What a week for Big Meat and the politics surrounding a society trying to to move forward with social issues…while the chicken industry’s favorite bigots, Chick-Fil-A, was being outed in the media for supporting hate groups against the LGBT community, and then crying “fowl” over the Mayor of Boston telling them “not to bother expanding into their open-minded city”, the cattle industry got their “feathers ruffled” by an innocent newsletter sent out by none other than the USDA.
Before we proceed, according to their website, the vision of the USDA is “We want to be recognized as a dynamic organization that is able to efficiently provide the integrated program delivery needed to lead a rapidly evolving food and agriculture system.”
A newsletter sent out by the USDA supported the program “Meatless Mondays” and even referred people to the program’s website. The USDA’s purpose for supporting “Meatless Monday” was an environmental statement:
According to the U.N., animal agriculture is a major source of greenhouse gases and climate change. It also wastes resources. It takes 7,000 kg of grain to make 1,000 kg of beef. In addition, beef production requires a lot of water, fertilizer, fossil fuels, and pesticides. In addition there are many health concerns related to the excessive consumption of meat.
Sounds like somebody at the USDA actually reads literature that is not produced by Big Meat. The newsletter went on to say:
While a vegetarian diet could have a beneficial impact on a person’s health and the environment, many people are not ready to make that commitment. Because Meatless Monday involves only one day a week, it is a small change that could produce big results.
Finally, we got some leadership from the USDA that actually delivers upon their vision statement and mission. Founded in conjunction with the school of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University, Meatless Mondays aims to provide information and recipes for healthy, environmentally friendly meat-free options, according to its website.
With our country suffering from preventable diseases like obesity, diabetes, heart and coronary, and cancer, adding more plant based whole foods to our diet can actually reverse diseases resulting in less money spent on health care.
However, these comments insulted the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association who apparently contacted Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley (R) causing him to immediately launch a Tweet saying he was planning on eating an extra helping of meat in order to “compensate for stupid USDA recommendation abt a meatless Monday.”
In response to all the outrage from lobbying groups, the USDA removed their support from Meatless Monday in their own Tweet:
— Dept. of Agriculture (@USDA) July 25, 2012
PETA also joined the fray with their President, Ingrid Newkirk , saying this about Senator Grassley, “Were he a physician instead of a politician, his attempt to keep factory-farm funding by promoting meat consumption would constitute malpractice.”
Again, money trumps what’s best for the people within our society. We need more leaders like the author of the original USDA newsletter, and less obstructionist politicians like Senator Grassley who are incapable of moving this country forward because their vision is blocked by dollar bills from lobbying groups.