USDA Retracts Call for ‘Meatless Mondays’

Leah Barkoukis

7/26/2012 1:00:00 PM - Leah Barkoukis

The USDA recently pushed a ‘Meatless Mondays’ initiative in an online newsletter to employees. Yes, that’s right -- the same folks who are supposed to back our countries’ farmers and ranchers attempted to proselytize ‘green’ initiatives… in the midst of a drought.

"How will going meatless one day of the week help the environment? 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." 

The update went on to cite the "many health concerns" associated with "excessive consumption" of meat. It noted that many people are just not ready to go all-vegetarian, and said forgoing meat one day a week "is a small change that could produce big results." 

So let’s get this straight – allegiance to the United Nations trumps America’s farmers and ranchers. Got it.

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President J.D. Alexander called the move an ‘animal rights extremist campaign to ultimately end meat consumption.’

“This is truly an awakening statement by USDA, which strongly indicates that USDA does not understand the efforts being made in rural America to produce food and fiber for a growing global population in a very sustainable way,” said Alexander. “USDA was created to provide a platform to promote and sustain rural America in order to feed the world. This move by USDA should be condemned by anyone who believes agriculture is fundamental to sustaining life on this planet.”

Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) grilled Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on the newsletter and asked whether “Meatless Mondays” are officially endorsed. A USDA spokeswoman’s response was ‘no’ and the posting was subsequently removed.

"Never in my life would I have expected USDA to be opposed to farmers and ranchers," Moran said in a statement. "American farmers and ranchers deserve a USDA that will pursue supportive policies rather than seek their further harm. With extreme drought conditions plaguing much of the United States, the USDA should be more concerned about helping drought-stricken producers rather than demonizing an industry reeling from the lack of rain."

This, however, comes on the heels of the recent discovery that the USDA was using Spanish language radio “novelas” to push food stamps – so, should we really be surprised by their latest ploy?