Photo by Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images.
The USDA's "Meatless Monday" suggestion to its employees was rather short lived—apparently thanks to Republican outrage over the vegetarian-for-a-day idea.
In an internal newsletter earlier this week, the agency suggested staff consider cutting meat out of their diets to start the work week as a way of curbing their environmental impact. That idea didn't sit so well with lawmakers from livestock-heavy states, as they made perfectly clear on Twitter.
Sen. Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican, for one, had this to say: "I will eat more meat on Monday to compensate for stupid USDA recommendation [about] a meatless Monday," Likewise, Sen. John Thune, offered his take: "Who at USDA thought 'Meatless Mondays' was [a] good idea? Anti-[agriculture] agenda at USDA is irresponsible, even for a day."
By Tuesday, the New York Times reports, the agency appears to have received the message loud and clear, releasing a statement saying that the meatless suggestion was "posted without proper clearance" and clarifying the agency "does not endorse Meatless Monday."
If you're not familiar with the "Meatless Monday" idea, it's an initiative by Monday Campaign Inc. and the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health that encourages corporate and school cafeterias to encourage vegetarian consumption one day a week, arguing that doing so will have environmental and health benefits.
Here's what the USDA said in the original newsletter, for posterity's sake:
"How will going meatless one day of the week help the environment? The production of meat, especially beef (and dairy as well), has a large environmental impact. According to the U.N., animal agriculture is a major source of greenhouse gases and climate change. It also wastes resources. It takes 7,000 kg of grain to make 1,000 kg of beef. In addition, beef production requires a lot of water, fertilizer, fossil fuels, and pesticides. In addition there are many health concerns related to the excessive consumption of meat."