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Congressional Cave of the Week

congress-meartless-monday-0062613All it took was one letter from the meat lobby – and Congress caved.

In keeping with a growing number of institutions that promote “Meatless Monday” as being good for the health of their employees, the company that services the various cafeterias on Capitol Hill has been promoting vegetarian options (in addition to, not instead of, its standard fare) every Monday.

But no longer. The so-called “Farm Animal Welfare Coalition”, which promotes the welfare of factory farms, considers Meatless Monday to be the thin end of a dangerous wedge, and is working hard to snuff it out in the halls of government lest Congress people go veggie one meal a week and feel a bit healthier for it.

The letter, written to the House Administration Committee and obtained by E&E Daily, tells committee Chairwoman Candice Miller (R-Mich.) and ranking member Robert Brady (D-Pa.) that Restaurant Associates, the company that services the cafeterias in House office buildings, has posted language in their eateries and on their website promoting Meatless Monday. This, the letter says, is unacceptable.

The lobbying group says it understands that Restaurant Associates “is likely seeking to simply meet the demands of vegetarian and vegan customers.” But it then accuses the promotion as being “unfortunate and political.”

“Meatless Mondays is an acknowledged tool of animal rights and environmental organizations who seek to publicly denigrate U.S. livestock and poultry production, alleging we provide unhealthy foods, while contributing disproportionately to climate change and environmental damage. Both claims are offensive to us and wrong.”

The lobby instructs the committee that any signage promoting Meatless Monday should be removed from House dining areas.

So, what did the House Administration Committee do upon receiving letter? No public statements, but Restaurant Associates is quietly pulling any promotion of Meatless Monday alternatives.

Then again, we get the government we voted for.