GOP freshman senator Joni Ernst continues her party’s august record of dealing with the important issues. Forget about climate change, a Supreme Court vacancy, and the blood of dozens fresh in Orlando: the real threat to our lives and democracy is Meatless Monday. A couple of weeks back, she introduced federal legislation that would stop the Department of Defense from spending any money on it or any program designed to reduce meat consumption by U.S. military personnel.
Ernst is from Iowa, Gestation Crate Hellhole of the U.S., so one could argue that she’s just looking after her constituents’ interests. But that’s not what she said in an emailed statement. What she said was—I’m paraphrasing a bit–“OMG WHERE WILL OUR SOLDIERZ GET THEIR PROTEINZ?!?11!?”
It’s an incredibly stupid argument to make in 2016.
Take it away, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, sponsor of Meatless Monday:
Recently, freshman U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) threatened to legislate the removal of Meatless Monday from military menus, suggesting that soldiers and military personnel would not be able to meet protein needs if they cut out meat one day a week. The senator is misinformed about human nutrition, the U.S. Dietary Guidelines (DGAC) and the Meatless Monday campaign.
The 2015 DGAC recommend that for people who consume 2,000 calories per day, the ideal amount of “protein equivalent foods” to consume daily is 5.5 ounces. Protein equivalents include beef, pork, lamb, poultry, seafood, eggs, tofu and soy products, beans, legumes and nuts. According to the Dietary Guidelines, which are revised every five years by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services, protein needs can be adequately met with a variety of foods, including plant-based proteins such as the above-mentioned tofu, soy, beans, legumes and nuts.
It is more than feasible for a person to remove meat from his or her diet one day a week and still easily meet the Dietary Guidelines recommendations for protein….Furthermore, removing meat one day a week will actually help Americans meet additional components of the Guidelines, particularly recommendations for increased vegetable consumption and a reduction in saturated fats.
They conclude: “Observing Meatless Monday in Department of Defense dining facilities could improve the health and well-being of our soldiers, and it has the potential to contribute to reduced food costs and fewer environmental and climate impacts.”
Ernst–a real charmer who boasted during her campaign of castrating baby piglets and promised to “make ’em squeal” in Washington–is obviously happy to sell out the health of the soldiers she claims to care so much about for the benefit of her pig-torturing constituents. And she’s no doubt basking in the attention her little amendment has generated. But even if she succeeds in getting it passed, the meat industry is fighting a losing battle. Meat consumption (other than chicken) has been on a decline for years in the U.S., a trend that will continue and accelerate.
PS – Not Just Related But Yuge: Yesterday, The Guardian reported on a plan by China to cut meat consumption by 50% for public health, ecological (land degradation), and climate reasons.