In my last blog post, “Is Beef-Eating a Sacred Cow?,” I suggested that eating less meat, especially beef, would be a good thing for the planet and our health as well as for the farm animals that would not suffer and die. According to the FAO, humans consume over 312,000,000,000 KG of meat annually — that is 43 KG for every man, woman and child on the planet–with some people eating a lot more meat than others. That 312 million metric tonnes of meat comes from over 30 billion of animals produced and slaughtered annually. Continued global growth in consumption, driven by population growth and the increased desire to consume meat in developing countries, is pushing agricultural limits, putting demands on fresh water supply and emitting more greenhouse gases than the entire transportation system. The solution is to stem demand for meat by putting more vegetarian and vegan options in everyone’s diet.
For years, I heard about “Meatless Mondays.” The idea got its start during war years to conserve resources for the war effort. Due to concern for health and the environment, Meatless Mondays was revived in 2003 by Sid Lerner, in association with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Center for a Livable Future, advocating promoting a more sustainable and healthy diet. It is now a global movement embraced widely by environmental and animal rights organizations, schools, communities and governments. In Canada Meatless Mondays is promoted by a number of organizations, including Meatless Mondays Canada, Earthsave Canada, the Vancouver Humane Society and the Animal Defence League.
It would be great if more Canadian restaurants, food services, schools and institutions took Meatless Mondays to heart by offering more vegetarian and vegan menu selections – on Mondays and every day. This would benefit vegetarians and vegans who would find it easier to eat out. It would benefit food providers by having the potential of more customers. It would benefit every diner who would have more healthy choices.
Please take a moment to check out the information provided in the various links found in this post; then take the Meatless Mondays Pledge and challenge others to do the same. And please encourage places where you eat — restaurants, cafeterias, clubs, schools, etc. — to provide tasty and nutritious vegetarian and vegan alternatives on their menus. We will all benefit.
I am not a vegetarian but am selective about the meat I eat. I support local farmers who practice sustainable and ethical farming practices. One such place is Mariposa Farms, a producing duck farm and restaurant east of Ottawa. Since this is an art blog, here are some paintings inspired by a trip to Mariposa Farms where I belief that the animals live the best lives possible for food animals.
Rooster and Hens, by Beth Shepherd, 2015