursdays or whatever days you want.

29 04 2011
ruralroutereview

That is a really, really good point. Most of the information in that article came from the Meatless Monday’s website. I think you will enjoy parts 2-4 a lot more! I am so glad a pro-beef person commented yesterday to represent the beef industry! Also, I think it is important that Americans do have choice, but to make sure that it is an informed choice based on both sides of the debate!

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