The Collegiate Farm Bureau student organization at the University of Nebraska scored a nice victory last week when it persuaded the school’s student senate to reject a bill implementing so-called Meatless Mondays on campus. The bill would have supported an informational table on Meatless Mondays for one day in the spring semester.
If you aren’t familiar with it, Meatless Mondays is a campaign that encourages people to forego eating meat on Mondays. The organization promoting Meatless Mondays tries to encourage people to avoid meat on Mondays for their health. However, there is also a lot of rhetoric out of the group linking environmental concerns, such as climate change, to meat production.
The proposal at the University of Nebraska focused on this supposed link between climate change and meat production, in the first line stating that the production of meat contributes to greenhouse gas emissions. (You can see a copy of the bill here, which the ag students decorated.) The student that introduced the bill, Hannah Evans, stated at the Senate hearing that she really introduced the bill because it was about educating students about other options, not demonizing meat production.
Not too many students seemed to think that was the case.
According to the Daily Nebraskan:
Some senators, including those that represent agricultural programs, were not convinced that that was the motive of the project because of the rhetoric of some of the bill. There was criticism of the bill, including parts that said, “the production of meat contributes to greenhouse gas emissions,” and opposition claimed this is an exaggeration because the production of plants also has an environmental impact. They also criticized the perceived incrimination of those who consume or produce meat.
The approach reminds me of HSUS. That organization pretends that it cares about animal welfare, when in reality its actions indicate that it would rather just put an end to all animal agriculture. While the official Meatless Mondays organization claims that they simply want to educate folks about problems associated with eating too much meat and health problems, that doesn’t seem to be their real motivation.
If the point of this campaign was to promote health eating, it could have easily been done by promoting a diet full of fruits and vegetables, instead of using Mondays as a method of attacking animal agriculture. If the organization took that approach, imagine the differences in communication. Instead of raising red flags everywhere for farmers, we may have even jumped on board with it.
While I won’t question Miss Evans motivations for bringing this to the student senate, I hardly doubt this was supposed to be a “informational” activity. Does anyone really buy that college students are unaware that they could forego eating meat one day a week? Or that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is healthy? Of course not.
The only information being promoted on Meatless Mondays is just how bad meat and animal agriculture is and why we should avoid supporting that part of the industry at least once a week. I suspect this bill was simply meant to use university money to promote that message to the detriment of animal agriculture. The irony is particularly thick considering that the University of Nebraska is a land-grant college, which was founded to promote education in agriculture.
Congratulations to the Collegiate Farm Bureau for taking a stand against this and winning. It’s nice and refreshing to see the “good guys” win sometimes.
Note: I reached out to the UNL Collegiate Farm Bureau group for comment but received no response to my correspondence. Of course, I’ll update if I hear from the organization.