A week ago, the U-S Department of Agriculture sent out a newsletter encouraging employees to take part in a Meatless Monday initiative. The USDA said meat production creates greenhouse gases, wastes resources, and uses pesticides. Now Idaho’s Mike Crapo and a handful of other Senators are expressing their displeasure.
After an outcry by the beef industry, the USDA retracted its endorsement of Meatless Mondays, saying it was posted without proper clearance.
But Republican Mike Crapo says the incident shows the USDA promotes a radical environmental agenda. “Many of us believe that, it’s obviously not something that can easily be proven, but we’ve continued to see coming from the Department of Agriculture a so-called green agenda that has gotten, in our opinion, increasingly radical.”
The USDA newsletter pointed employees toward the Meatless Monday initiative website which found itself in the middle of a media firestorm. Bob Martin is a Senior Policy Advisor at Johns Hopkins University Center for a Livable Future. The Center has been a scientific advisor to the Meatless Monday campaign since it began in 2003.
Martin says the goal of not eating meat one day a week is to improve human health and reduce our carbon footprint. “It takes about 40 calories of fossil fuel energy to produce one calorie of feedlot beef and that compares to about two calories of fuel energy to produce a plant-based protein.”
Martin says Meatless Mondays is not anti-agriculture, because farmers and ranchers grow the fruits, vegetables, and grains that people eat instead of meat.
Crapo, fellow Idahoan Jim Risch, and 11 other Republican Senators have sent a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack asking for clarification on where the USDA stands on meat consumption.
Copyright 2012 Boise State Public Radio