In summer of 2012 a USDA newsletter to employees produced a minor contretemps within the agency and a major uproar across the USA among beef producers and meat eaters. According to a Fox News alert, the newsletter said, “This international effort encourages people not to eat meat on Mondays.” It asks, “How will going meatless one day a week help the environment? According to the UN, “the production of meat, especially beef [and dairy] has a large environmental impact. Animal agriculture is a major source of greenhouse gases and climate change.”
But USDA spokeswoman Courtney Rowe said the USDA does not endorse the “Meatless Monday” initiative. So, Fox had a little fun in the chicken coop, and the brouhaha passed with little notice due to the 2012 Summer Olympics.
The story, for me however, was how the vegan lobby has embedded itself into the interstitial tissue of the ‘corpus governmentalis,’ or body politic. The pathway of infection of this parasitic movement is the ingestion of vegan messages within the hallways of large centralized government agencies like the USDA, wherein it has colonized and reproduced. The United Nations, of course, is always a target, given that by design it is a receptive host to parasitic attacks of every nature and from all quarters. In the U.S., Washington DC is targeted, especially at times of big top-down government with a compromised immune system such as we had with the Obama administration.
The vegan bug is especially virulent when it is introduced into the alimentary canal. It manifests itself in such forms as the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). Founded in 1971, the CSPI calls itself a consumer advocacy group focusing on nutrition. They are well known for their longstanding opposition to saturated (i.e. animal-based) fats. It also advocates taxing soft drinks. Critics refer to CSPI as "the Food Police."
Walter Olson of the Cato Institute, a Washington D.C.-based libertarian think tank, wrote that CSPI’s "longtime shtick is to complain that businesses like McDonald’s, rather than [people’s] own choices, are to blame for rising obesity." He called CSPI's suit against McDonald's on behalf of a California mother a "new low in responsible parenting. In the 1980’s CSPI maintained that trans fats were “more healthful” than saturated fats and had persuaded many restaurants, including McDonald's, to switch from lard to trans fats in making French fries. Today CSPI has reversed its position on trans fats, but it still campaigns vigorously against animal (saturated) fats.
Then, in 2009 a more virulent strain of veganism began to infect the body politic in the U.S. and internationally. Robert Goodland, PhD, (now deceased), and Jeff Anhang published their seminal treatise on bovine flatulence, “Livestock and Climate Change: What if the Key Actors in Climate Change were Cows, Pigs and Chickens.”
Goodland retired as lead environmental officer after 23 years at the World Bank. Previously, in the 1970s, he and I worked together – he as staff ecologist and I staff architect – at the Cary Arboretum in Millbrook, NY. Even at Cary, Goodland was a “mover and shaker.” He proposed (and I built) a solar heated headquarters for the Arboretum.
His bovine flatulence gambit aimed to be no less earth shattering than his solar energy initiative. Cleverly, it is itself parasitic. Its vegan premise attaches itself to one of the Left’s most fundamental and passionate causes, global warming. Their report claims, “Our analysis shows that livestock and their byproducts actually account for at least 32,564 million tons of CO2 per year, or 51 percent of annual worldwide GHG emissions.” Never mind that the UN Food and Agricultural Organization claimed 18 percent. Goodland then posits, “If this argument is right, it implies that replacing livestock products with better alternatives would be the best strategy for reversing climate change. In fact, this approach would have far more rapid effects on GHG emissions and their atmospheric concentrations—and thus on the rate the climate is warming—than actions to replace fossil fuels with renewable [solar] energy.”So, in the end Goodland forsook solar energy for this Meatless Monday Madness! Never mind that 150 years ago in the U.S. 60 million buffalo emitted more CO2 into the atmosphere via bovine flatulence than 9 million dairy and 31 million beef cattle do today. But don’t tell that to NYC’s mayor Bill DeBlasio. Goodland’s legacy lives on in that city’s school system with the recent introduction of Meatless Mondays. The Madness goes on. Robert would be pleased.