Many schools, colleges, and restaurants that once enrolled in the so-called “Meatless Monday” campaign no longer participate, according to an audit conducted by the pro-meat Animal Agriculture Alliance based in Arlington, VA. The findings were announced as the “Meatless Monday” movement nears its 10th anniversary and recently enlisted California State University, East Bay. Officially run out of the Center for a Livable Future at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, “Meatless Monday” works to keep meat off the menu. But the animal ag group found that many “Meatless Monday” pledges have either expired or were never followed through. It found:
- Out of 56 K-12 schools “Meatless Monday” promoters say are involved in the program, 64.2 percent are either no longer participating or never did enroll.
- Out of 155 colleges and universities, 43.2 percent either no longer or never participated.
- Out of the school districts listed as participating, 57 percent no longer do.
- And, 35 percent of the restaurants and 47 percent of the food-service providers no longer participate in “Meatless Monday.”
In school districts that once enrolled in “Meatless Monday,” nutritionists told the ag investigators that they dropped out because of too many complaints from students and parents. School officials reported going with choice, both by putting meat back on the Monday menu and offering a vegetarian option. In a statement, the “Meatless Monday” campaign said that most participants reach out to it and share its goals, it does not monitor their ongoing participation. “We’re proud that Meatless Monday has flourished as a public health initiative over the last decade and look forward to supporting the growth of the movement in the future,” it said. The alliance sees “Meatless Mondays” as a campaign of false claims about animal agriculture paid for by animal rights and environmental extremists with the goal of preventing Americans from eating meat seven days a week — beginning with Mondays. Kay Johnson Smith, president and chief executive officer of the Alliance, said that, “Offering options is always better than alienating consumers by forcing a viewpoint — and diet — upon them.” She called on “Meatless Monday” to be honest by admitting “their numbers are dwindling.” According the Humane Society of the United States, which also promotes “Meatless Monday,” “people who eat fewer animal products can have lower rates of weight gain, dementia, arthritis, high blood pressure, kidney disease and other health problems than people who eat a typical American diet (that includes meat).” At age 10, “Meatless Mondays” is still a short-timer as a movement to cease meat consumption one day a week. For hundreds of years, the Canons of the Catholic Church required members to abstain from eating meat on Fridays, a ban that was not lifted until after the Second Vatican Council, which lasted from 1962 to 1965. Several years after that, Catholic schools finally removed fish sticks from the lunch menu.