It’s been a decade since the Meatless Mondays campaign was launched. At first, it seemed everyone was jumping on the bandwagon to skip meat as a kickoff to their week. The campaign claimed participants would be healthier and shrink their environmental footprint. The aim, of course, was to perpetuate the notion that meat consumpion causes heart disease and beef production is worse for the environment than driving a Hummer.
Of course, we know better. The truth is that beef production under well-managed grazing is good for the environment, and that cattle ranchers were “green” long before green was cool. We also know that beef is packed with essential nutrients that fuel the body, while boasting the same heart-healthy fats as in olive oil.
Knowing all that, I find it gratifying to hear that participation in Meatless Mondays is waning or was initially overly hyped. The Animal Agriculture Alliance (AAA) has investigated the numbers, and it appears the participation in this campaign has been grossly misrepresented.
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According to the results of an AAA study, the numbers have been notably inaccurate.
- Out of the 236 kindergarten through twelfth grade schools listed as participating, more than 51% no longer or never participated in the program;
- Out of the 155 colleges/universities listed as participating, more than 43.2% no longer or never participated in the program;
- Out of the school districts listed as participating, more than 57% no longer do.
- The Meatless Monday campaign also counts restaurants and food service providers among their allies, yet, over 35% and 47%, respectively, no longer participate in the program.
“These results are truly astounding. When we started the project, we didn’t expect nearly as many organizations to not actually be participating in the program,” says Kay Johnson Smith, AAA president and CEO. “The Meatless Monday campaign tries to promote a reduction in meat, milk and egg consumption as trendy, but clearly it hasn’t taking off as strongly as they’d hoped.”
According to the press release, restaurants said school-age kids didn’t enjoy the meatless options, and restaurants wasted a lot of food when customers wouldn’t order their vegetarian items.
I figure this is a step in the right direction. If the Meatless Mondays campaign is waning, is this an indication that the vegetarian and vegan trend is following suit? This is good news for those of us involved in the healthful and environmentally friendly business of beef production, and bad news for fearmongering groups like PETA.
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