The City of Los Angeles has become the largest in the country to formally endorse the campaign “Meatless Mondays,” which encourages people to go without meat one day each week.
The motion was introduced by councilwoman Jan Perry with councilman Ed Reyes, according to the Meatless Monday campaign website, and was unanimously approved by the city council to in order to “support of comprehensive sustainability efforts as well as to further encourage residents to eat a more varied plant-based diet to protect their health and protect animals.”
The resolution passed Friday, like others, have not only drawn a link to improved health from reduced meat intake, but also have cited environmental benefits. The resolution connects livestock with global warming, stating that “we can lower our carbon footprint simply by reducing the amount of animal-based foods we eat.” Choosing vegetarian options from an animal rights perspective was also cited.
“The issue is, how does a local municipality engage in this and how do we create change?” Reyes said, according to the Meatless Monday website. “If we do it one plate at time, one meal, one day, we are ratcheting down the impact on our environment. We start with one day a week and then, who knows, maybe we can change our habits for a lifetime.”
Still, formally declaring Meatless Mondays might be considered controversial. In July of this year, the USDA was forced by industry backlash to reverse a stance it made to endorse Meatless Mondays. TheBlaze reported at the time:
“This move by USDA should be condemned by anyone who believes agriculture is fundamental to sustaining life on this planet,” said J.D. Alexander, president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.
The agency proposed the meatless initiative in an online newsletter to employees about “greening” efforts.
USDA spokeswoman Cortney Rowe says the department does not endorse the initiative, which is part of a “global public health campaign.” The agency removed the posting hours after the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association denounced it in a news release.
The resolution by the City of Los Angeles also included examples of other cities and entities, like universities, that have endorsed vegetarian days to encourage meatless menus. According to Meatless Monday’s website, other cities that have endorsed the campaign include Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Calif., and Durham-Raleigh, North Carolina. The resolution does not carry any legal weight, meaning penalties are not involved for those who refuse the suggestion.
Meatless Mondays was started by the University of Johns Hopkins School of Public Health in 2003.
(H/T: NBC Los Angeles)