The average American ate 220 pounds of red meat and poultry in 2018, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Despite Americans’ clear passion for meat, some politicians have joined anti-meat and climate-change activists in a massive effort to restructure the American diet by mandating a plant-based diet worldwide.
Flourishing Anti-Meat Campaigns
Political elites claim eating meat threatens the planet. In March 2019, for example, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio shocked America’s meat producers by announcing the expansion of “meatless Mondays” to all New York City public schools. The reason? “To keep our lunch and planet green for generations to come,” de Blasio said.
Monday Campaigns is a national organization collaborating with the Center for a Livable Future at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health to reduce U.S. meat consumption by 15 percent “for our personal health and the health of the planet.”
Other governments are considering replicating de Blasio’s move. In 2019, Hawaii’s legislature nearly enacted a resolution establishing Meatless Mondays in Hawaii’s public schools.
U.N. Meat Condemnation
One of the world’s leading voices condemning meat consumption is the United Nations. In 2018, the U.N. bestowed its “Champions of the Earth” awards on Patrick O. Brown of Impossible Foods and Ethan Brown of Beyond Meat. The U.N. Environment Programme claims “our use of animals as a food-production technology has brought us to the verge of catastrophe.”
According to the statement released by UNEP at the awards ceremony, the Browns’ work shows “the destructive impact of animal agriculture on our environment far exceeds that of any other technology on Earth,” and “there is no pathway to achieve the Paris climate objectives without a massive decrease in the scale of animal agriculture.”
The anti-meat campaign has hit other top echelons of the U.N. Christiana Figueres, former executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, recently stated she hopes restaurants will soon “treat carnivores the same way that smokers are treated [today]. If they want to eat meat, they can do it outside the restaurant.”
The U.N. also touts a study published in the journal Nature claiming “huge reductions in meat eating are essential to avoid dangerous climate change.” The authors implore Western countries to cut their beef consumption by 90 percent.
Meat for Elites
The U.N.’s actions have not lived up to its words. Meals served at COP25 in Madrid included the finest of cured, broiled, fried, roasted, and smoked meats, and in five-star hotels in picturesque locations around the world, the U.N. regularly hosts gala affairs attended by thousands of activists, bureaucrats, politicians, and reporters, complete with lavish meals including succulent meats.
The U.N. follows a familiar totalitarian pattern that ought to set off global alarms: Find a target of “eco-progressive” hate, vilify it, and demand it be restricted or eradicated to prevent yet another claimed but unproven civilizational or planetary cataclysm. Redefine science and morality to drive the agenda. Reward and publicize those who support the claims and campaign, and do not hold them to the rules they want to impose on the public. Condemn and silence anyone who questions or challenges them.
On climate change, the modus operandi is to assert human greenhouse gas emissions, including meat production and consumption, are driving catastrophic, unprecedented weather and climate changes that pose an existential threat to the planet. Label anyone who challenges these assertions a “denier” who must be silenced, jailed, exiled, or reeducated.
The Danish environmental economist Bjorn Lomborg mocks the anti-meat studies and arguments.
Lomborg, although a vegetarian himself, points out 1.45 billion of the world’s people are vegetarians out of necessity, not choice, because of extreme poverty, and many of them desperately want to eat meat and would enjoy great improvements in their health if they could do so.
Lomborg chastises claims that going vegetarian will cut “carbon footprints” in half. When accounting for all emissions, lifelong vegetarianism would reduce net carbon dioxide emissions by just 2 percent, Lomborg says.
Role in Human Evolution
Healthy vegetarian diets require careful attention to food and supplements, to ensure proper nutrition; vegan diets even more so. This is impossible in impoverished countries and families.
Meat has a unique, compact combination of proteins and amino acids humans need. This is understood at a fundamental level by native peoples around the world, where almost every society has in its language words not just for hunger but for meat hunger.
A March 2016 article in Time magazine pointed out not only did our bodies evolve to eat meat but the best evidence shows eating meat influenced how humans evolved both physically and socially. Numerous other books and peer-reviewed journal articles confirm meat-eating has been critical to human development and health.
Claims of a “vegan revolution” are overstated. A recent Gallup poll found only 5 percent of Americans are vegetarian and just 3 percent are vegan. Sixteen percent of political liberals are vegetarian or vegan, compared with just 2 percent of conservatives, the poll found.
The numbers are higher among younger progressives around the globe, almost certainly a result of the constant indoctrination, fearmongering, and silencing of skeptical voices in schools from kindergarten through graduate school and on social media and in large segments of the traditional media, along with constant harangues from global political elites.
The anti-meat crusade is another example of progressive elites leading us down the road to totalitarian rule in the name of saving us and “the only planet we have” from imminent, manmade catastrophe.
The anti-meat protests, meatless Mondays, assaults on the livestock industry, and calls for taxing meat so ordinary people can’t afford it will surely continue until the public and policymakers start fighting back against these intolerant control freaks.
Duggan Flanakin ([email protected]gmail.com) writes from Austin, Texas.