Jul 27, 2012

The Irony... Meatless Monday Message Manages Mega Media Mention - Magnificent!

By now you might have heard of the big faux pas committed by the USDA when it released an internal newsletter meant to guide employees toward more "green" initiatives.  No, the infraction wasn't suggesting recycling, changing light bulbs or modifying roofs to conserve energy... The big NO-NO was that the USDA had the audacity to suggest that employees wanting to lower their carbon footprint might consider a Monday meatless meal in their cafeteria.

Well the animal ag industries had a hissy fit over the very idea! On speed-dial the cow and pig growers got word to the USDA that such a proposal was treasonous.  They said the USDA was lax in its duty to promote rural farmers and ranchers... And the whole Meatless Monday campaign was dubbed as a radical attempt by "animal rights extremists" to end meat consumption entirely. (Don't we wish?)  Many juvenile politicians that regularly smooch with the livestock industry vowed to eat twice the steak on Monday... (How clever.)  Well, the whole drama wound up on the senate floor:

The USDA quickly removed the newsletter (but a copy can be seen here) with great apology that it was never, ever, (heaven forbid) - approved of in the first place. I'm sure behind the scenes there was a lot of boot licking and rolling heads over the whole infraction...

Here's my take on the fiasco... Of course in my perfect world I'd challenge anyone their right to eat anyone else on any one of 365 days --- But that's not the place my shoes touch ground on... Instead I see a couple of wrinkles here, the most obvious is the blatant conflict of interests the USDA has in serving two masters:

On one hand the USDA is charged to protect consumers with food safety and encourage healthy living through a good diet... On the other (greased) hand the USDA is supposed to promote business.  
You get this kind of advice:

Yet funds go in another direction:
Agriculture and Health Policies in Conflict 

Even the USDA's inclusion of  "dairy" is complete kowtowing to an industry that produces a substance that certainly isn't healthy or environmentally responsible. Those of us in the know have much better choices!

But what of this rant by the cow, pig and chicken growers that the USDA wasn't supporting farmers??? This USDA newsletter didn't say to fast on Monday... People would still be eating foods... Consumers would still be supporting AGRICULTURE! The genuine "greener" alternative!

So that was a lot of pompous gesturing and foot stomping again by an industry that must have its way all the time.  

But here's the irony... Had they not gone through such theatrics maybe a handful of government employees might have glanced at that newsletter... But with such a noise of paranoia and hysterical fist shaking... Turns out more people have read the benefits of "meatless" than they ever would have! Thanks animal ag... You played into the hand brilliantly! 

It's just not Mondays... It's just not the environment... It's just not your health... It's the whole package:
Please go vegan. 


CQ said...

Being out of the news loop for the past few days (ok, try the past year!), I appreciated being brought up to speed by you, Bea.

I'm actually proud of the USDA, for once in my life. Go Vilsack!

Loved reading all the web pages you provided so handily via hyperlinks.

As to the charge of "treason" by Todd Staples -- well, talk about "extremist"! His response proves that the only way livestock breeders believe they can survive is if they out-shout and out-muscle everyone on this planet, from wild bison, burros and horses to local growers of fruits and veggies.

If an animal who is NOT owned (read: enslaved) by ranchers and farmers (who you cleverly call "harmers") dares interfere with their supposedly God-given rights to property and profits, these masters of the earth and all who inhabit it have a sure-fire solution: KILL 'EM!

Another brilliant blog, Bea.

CQ said...

P.S. What I should've said is that I *was* proud of the USDA's initial effort. Of course I'm saddened that the agency couldn't withstand the heat and felt it had to retract the fine Meatless Monday suggestion.

veganelder said...

Excellent post Bea...very informative and well researched! Thank you.

It's ironic how the animal harmers want to believe they are all of agriculture when they only are an unnecessary and destructive part of the "food chain".

Let's just hope this "slip-up" represents a surge in common sense and compassion at a government agency.

Bea Elliott said...

I hear you CQ - This whole event showed how impotent the USDA is even *IF* it was to ever legitimately try to fulfill it's role in "protecting" consumers - The agency is "hog-tied" by the ones who know how to do that best... Huge FAIL!

Thanks for not being out-of-the-loop here. ;)

Bea Elliott said...

Hi veganelder! That's what struck me too... All those fine folks and real farmers that toil the fields for genuine food for people just get over-looked! If the way funds are allocated isn't blatant proof that the USDA is a meat-centered agency then nothing does!

In the meantime there's just a slew of victims all sacrificed under the money-bus. A lousy system.

As always - I'm with you on "hope" - Thnx!

Have Gone Vegan said...

Great post and graphics Bea!

In a way, too, it's funny because this whole debacle over Meatless Monday will just give people the impression (well, it did me) that meat eaters and supporters just aren't all that bright, snort.

Deb said...

Great post!

On the up side, this does mean that someone at the USDA (or someone who WAS at the USDA) believed that farming animals does have negative consequences. I assume that since this was published in an employee newsletter, which was otherwise filled with very benign information, it was considered common enough knowledge as to not be controversial. I guess what I’m trying to say is that the truth is starting to seep into the very entities fighting so hard to hide it. This may have been a very, very small step but I like knowing that someone at the USDA is open to a least a little bit of the truth.

Bea Elliott said...


"Meat eaters and supporters just aren't all that bright." LOL! No... They sure don't seem to be the sharpest pencils in the lot do they? And so touchy about one little ol' day without eating an animal - Jeeze!

Anyway - "snort" and ditto...

Bea Elliott said...

Good point Deb about the information seeping in through the cracks and crevices of the very institutions that are oblivious!

I have a hunch and of course I may be way off... But I have a feeling it was approved - At least on a lower level and no one ever figured on this kind of absurd over reaction. I mean the opposition did atom bomb it like it was an act akin to being a traitor!

I read on some of the industry sites folks were ridiculously heated about it:
"It's liberal clap trap activism (envionmentalism, animal rights, vegetarianism) seeping it's way into bureaucracy. Posted witout proper clearance and reported anonymously; the faceless government employee wasting tax dollars with their hobby causes."

And: "We also need to do more to find out where activists are planted. Has anyone in the ag media submitted a Freedom of INformation Act Request to find out which USDA employee is responsible for posting the unauthorized statement. So far, USDA has been protecting that person. I think the person should be identified."

And: "I think Vilsak should grow some testicles, smoke out the responsible, misguided bureauocrat, and FIRE them (tar and feathering is no longer politically correct)."

Kinda sounds like some ppl would be close to a lynching if they had their way. Much, much too reactionary for my comfort. And they call vegans radical! Ha!

Anyway, maybe we activists are actually "infiltrating" their domain! Can't be soon enough to spread some sense around!

Thanks much for the visit! ;)