USDA “Meatless Mondays” Uproar - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 07-26-2012, 01:50 AM
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http://agwired.com/2012/07/25/usda-meatless-mondays-uproar/
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An internal USDA Greening Update newsletter that promotes “Meatless Mondays” caused a bit of an uproar on Wednesday.

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) sent out a news release linking to the newsletter and questioning USDA’s commitment to the livestock industry. The newsletter talked about various “greening” initiatives by the agency and suggested that “one simple way to reduce our environmental impact while dining at our cafeteria is to participate in the “Meatless Monday” initiative.” But it didn’t stop there:

The production of meat, especially beef (and dairy as well), has a large environmental impact. 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.

Within an hour after the NCBA release went out, USDA pulled the newsletter from the initial link and a statement was sent out by USDA press secretary Courtney Rowe. “Today, we have received a number of inquiries regarding a rumor that USDA is encouraging “Meatless Mondays,” she wrote, adding a statement from an unnamed USDA spokesperson that “USDA does not endorse Meatless Monday. The statement found on the USDA website was posted without proper clearance and it has been removed.”

The offending document was found on another link, and you can read the whole thing here where we uploaded it to our server. Just deleting the document from the link does not address this issue at all, since this is an internal newsletter that was sent to USDA employees. That makes this more than a “rumor.” While the Secretary may have been unaware of this gaffe and it may not be “official” USDA policy, the message has been sent to USDA employees that meat is bad for the environment. Not only does this have to be pulled, action should be taken against whoever wrote it and an immediate retraction should be made in a new “Greening Update.”

This is animal activism in a government agency that should be supporting all of agriculture and it is unacceptable.

Seriously? This is just sad. The comments aren't any better rolleyes.gif

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#2 Old 07-26-2012, 02:11 AM
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animal activism? So the environment is an animal? That's a very Gaian point of view.tongue3.gif

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#3 Old 07-26-2012, 02:35 AM
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Yesterday was a bad day for government news. First the safe chemical act got a rather shaky vote that everyone is unduly excited about, then I saw this meatless monday stuff floating around.

 

It's really depressing how nuts this is. DairyBusiness Communications went so far as to say, "The fact is the consumption of beef is not only healthy, but the carbon footprint of the production of beef has dramatically decreased as a result of innovative environmental stewardship implemented by America’s farm and ranch families throughout the country." Not true - USDA sustainability programs are severly lacking. 

 

What's super amusing is that way back in 2009 at a USDA news conference, Tom Vilsack was seemingly in support of Meatless Monday noting that school lunches are packed with far too much saturated fats and salt. No one got mad then. Or well, maybe they did and we didn't hear about it. 

 

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#4 Old 07-26-2012, 06:50 AM
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One of those stories that makes me want to stand up, scream and shake people.

I studied P.R. for years, I know how words can be used to further an agenda... but the ironic and ENRAGING part is that the spin doctors are accusing the scientific and animal rights communities of being the manipulators.

It makes me upset.

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#5 Old 07-26-2012, 11:09 AM
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One of those stories that makes me want to stand up, scream and shake people.

I studied P.R. for years, I know how words can be used to further an agenda... but the ironic and ENRAGING part is that the spin doctors are accusing the scientific and animal rights communities of being the manipulators.

It makes me upset.

x__x That's exactly how I feel they look and respond to us.


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#6 Old 07-26-2012, 12:59 PM
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The thing that amuses me is that if the offended parties wouldn't have had a conniption very few people would have even known about the article.


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#7 Old 07-26-2012, 02:02 PM
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The thing that amuses me is that if the offended parties wouldn't have had a conniption very few people would have even known about the article.

You do have a good point! They may be shooting themselves in the foot with that argument!

With all the meat recalls for bacteria, news stories on the crap that goes into meat. Abuse findings. Even many doctors are encouraging mostly plant based diets!

I couldn't read the comments, but I believe the ones who post sh** like that aren't in the majority.

I'm just hoping it will help people question the validity of having the fox control the henhouse!

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#8 Old 07-26-2012, 02:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave in MPLS View Post

The thing that amuses me is that if the offended parties wouldn't have had a conniption very few people would have even known about the article.

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You do have a good point! They may be shooting themselves in the foot with that argument!
With all the meat recalls for bacteria, news stories on the crap that goes into meat. Abuse findings. Even many doctors are encouraging mostly plant based diets!
I couldn't read the comments, but I believe the ones who post sh** like that aren't in the majority.
I'm just hoping it will help people question the validity of having the fox control the henhouse!

Well said! This story is getting so much attention now it never would have otherwise, I too hope people read about this and realize how corrupt things have gotten.

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#9 Old 07-26-2012, 02:59 PM
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Blah, spineless USDA. mad.gif


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#10 Old 07-26-2012, 03:00 PM
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I feel so sorry for whoever originally promoted Meatless Monday and caused all this, they were doing a good thing and probably got fired for it... worried.gif

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#11 Old 07-26-2012, 05:07 PM
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I feel so sorry for whoever originally promoted Meatless Monday and caused all this, they were doing a good thing and probably got fired for it... worried.gif


They were a brave soul. I have much respect for them. sad.gif


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#12 Old 07-26-2012, 09:53 PM
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I feel so sorry for whoever originally promoted Meatless Monday and caused all this, they were doing a good thing and probably got fired for it... worried.gif

Unlikely. Despite the negative backlash on this one issue, the new USDA MyPlate is very veggie friendly, just to give one example. I think they are realizing that less meat is the way to go for health.
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#13 Old 07-27-2012, 09:44 AM
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Unlikely. Despite the negative backlash on this one issue, the new USDA MyPlate is very veggie friendly, just to give one example. I think they are realizing that less meat is the way to go for health.

This is 100% true. My editor at one site wanted a piece on this issue, and in said piece I pointed out many ways that the USDA has been supporting Meatless Monday (specifically) along with meatless meals for years now. Why all of a sudden the meat industry is freaking is weirder than weird. Nothing in the USDA's current literature advises a "meat-rich" or even "meat-daily" diet, and when the last My Plate revision came out the USDA actually called attention to the benefits of a vegetarian diet. 

 

Early in the week, I was REALLY mad about this spineless move on the USDA's part, but now I've sort of realized that like Dave above said, it's pulled attention to Meatless Monday, not away from it.  Plus, after seeing all the tweets from the insanely nutty meat supporters, how could that not turn some people to meatless meals. I think the meat industry and all these meat eating government officials have easily made themselves out to be total whack jobs with their weird comments on Twitter, which can only help the meatless cause. 


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#14 Old 07-27-2012, 10:06 PM
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This is 100% true. My editor at one site wanted a piece on this issue, and in said piece I pointed out many ways that the USDA has been supporting Meatless Monday (specifically) along with meatless meals for years now. Why all of a sudden the meat industry is freaking is weirder than weird. Nothing in the USDA's current literature advises a "meat-rich" or even "meat-daily" diet, and when the last My Plate revision came out the USDA actually called attention to the benefits of a vegetarian diet. 

Early in the week, I was REALLY mad about this spineless move on the USDA's part, but now I've sort of realized that like Dave above said, it's pulled attention to Meatless Monday, not away from it.  Plus, after seeing all the tweets from the insanely nutty meat supporters, how could that not turn some people to meatless meals. I think the meat industry and all these meat eating government officials have easily made themselves out to be total whack jobs with their weird comments on Twitter, which can only help the meatless cause. 

That is an upside, it's having the exact opposite effect they were hoping for. smiley.gif

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#15 Old 07-31-2012, 10:13 PM
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I feel so sorry for whoever originally promoted Meatless Monday and caused all this, they were doing a good thing and probably got fired for it... worried.gif

I'm not clear on what you mean by "whoever originally promoted Meatless Monday ... ."

It's promoted by the people behind the Meatless Monday website and by the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Read more about it/them here:

http://www.meatlessmonday.com/about/
Quote:
Meatless Monday is a non-profit initiative of The Monday Campaigns, in association with the Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health. We provide the information and recipes you need to start each week with healthy, environmentally friendly meat-free alternatives. Our goal is to help you reduce your meat consumption by 15% in order to improve your personal health and the health of the planet.

Presidents Wilson, Truman and Roosevelt galvanized the nation with voluntary meatless days during both world wars. Our intention is to revitalize this American tradition. We’re spearheading a broad-based, grassroots movement that spans all borders and demographic groups. By cutting out meat once a week, we can improve our health, reduce our carbon footprint and lead the world in the race to reduce climate change.


http://www.meatlessmonday.com/johns-hopkins-dean-speaks-out-on-usda%E2%80%99s-mm-retraction/

http://www.jhsph.edu/news/news-releases/2012/klag_usda.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/26/us/usda-newsletter-retracts-a-meatless-mondays-plug.html?_r=1
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#16 Old 07-31-2012, 10:29 PM
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Oh, I meant the person who promoted Meatless Monday in the USDA newsletter and caused all this uproar. That's some interesting history though smiley.gif

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#17 Old 08-01-2012, 12:14 PM
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Oh, I meant the person who promoted Meatless Monday in the USDA newsletter and caused all this uproar. That's some interesting history though smiley.gif

Ah, ok. I don't know who that person or persons were. Possibly, he/she/they will never be known and will escape retaliation.

BTW, I was brought up in this weird religion that promoted "meatless Fridays." Except it had a different definition of "meat" and allowed the eating of fish--basically just excluded meat from mammals and poultry. And it tied in the abstinence from eating flesh to the mortification of the flesh by this Christ-figure who was thought to have been crucified on a Friday. This abstinence used to be taken pretty seriously, but then Church teaching changed to make it more optional, and I don't know whether--or what percentage of--Church members still practice it today.
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#18 Old 08-04-2012, 09:44 AM
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I received this email yesterday from Meatless Mondays.  I get emails from them because they have featured my blog on their site.  Maybe I'll blog about this.

 

I like the general sentiment of MM but in reality they don't consider seafood meat, so some "meatless" recipes are not meatless.  Other than that it's a good method to get people to take incremental steps towards vegetarianism.

 

Quote:

Hi All,

 

I’m sure many of you have heard that the Meatless Monday Campaign has recently become a hot button issue after the USDA wrote about us in their internal newsletter, which prompted the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association to publically express their disappointment, which prompted the USDA to rescind their “endorsement”. For more info:

 

http://www.meatlessmonday.com/usda-misses-mark-on-meatless-monday/

 

I’m writing today because Dean Klag of the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University has written a terrific letter to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, which also went to Obama and a few Senators. The letter and our press release about the letter can be found here.

 

http://www.jhsph.edu/news/news-releases/2012/_pdfs/Vilsack%20Meatless%20Monday%20letter%20FINAL.pdf

 

http://www.newswise.com/articles/public-health-dean-expresses-disappointment-with-usda-s-step-back-from-meatless-monday

 

If you cover these events, feel free to use Dean Klag’s letter and/or our press release. It’s such a refreshing, practical perspective compared to the shock driven media coverage.

 

And if you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to reach out to me.

 

Our use of these materials is in accord with the Terms & Conditions found on our website.


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#19 Old 08-04-2012, 11:12 PM
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Not really relevant, but interesting: During WWI meatless (and wheatless) days were promoted in the US & UK to avoid/reduce rationing. The suggested schedule in the US: http://www.ecommcode.com/hoover/hooveronline/hoover_bio/archive/food/wheat.htm


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#20 Old 08-05-2012, 12:34 AM
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#21 Old 08-05-2012, 06:42 AM
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Very interesting, Dave, I didn't know that!  Another point in history when seafood was not considered meat.  That's why I'm not too hard on folks who think it isn't.

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#22 Old 08-05-2012, 10:29 PM
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Like most things, no one will realize the damage done to the planet until its to late. As long as money is being made, it will always have a spin to make it "their" fault.

Its just sad, but I will do my part.

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#23 Old 08-06-2012, 04:05 PM
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Very interesting, Dave, I didn't know that!  Another point in history when seafood was not considered meat.  That's why I'm not too hard on folks who think it isn't.

The word "meat" is often used to include only the flesh of mammals, excluding the flesh of poultry and fish.

See Webster's Dictionary
Quote:
flesh of a mammal as opposed to fowl or fish

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/meat

Our vegetarian forefathers said they excluded "flesh, fish and fowl" from their diet. Maybe they were not being redundant.
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#24 Old 08-06-2012, 05:17 PM
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The government departments can't be taking stands against lawful practices within the industries they regulate. If they do, they get tarred with being anti-industry. If you've ever worked for a boss who wanted you to fail, it's like that. USDA is the inspector and regulator of beef, of all meat. The whole social compact depends on the consent of the governed: This falls apart if the organization inspecting you is also working actively against you. I'm all for Meatless Mondays, Meatless Everydays in fact, and so are many individual citizens who work for USDA. But the department itself can't be promoting that. Within USDA there is an Agricultural Marketing Service in charge of produce. It would be okay if they said we should all eat more vegetables. In fact, I'm pretty sure they do say that. If they could promote this effectively, vegetables would crowd out some meat and have the exact same effect that the article writer was going for. Or if the organization in question was NIH, posting study results on what studies say you should eat more of or less of for ideal health, they could get away with it. Or if they were EPA, putting out information about the burden beef production puts on the environment. But USDA is the department whose inspectors decide whether beef is choice, prime, good, standard, or whatever. They keep producers from passing off stewing hens as broilers. They cooperate with the meat industries as partners in the overall economy.

 

One USDA responsibility is to open more foreign markets for meat from animals raised in the US. They can't be taking anti-beef stands or anti-meat stands -- except when laws or regs are broken, or there's a foodborne outbreak -- or else the industries they regulate would be justified in making all kinds of push-back. It's a bloody spiral. Somebody made a mistake, and somebody else rectified it. This happens all the time. The decisions about which agricultural industries get subsidies and which subsidies go up or down: That's not USDA, that's Congress, whenever they update the Farm Bill. USDA functions to carry out the will of Congress, and they don't get to lobby us to eat less meat. And everything I just wrote would be just as true if we had a vegan President.

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#25 Old 08-07-2012, 03:07 PM
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http://whtc.com/blogs/post/rshields/2012/aug/07/meatless-monday-explanation/

In case you have any doubt that the USDA is just the government arm of the meat industry, you've got to listen to what Ag Secretary Vilsack has to say.

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#26 Old 08-07-2012, 07:34 PM
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http://whtc.com/blogs/post/rshields/2012/aug/07/meatless-monday-explanation/
In case you have any doubt that the USDA is just the government arm of the meat industry, you've got to listen to what Ag Secretary Vilsack has to say.


Most of agriculture in this country concerns growing cattle, hogs and chickens, and growing the grain to feed those animals with. But that's not news, right? The pushback from Senators Grassley and Cornyn, their "extra meat Monday" or whatever they called it, was inevitable. One is from Iowa, the corn state, and the other is from Texas, the cattle state. As predictable as it is unfortunate, but their states expect them to look out for their economic interests and to take a staged and aggressive stance against any pretense of a threat.

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#27 Old 08-09-2012, 01:17 PM
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#28 Old 08-11-2012, 12:00 PM
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There's a massive conflict of interest built into USDA, and by now it's woven deeply into its fiber. The department that exists to help farmers grow and raise food should not be in the business of trying to get us to buy and eat toxic amounts of it. USDA should not be let anywhere near the Food Pyramid. Let National Institutes of Health, or Food & Drug Administration, or Health & Human Services, or National Academy of Sciences issue nutrition messages, not USDA. No organization can help farmers sell fatty products dosed with pesticides, antibiotics and growth hormones while at the same time helping American consumers make healthier choices at the grocery store. USDA should concentrate on helping farmers grow more food on less land with less water, and on inspecting agricultural products so we don't get wiped out in a foodborne epidemic. They should not be telling people what to eat.

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#29 Old 08-11-2012, 07:17 PM
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Totally agree with you Joan!

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