Who’s Defining Who? Animal Agriculture Being Defined by Meatless Monday Campaign Needs to Wake Up and Define Themselves
By Amanda Brodhagen, Farms.com
The global ‘Meatless Mondays’ campaign is gaining momentum that’s symbolic in nature as Los Angeles City Council passed a resolution to declare all Monday’s going forward to be meatless. The resolution won’t include law enforcement measures, but it’s meant to encourage residents not to eat meat once a week.
The controversial campaign seeks to reduce meat consumption for what they are calling health and environmental reasons. The Meatless Monday’s initiative is organized by a non-profit group that works with the Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health. The campaign has support groups around the globe that seek to push their agenda of weekly vegetarianism to achieve their cause of improved health, sustainability and mitigating climate change. While their message is controversial in nature, it’s been fairly successful - all at the expense of public perceptions about animal agriculture.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released a controversial internal employee newsletter encouraging Meatless Monday’s – which they later retracted saying that the newsletter was released without proper approval. This action caused a firestorm in the agriculture world, especially those involved in animal agriculture. While any future promotion of this campaign has been put to a stop by the USDA, this one example highlights some of the success of the campaign and how the champions of vegetarianism have been very good at defining animal agriculture before they have even had a chance to define themselves.
When I talk about who’s defining who, I am talking about whom or what side is winning the public relations battle. The Meatless Monday campaign has done a good job attempting to link animal agriculture to larger social issues such as obesity, diabetes and greenhouse gas emissions. While these claims may not represent the whole truth, their message is resonating as with the example of the USDA and now the Los Angeles City Council. Now more than ever, it’s crucial those involved in agriculture and more specifically animal agriculture production to debunk some of this misconceptions, reveal the whole truth, and stop playing defense.