I had nearly slept through the Meatless Monday saga until mid-May, when the Washington Post ran an article calling it a “movement with legs.”

Meatless Monday gets traction

Chuck Robinson
Media Watch

Chef Mario Batali’s decision to go Meatless Monday at his 14 haute cuisine restaurtants struck a chord with the Post writer. Batali went Meatless Monday even at the eateries with decidedly carnivorous names, such as New York’s Bar Jamon, named for Spanish cured ham, and Las Vegas Italian steakhouse Carnevino.

Meatless Monday quietly started in 2003 with the backing of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Its goal is to reduce meat consumption by 15%, “in order to improve personal health and the health of our planet,” according to the campaign’s Web site.

Baltimore Public Schools decided to go meatless in October, and that was a great way to make students more aware of eating more healthfully.

Then in May Batali climbed on the bandwagon and so did the Huffington Post, which knocked a sister publication of The Packer, Pork Magazine.

Now I had to pay attention.

Marlys Miller, editor of Pork Magazine, defended her meaty constituency. Her complaints about Meatless Monday:

  • It is a campaign,
  • A video seemed to compare it to the World War II push to reduce consumption of staple items, and
  • It was mandated in schools.

Another writer for Pork Magazine, Rick Jordahl, in October complained about mandating what students eat, writing that it was “an infringement of a student’s freedom of choice.”

Bless their artery-clogged hearts.

Schools infringe on students’ freedom of choice daily, even hourly, to keep them safe and secure. Fourth graders generally don’t have open-campus privileges. They can’t bring guns to school. No running in halls.

That’s beside the point, anyway. Just because Boston’s school cafeterias don’t serve meat doesn’t stop Mom from sending a ring of bologna with her grade schooler on Mondays.

These are such lame arguments coming from really bright people, but they were handed a weak hand, to defend the amount of meat in our diets.

Meatless Monday only points out that we can eat less meat, and we can eat more healthfully.

Miller wound up her opinion piece saying Meatless Monday was likely to have a “longer-term, generational influence.”

Let’s hope she was right.

E-mail crobinson@thepacker.com

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