Are Meatless Mondays Sending the Wrong Message to Meat Eaters?

Since its launch in 2003, Meatless Mondays has undoubtedly brought the ethical argument about meat consumption to mainstream attention, but is it leading people to believe that one day a week is enough?

On a mission to raise awareness of the environmental, health and animal rights issues that surround meat consumption, Meatless Mondays encourage people to start the week off right by eating healthy and tasty meat free meals. The campaign has spread to 36 countries around the world, with local governments, school authorities, large corporations and individuals all making pledges to cut meat from their diet for one day a week.

The Facts Speak for Themselves

Whatever your ethical beliefs are surrounding meat and dairy consumption, there is no denying the facts about the damage that these industries are causing to the planet, animals and personal health. According to the Environmental Working Group, “if everyone in the U.S. ate not meat or cheese just one day a week it would be like not driving 91 billion miles – or taking 7.6 million cars off the road.” Society’s obsession with meat is literally destroying the planet, one animal at a time, and we have the power to stop it simply by switching to an alternative diet, one which benefits everyone.

Around 25 million land animals are killed for consumption in the United States every single day. If Meatless Monday could become a nationally recognized and respected campaign, we could reduce the amount of animals being killed each year for food by more than 1,300 million. Imagine how much impact this would have on the amount of suffering, death and environmental destruction.

Is the Campaign Creating Conscience Complacency?

Despite the incredible potential of the Meatless Monday campaign, there are many who believe that it is giving people the wrong idea about what is needed to resolve many of the world’s issues. Cutting meat from the diet one day a week is obviously a step in the right direction, but if that’s where the journey ends, then we have possibly facilitated a complacent attitude towards the issues which founded the campaign in the first place.

Surely if people believe in adopting Meatless Mondays it’s because they understand the inherent problems with the meat industry and wish to make a positive difference. Why then would we rest at making a change for just one day? You would never see an anti bullying, racism, or sexism campaign which advocates that we stop discriminating against a certain group of people on one day a week, so why do we do this for animals?

If not eating meat on a Monday is beneficial to animals, the environment and our health, then cutting it from our diets altogether is infinitely better.

A New Type of Campaign Could be the Answer

For many, Meatless Mondays provide a way to feel part of a positive movement to improve the world we live in. It is a small enough change to people’s lives that it is still convenient, but a big enough statement that they feel as though they have accomplished something positive (which of course they have).

However, if we want to see long and lasting changes in the world, before it’s too late, more substantial action is required. Campaigns such as Veganuary are taking it to the next level, urging people to go veg for one month, starting with January. Experts claim that it takes around 30 days for us to form new habits and break old ones, and this is why Veganuary is such a powerful campaign.

By pledging to go veg for just one month, you could break through a cycle of habitual meat and dairy eating and bring about lasting change. If you felt uplifted by being part of Meatless Mondays, imagine how empowering it would be to make the change more permanent.

Photo Credit: Veganbaking.net

93 comments

Jim Ven
Jim Ven3 years ago

thanks for the article.

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Felicia D.
Felicia D4 years ago

For those of us who can't, it's insulting and infuriating to be considered inhumane, cruel, thoughtless and uncaring. We are NOT these things at all. In fact, I would say that meat eaters like myself are just as caring, if not more so, about the animals who we eat because we want them to have decent lives, food appropriate to their species (cows should NOT be eating grain!!!) and as a humane death as is possible. By insulting people like myself who care deeply about animals and always have (despite a life time of eating meat) you alienate people who would otherwise be eager to partner with you to create better conditions for ALL beings, not just animals.

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Felicia D.
Felicia D4 years ago

More on diet: If you think that eating vegetables means no animals are being hurt you are seriously in the dark. Every bit of land plowed up for crops means thousands upon thousands of vital creatures being maimed or killed. Every mono crop planted results in the displacement of millions more animals and then harvest kills again. There is NO SUCH THING as a meal without animal death in it! And what makes you think that just because we've always been taught that plants can't feel (which is completely false according to every shaman ever and now reputable scientific studies, too) that it's okay to sacrifice them for our needs? What about all the plants that would have grown where our mono crops are planted and all the animals that would have lived because of them?

Diet choices are not easy. There is no "free lunch." I have eaten meat nearly all my life and I am just as disturbed, if not more so (because I can't survive very easily without it) than any vegetarian/vegan, at the way humans treat our domesticated animals. I practice humane catch and release of bugs and other critters in my home or wherever I find them stuck to the best of my ability. I sign all the petitions I get for cleaning up domesticated animals' lives in every way possible. I want all our farms to be like Poly Face Farms where grass is the main "crop" and everything revolves around the health and well being of the land and its animals.

Going meatless is a fine option for those of you who can do it. Fo

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Felicia D.
Felicia D4 years ago

If you really, really want to do something big for the planet, DON'T BREED. Seriously. Not having any kids is the biggest thing you could possibly do to start to relieve the load of human weight on the planet. I figured this out as a kid in the 60s and never had any children. If you really need a kid there are TONS OF THEM who need adopting!

Now- on the subject of diet:

Not everyone can thrive or even survive on a vegan or vegetarian diet. I'm one of them. I can't eat grains, rice, soy or most beans. They make me sick and soy is the worst as it makes me suicidal if I eat more than the tiniest amount. For example, soy sauce as a condiment is okay but actually eating even a few ounces of soy more than once in a week is a real problem for me. Reputable parrot breeders never feed soy anymore because male chicks don't mature properly and female chicks mature really early. Think this doesn't mean anything to you? Think again. Girls are maturing earlier and earlier while boys are maturing later and with greater problems all the time. And this is on a Standard American Diet which, of course, has soy added into almost everything but in tiny quantities. It doesn't take much to really screw up a growing endocrine system.

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Sharon Stein
Sharon Stein4 years ago

If you want less meat eaten you MUST provide viable OPTIONS!
SOMETHING TASTY, inexpensive, and available, with LOTS of variety!...
I for one would NEVER want to eat soy or TOFU, or feed it to my family...as it has too much natural estrogen in it...and can in some instances cause disease...brain shrinkage , and reproductive problems , and unknown other effects!
The rate at which children are becoming mature has been affected...I believe due to soy mostly as a product in bread....

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Dianne D.
Dianne D4 years ago

I like the Meatless Mondays as I know people who have tried it and continued it and even added more days to go meatless once they learned how to arrange their diets and how to cook meatless. Going meatless for a month, most of these people wouldn't even consider. It's too big of a change I think the biggest challenge is to change our thinking and provide simple recipes to try. A majority of people was raised on meat as the main dish by their parents. This idea is reinforced by restaurants and fast food places. Fortunately more and more people are trying the vegan lifestyle. We also need to get Doctors on track to get their patients to go vegan. Although Doctors don't have any nutritional education, most people depend on them for health advise.

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Karl S.
Karl S4 years ago

FREDERIK D.

I don't know where you get your info on how easy it is to feed 350 million people vegetables and I haven't researched it myself so I will not argue with you. I could be wrong but MY take on your statement, "there can be way more jobs in meat replacement industries" is that you are assuming that they will be trying to make Bok Choi look and taste like the meat you want to get rid of, I will assume that this will include artificially making it as nutritious.

Also, just for the sake of argument, indulge me and speculate where YOU think all those animals that we will not be eating will go. I can guarantee no pig farm is going to continue to feed those thousands of pigs if they can't sell them. Shall we make them our pets? And when you plow up pasture, you do, in FACT, displace and kill indigenous animal life, and to feed 350 million people you WILL have to plow up pasture. Personally I don't care, I just think it a bit disingenuous to advocate for one species at the expense of others. Especially when you then blow off any question about those sacrificial species as, "not even worth responding to".

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Danielle Esau
Dani Elle4 years ago

People are so pathetic. These comments make my head hurt. Meat eaters can't think past their sick appetites. Shame on you all. Focus on the victims and the planet and stop being so selfish. It's a piece of flesh NOT air.

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Marc P.
Marc P4 years ago

P.: My compassion towards animals is particularly realistic! It is the religion of veganism that is absurd. I would say that YOUR comparison of humans to wild animals is particularly absurd. Your comment, " I switched to healthy vegetarian (almost vegan). It may, sometimes require more preparation, more selectivity and time in shopping, buying on sale and farmers' markets, dropping the junk foods, and making good nutrition a priority over high-tech devices, etc" is COMPLETELY out of touch as the topic we are discussing is food in SCHOOLS! Not at your house. You think a school system is going to be able to do all of what you say in your comment on their food budget? According to the USDA, 8 years ago, in School year 2005-06 full costs per reimbursable lunch ranged from less than $2.00 to over $3.40, with a mean of $2.91 when the unit of analysis is the SFA. The mean reported cost of producing a reimbursable lunch was $2.79 (The difference reflects the fact that (as with reported costs) full costs are relatively low in the small number of very large SFAs that produce a large share of total NSLP lunches. The mean full cost of producing a reimbursable lunch in School Year 2005-06 was considerably more than the prevailing USDA subsidy for a free lunch of $2.51. In 68 percent of SFAs, the full cost of a reimbursable lunch was more than the USDA subsidy for a free lunch. Similarly, 72 percent of reimbursable lunches were produced at a full cost that was greater than the USDA su

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Lepidopter Phoenyx

Do I eat meat or dairy every meal? No.
Do I eat meat or dairy every day? No.
Do I have any intention of giving up my rare steaks, fried chicken, crispy bacon, crawfish etouffee, fried catfish, sunny side up eggs, butter and sour cream on my baked potatoes, or ice cream any time soon? Hell no.

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