Cattlemen: Meatless Mondays “A Sinister Plot”

February 17, 2012

Daren Williams of the NCBA inadvertently demonstrates that it’s extremely difficult to argue against the advantages of Meatless Mondays without sounding unreasonable. Williams would have been vastly better off not writing this article, but instead he took the bait and dug himself an incredibly deep hole. Check it out:

But make no mistake: Meatless Monday is a sinister plot to drive farmers and ranchers out of business by convincing Americans that meat is bad for your health and bad for the planet.

By asking Americans to stop eating meat on Monday this insidious effort drives the extreme vegan agenda forward with a reasonable sounding request.

The trouble with calling Meatless Mondays a “sinister plot” is that this sort of rhetoric sounds deluded and paranoid. Think about it: in Williams’ world, if you eat meat six days out of seven you are helping to drive “the extreme vegan agenda forward.” Come on—what person who doesn’t do PR for the meat industry would honestly believe this?

William’s problem is that Meatless Mondays aren’t merely a “reasonable sounding request,” but rather a thoroughly reasonable request that deliberately errs on the side of asking too little. And therein lies the genius of Meatless Mondays: by asking for too little rather than too much, vegetarian advocates have created a situation where people like Williams have no tenable counterargument.

It’s not the 1950s anymore, and it comes off as bat shit crazy to argue that we’re best off eating meat every single day. And that’s the corner that people like Williams paint themselves into when they argue against Meatless Mondays.

All that said, Williams is indeed correct that Meatless Mondays pose a profound threat to the meat industry. Once you get comfortable eating meatless once a week, it’s a snap to go to two days a week, or even to a Bittman-style Vegan Until Six diet .

And that sort of progression can produce consumption shifts that would be ruinous to the meat industry as we know it, which is why Williams refuses to respond to Meatless Mondays in a way that’s reasonable or accommodating. The Cattlemen can live with omnivores going meatless one day a week—but they correctly recognize that few people will stop there. (Thanks, Paul.)  Link.

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