June 17, 2009
I’m heartened to learn that the “meatless Monday” concept has taken hold globally. It is welcome news that former Beatles mega-star Paul McCartney and his daughters launched a new Meat Free Monday campaign in the United Kingdom, just weeks after Belgium’s city of Ghent enacted its own “Veggie Day.” I praise Sir Paul and the city of Ghent for publicly recognizing the health and environmental benefits of reducing the demand for meat worldwide.
For the past seven years, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Center for a Livable Future have embraced the nationwide “Meatless Monday” program. The campaign’s goal is to reduce the negative health and environmental impacts of industrially produced meat. The Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production, a project of the Bloomberg School of Public Health and Pew Charitable Trusts, found that the current industrial system of producing food animals too often poses unacceptable risks to public health, the environment and the welfare of the animals themselves and that significant changes must be implemented now. Reducing the amount of meat we eat is a good first step.
I’d like to take this time to recognize some “rock stars” of our own here in Baltimore, Maryland. Recently, the Baltimore City Public Schools’ food and nutrition director, Anthony Geraci, announced that our schools’ chef and dietitian, Mellissa Mahoney, will incorporate Meatless Monday menu options for each school when students return in the fall. Tony says the decision makes just as much fiscal sense as common sense. It is an empowering and important message to send to our children that deciding what and how much we eat can impact the world that we all live in as well as our personal health.