BEEF Daily

Numbers Show Going Meatless Is Losing Its ‘Cool’


Participation in Meatless Mondays is dwindling.

It’s been a decade since the Meatless Mondays campaign was launched. At first, it seemed everyone was jumping on the bandwagon to skip meat as a kickoff to their week. The campaign claimed participants would be healthier and shrink their environmental footprint. The aim, of course, was to perpetuate the notion that meat consumpion causes heart disease and beef production is worse for the environment than driving a Hummer.

Of course, we know better. The truth is that beef production under well-managed grazing is good for the environment, and that cattle ranchers were “green” long before green was cool. We also know that beef is packed with essential nutrients that fuel the body, while boasting the same heart-healthy fats as in olive oil.

Knowing all that, I find it gratifying to hear that participation in Meatless Mondays is waning or was initially overly hyped. The Animal Agriculture Alliance (AAA) has investigated the numbers, and it appears the participation in this campaign has been grossly misrepresented.


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According to the results of an AAA study, the numbers have been notably inaccurate.

  • Out of the 236 kindergarten through twelfth grade schools listed as participating, more than 51% no longer or never participated in the program;
  • Out of the 155 colleges/universities listed as participating, more than 43.2% no longer or never participated in the program;
  • Out of the school districts listed as participating, more than 57% no longer do.
  • The Meatless Monday campaign also counts restaurants and food service providers among their allies, yet, over 35% and 47%, respectively, no longer participate in the program.

“These results are truly astounding. When we started the project, we didn’t expect nearly as many organizations to not actually be participating in the program,” says Kay Johnson Smith, AAA president and CEO. “The Meatless Monday campaign tries to promote a reduction in meat, milk and egg consumption as trendy, but clearly it hasn’t taking off as strongly as they’d hoped.”

According to the press release, restaurants said school-age kids didn’t enjoy the meatless options, and restaurants wasted a lot of food when customers wouldn’t order their vegetarian items.

I figure this is a step in the right direction. If the Meatless Mondays campaign is waning, is this an indication that the vegetarian and vegan trend is following suit? This is good news for those of us involved in the healthful and environmentally friendly business of beef production, and bad news for fearmongering groups like PETA.


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Discuss this Blog Entry 6

W.E. (not verified)
on Oct 21, 2013

Cattle are a wonderful boon to the environment, but only when farmers and ranchers manage their grazing to give the land adequate time to rest and regrow. All beef is a great source of protein, iron and zinc, but only grassfed beef is a great source of CLA, Omega 3s, vitamin E and beta carotene.

Amy Patrick (not verified)
on Oct 21, 2013

Who said only grassfed beef is nutritious, W.E.? Shalene McNeill, who has a Ph.D. in human nutrition and is executive director for human nutrition research at the association, acknowledges that "if you feed (cows) grass, you can slightly increase the omega-3 content, but if you look at it in terms of a whole diet, it's not a significant advantage to human health." Unfortunately, this is what happens when you have 1% of the population feeding the other 99% -- Ignorance.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Oct 21, 2013

Very well said, Amy!!!

J.D.L (not verified)
on Oct 22, 2013

Thanks Amy. W.E. Is always pushing grassfed in his comments and he uses people's lack of knowledge to promote his product. Sounds like another group of people I know

Shaun Evertson (not verified)
on Oct 22, 2013

We live in amazing times. People who've never been anywhere or done anything now know everything! We're saved!

Terry Ward (not verified)
on Nov 29, 2013

Meatless Monday is an initiative of Johns Hopkins/ Bloomberg Schools of Public Health,
Neither of which are associated with Wayne Pacelle or the Humane Society or PETA or animal rights or domestic terrorists or Fidel Castro.
The FDA created the slogan “Meatless Monday” during World War I and it never was and is not today concerned in the least bit with animal welfare.
It is a public health issue.
But you know this.

Furthermore, asking as a consumer, you might consider keeping your mitts off companion animal issues.
Pet shelters are not the business of farmers.
My dogs are not your pigs or your cattle.
Unless you are looking for a new income stream in dog-meat, you should, in your own interest, move away from the table on this one.
This makes you no friends and, in fact, creates enemies from those of us who love our pets.
And there are a lot of us.
And 99% of us are your customers.
And every single day more and more of us ...your customers..become aware that YOU are the enemy when it comes to the issue of abusive pet breeders.
That any attempt to legislate against abusive pet breeders is thwarted by livestock agricultural interest groups.
That the continued suffering of our companion animals is directly attributed to you.
Your underhanded and agenda-fueled involvement in Missouri's Proposition B created vitriol and mistrust which will not be repaired easily.
It encourages pet-lovers to think that if you continuously refuse to allow us to protect our pets, what are you doing to your livestock behind closed doors?
What is worse, this stupidity is a terrible disservice to your own good humane conscious livestock producers.
Whomever taught you guys to involve yourselves in companion animal concerns did you no favors and makes you no friends.
And from the looks of things just now, you guys don't need any more enemies.

Go back to bickering with the lunatic vegan fringe..the massive 1% of them.. and stay away from our pets.
And maybe consider taking a course in public/consumer relations.

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What's BEEF Daily?

BEEF Daily Blog is produced by rancher Amanda Radke, one of the U.S. beef industry’s top social media “agvocates.”


Amanda Radke

Amanda Radke is a fifth generation rancher from Mitchell, S.D., who has dedicated her career to serving as a voice for the nation’s beef producers. A 2009 graduate of South Dakota State...

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