Woe to the person who would have the audacity to suggest “Meatless Monday” to fellow employees at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The memo caused a PR flap that briefly pitted the USDA against the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. And if you know anything about the NCBA—Oprah Winfrey, anyone?—you know that you do not mess with the cattlemen.
I wonder if anyone told that to the unsuspecting USDA employee, who posted an internal staff memo
“One simple way to reduce your environmental impact while dining at our cafeterias is to participate in the 'Meatless Monday' initiative http://www.meatlessmonday.com/. … 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. …. Because Meatless Monday involves only one day a week, it is a small change that could produce big results. Did you notice that our cafeterias have tasty meatless options? So you can really help yourself and the environment while having a good vegetarian meal!”
Meatless Mondays at the USDA? Why what’s next: tobacco-less Tuesdays at Marlboro or Wiener-free Wednesdays at Oscar-Meyer?
The NCBA reared its horns at the memo, suggesting that the USDA “turns its back on cattlemen and consumers.” NCBA president J.D. Alexander adds, “This move by USDA should be condemned by anyone who believes agriculture is fundamental to sustaining life on this planet.”
The USDA removed the memo and sent an explanatory tweet:
“USDA MT @usdapress: USDA does not endorse Meatless Monday. Statement on USDA site posted w/o proper clearance. It has been removed // @FarmBureau”
There are a couple of lessons here: Always eat meat on Mondays, obviously. And don’t ever get in a tussle with cattlemen—unless you’re Oprah