Some advocates are lobbying for the country to embrace meatless Mondays. This is an initiative for people to eliminate meat from their diets one day out of the week. With this policy, participating schools and restaurants will remove all meat from its lunches and menus on Mondays. Advocates say this will help the environment tremendously, as the production of meat, especially cattle, creates waste water, fossil fuel and fertilizer, all of which can ultimately have an effect on climate change.
The policy initially received support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, but the USDA quickly did a 180 and retracted the support after receiving harsh criticism from cattle farmers who say that such a policy could hurt their livelihood. The USDA has now tweeted that it no longer supports meatless Mondays.
Peggy Nue, who runs Monday Campaigns, an organization that supports Meatless Mondays, says that giving up meat just one day a week can greatly reduce one’s overall intake of saturated fats, which can lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. She added that this would also cut down on the production of meat, which can be beneficial for the environment. Cattle and other livestock produce manure that contains methane gas, which emits greenhouse gas into the atmosphere.
Cattle ranchers and republican lawmakers are intervening to put a halt to Meatless Mondays, citing that the production of cattle is vital for most businesses that are involved in meat export and trade. The American Meat Institute has also stepped in and said that the daily consumption of meat by the average American is within recommended dietary guidelines.
Meatless Mondays is turning out to be a complex issue; while people want to help out the environment and improve their health while at it, they also need to be careful about the businesses that could be hurt by their decisions.