Animal Agriculture Alliance concerned by Sacramento’s adoption of “Meatless Mondays”
October 4, 2016 – The Animal Agriculture Alliance reached out to Sacramento’s Mayor and City Council today to express its concern about the city’s recent decision to adopt “Meatless Mondays” in honor of Paul McCartney, who is playing a concert in the city tonight.
“While we appreciate the sentiment behind honoring Paul McCartney, we believe there must be a better way than aligning your city with this activist-driven movement that relies on myths and misinformation disparaging America’s farmers and ranchers, especially considering California is the top producer of agricultural products,” said Kay Johnson Smith, Alliance president and CEO.
The Alliance has worked for many years to counter the claims of the “Meatless Mondays”movement and expose the real motivation behind the campaign – restricting consumer choice and eliminating meat, milk and eggs from our plates seven days a week. You can read more about why Meat Matters on the Alliance website.
The Alliance’s letter to Sacramento officials outlined flaws in two of the primary claims behind “Meatless Mondays” – the role of meat and poultry in a healthy, balanced diet and the environmental impact of meat production.
The letter explained:
- Meat products provide protein, a vital nutrient that helps grow and repair muscle, bones, skin, ligaments and more. Not all proteins are created equal – only animal proteins provide all of the essential protein building blocks that your body needs for optimal health. Additionally, vitamin B12 (which is critical to brain function, especially in children) is naturally present in animal proteins, and iron and zinc – vital nutrients – are widely available from meat sources.
- While Sacramento’s “Meatless Mondays” policy is currently voluntary, one must consider the potential impact such a decision may have on children in Sacramento’s public schools – of which more than 50% participate in the free and reduced lunch program. Meatless Mondays eliminates choices for those students who are frequently dependent upon schools for their primary food supply.
- The environmental basis for “Meatless Mondays” is similarly false, as activists cite figures of anywhere from 18 to 51 percent for the livestock industry’s contribution to greenhouse gas emissions. In reality, the Environmental Protection Agency gives a figure of 4.2 percent. If all 318 million Americans were to adopt “Meatless Mondays,” U.S. national greenhouse gas emissions would be cut by only 0.6 percent. As the University of California – Davis’ Frank
Mitloehner, PhD, writes in a recent white paper, “one certainly cannot neglect emissions from the livestock sector but to compare them to the main emission sources would put us on a wrong path to solutions.”
- Globally, U.S. livestock production is among the most efficient, and this efficiency reduces environmental impact. The modern U.S. beef industry uses 19% less feed, 12% less water, 33% less land and has a 16% lower carbon footprint compared to beef production in the 1970’s. Pork producers in the U.S. use 67% less feed than they did in 1959, with similar reductions in water use (41%), land use (22%) and carbon footprint (35%). You can explore the true impact of animal agriculture on the environmental in this piece by Jude Capper, PhD.
The Alliance urges city officials to re-think this policy, and consider celebrating Mr. McCartney in a way that does not harm the reputation of or negatively impact California’s many farmers and ranchers.
For further information, contact Hannah Thompson
About the Alliance:
The Animal Agriculture Alliance is an industry-united, nonprofit organization that helps bridge the communication gap between farm and fork. We connect key food industry stakeholders to arm them with responses to emerging issues. We engage food chain influencers and promote consumer choice by helping them better understand modern animal agriculture. We protect by exposing those who threaten our nation’s food security with damaging misinformation. Find the Alliance on Facebook and Twitter.
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