I know people who do not eat meat on Fridays. I know people who only eat meat once or twice a week. I know people who do not eat meat. Do you know what all of these American adults have in common? They made a choice. As American adults, they have the right to make a choice about whether or not to eat meat.
Earlier this month, the city council in Los Angeles, California made a choice to deny American adults residing in their city the respect those residents deserve from the city council. The Los Angeles City Council in a 14 – 0 vote, endorsed meatless Mondays in L.A. The official declaration announces that the city is embracing Meatless Mondays for the health of its citizens and the planet.
Oh, the residents still have a choice about whether or not to include meat in their diet or the diets of those for whom they are responsible, but they are being urged by those who govern to make a personal pledge to stop eating meat on Mondays. One council member called it a symbolic gesture. No one is going to be arrested for eating a BLT for lunch or enjoying a stick of beef jerky on break. At least not yet.
You might remember that this is the same city council that called for a ban on new fast-food restaurants in parts of L.A. Apparently, the council doesn’t believe American adults should have a choice about what restaurants they frequent, either.
Overall, making people feel guilty about what they eat for health reasons doesn’t bother me as much as what I learn when I drill down on the wording of the rather lengthy declaration. I’ve picked out some of most disturbing parts:
WHEREAS, in 2007, the City of Los Angeles adopted GREEN LA: a progressive action plan to lead the nation in fighting global warming, which includes the goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, promoting clean technology, reducing air pollution, conserving water, and more;
WHEREAS, the United Nations recognizes that “Livestock are one of the most significant contributors to today’s most serious environmental problems”;
WHEREAS, recent studies and reports have demonstrated that we can lower our carbonfootprint simply by reducing the amount of animal-based foods we eat;
WHEREAS, a growing number of people are reducing their meat consumption to help prevent animal cruelty;
WHEREAS, in 2008, Californians overwhelmingly supported Proposition 2, the Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act, which banned some of the cruelest forms of farmed animal confinement;
WHEREAS, Compassion Over Killing, a nonprofit organization with an office in Los Angeles, encourages people to choose vegetarian foods as a way to help build a kinder, cleaner, and healthier world, and works with businesses throughout Los Angeles County to ensure vegetarian meals are readily available to consumers;
And the final statement in the resolution:
The Council of the City of Los Angeles hereby declares all Mondays as “Meatless Mondays” in 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.
This sounds a heck of a lot more like an animal rights group pledge of allegiance than a pledge for healthy eating.