Do you believe that if you skip all meat products for one day a week that we’ll solve global warming? Didn’t think so; but apparently the U.S. Agriculture Department (USDA) does. The USDA issued a challenge to its employees to avoid consumption of all meat for one day a week in what they called their “Meatless Monday” program.

Ranchers and members of the GOP are enraged and the department is beginning to walk back its statements which have not gone down well in the midst of devastating droughts that have created extreme hardships on America’s meat producers.

USDA chief Tom Vilsack

“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 program was announced in an online newsletter to USDA employees about “greening” efforts. The newsletter suggested employees save energy by using energy-efficient light bulbs, installing specialized roofs on buildings and participating in Meatless Mondays.

“One simple way to reduce your environmental impact while dining at our cafeterias is to participate in the ‘Meatless Monday’ initiative,” the USDA newsletter said. “This international effort, as the name implies, encourages people not to eat meat on Mondays.”

“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. According to the U.N., animal agriculture is a major source of greenhouse gases and climate change. It also wastes resources.”

The USDA newsletter went on to cite the “many health concerns” associated with “excessive consumption” of meat. It noted that many people are just not ready to go all-vegetarian, and said forgoing meat one day a week “is a small change that could produce big results.”

In 2012 everyone–at least in developed nations–understands the threat of excessive fat consumption on our health; but were you aware that eating a Big Mac could be melting the polar ice caps?

There is absolutely no evidence that taking this action would have any impact on climate change, which many global warming skeptics believe is nothing more than normal cyclic changes in the environment.

Following complaints by the cattlemen’s association, Kansas Republican Sen. Jerry Moran called on USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack to clarify the comments.

“Never in my life would I have expected USDA to be opposed to farmers and ranchers,” Moran said in a statement. “American farmers and ranchers deserve a USDA that will pursue supportive policies rather than seek their further harm. With extreme drought conditions plaguing much of the United States, the USDA should be more concerned about helping drought-stricken producers rather than demonizing an industry reeling from the lack of rain.”

Moran, who also railed against the newsletter on the Senate floor, asked Vilsack to clarify whether it is USDA “official policy” to discourage consumption of “American grown meat.”

“It is my hope that the USDA has not abandoned farmers and ranchers in pursuit of policies best left to the Environmental Protection Agency,” Moran said.

USDA spokeswoman Cortney Rowe says the department does not endorse the “Meatless Monday” initiative, which is part of a global public health campaign.

The USDA removed the posting just a few hours after the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association denounced it.

Surely the USDA knew exactly what they were doing in the middle of a campaign year. Just like the president’s bow to the Gay community on same-sex marriage, this move by the USDA is a curtsey to his “greenie” constituency that wants us all to grow our own vegetables, free the cattle to roam the plains and eat like squirrels; everything this administration does is either a nod to a special-interest group or a way to gently slide their agenda forward.

Here’s a suggestion for the administration: how about we institute “Honesty Monday,” where they tell us openly how they intend to realign our lives in the direction they see fit?


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