Meatless Monday — A Campaign We’re Kinda, Sorta Behind

New Yorkers for Meatless MondayThis morning in New York City there was a rally on the steps of City Hall. The excitement is because there’s a City Council resolution to proclaim every Monday a “Meatless Monday.” This is something we support which probably causes half of you to cheer and the other half to ask, “Wait, what?”

Here at the Sanctuary we admit to mixed feelings about the Meatless Monday campaign. For starters, the campaign cites the benefits of giving up meat one day a week: it’s good for the environment, it’s good for your wallet, and it’s good for your health. Curiously, there’s no mention of it being good for the animals.

And that’s the part we struggle with as vegans. Many of us made the decision to be vegan when confronted with the facts of where our “food” was coming from. Unwilling to contribute further to the violence we changed our ethics. The whole being good for our health and the environment was just a big ol’ bonus.

To not have the ethical reason front and center of the campaign gives vegans pause, but from a marketing standpoint we can see why. Many people will shut down rather than listen to an argument about nonhuman rights. But everyone loves the environment! And who doesn’t want to save money?

But that doesn’t mean we’ll stop talking about the ethics. Which brings us to the other troubling part of the campaign, its focus on meat.

Zsa Zsa
Zsa Zsa was found locked in a barn with other cows at a defunct dairy farm.

Look, we love — love! — alliteration and get the fun of saying, “It’s Meatless Monday!” But we understand that many people will probably replace the meat with a cheese pizza. That’s really why the campaign can’t talk about the ethics of eating animals — it would have to get into the cruelty of dairy and egg production. From a personal standpoint we’re really uncomfortable with telling Amos the cow, “We’re doing this for you, buddy” while avoiding eye contact with Zsa Zsa who was rescued from a dairy farm.

So why do we kinda, sorta support it? Because we all have family members who make meat the centerpiece of the meal. (See? We really do like alliteration.) Forget the reality of dairy. A dinner without beef, ham, chicken, or fish is crazy talk. Getting them to agree to give up meat for just a day is a huge step.

If a catchy phrase is a way to initiate a conversation then we’ll take it. We know that adopting Meatless Monday isn’t a goal. Eliminating the need to rescue more cows like Zsa Zsa is.



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2 replies on “Meatless Monday — A Campaign We’re Kinda, Sorta Behind”

  1. My thoughts exactly. There’s a great image at – “The Facts: Animal agriculture is the most destructive industry facing the planet today.” I have this on the wall in my office and it spurs a lot of conversation. I think the only way us vegans are going to get the plant-based diet idea into people’s heads is to appeal to the human cost/environment/planet aspects of the issue. (Then after we get their attention, we can tie them down and make them watch Mercy for Animals videos. No one walks away from those unchanged). “Most people can’t bear the site of an animal suffering. So the industry has to keep it hidden in order for people to keep eating animals. Be courageous. Open your eyes.”

  2. I have been a vegetarian for many years. Of late, I have had to eat fish twice per week due to a need for protein. (Ugh!) When the connection between the dairy industry (including organic) and the veal industry was brought to my attention, I was appalled! Eating vegan all the time is a real struggle for me. So, I have decided to eat vegan one day per week and expand from there. Mainly, I do it on Sunday, when I can really control the food that I eat (no restaurants or cafeteria lines or social events). So, Vegan Sundays are my practice now. – Struggling and not giving up…and remembering the animals who need me to keep trying.

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