Animal Agriculture Alliance Sees Red,
The Animal Agriculture Alliance (AAA) is seeing red--red meat, that is. The organization is mobilized to fight its opponents, those animal rights activists who are behind the successful Meatless Monday Campaign. When Meatless Monday was created in 2003 by advertising mogul Sid Lerner, his intention was to persuade Americans to cut back on their consumption to improve their health. Lerner, not a vegetarian, had cut his own consumption to achieve health benefits.
Very quickly large institutions signed on to the project and it looked like it was headed toward success. Even the Los Angeles City Council in November 2012 passed a resolution of support for Meatless Monday. In March the Los Unified School district stopped serving meat on Mondays.
But the cowboys in the meat industry with so much at "steak" were not going to roll over on the way to the slaughterhouse. They fought back in 2011 with the Animal Agriculture Alliance at the vanguard of the battle. The Alliance approached college campus clubs to tell agriculture's story at their locales. They were searching for a group on each campus to become an "agvocate" for agriculture by hosting a Meet Your Meat event at the college.
Someone at the Alliance neglected to do the homework to discover that Meat Your Meat is a short PETA documentary narrated by Alec Baldwin that graphically displayed the horrific treatment of animals in slaughterhouses. We doubt this film will be shown at the AAA-sponsored Meet Your Meat college meetings.
In a letter to college leaders AAA pleaded the case that their industry was misunderstood:
"Today, misconceptions about agriculture and food production are at an all-time high. Misleading campaigns from anti-meat or anti-technology activist groups, such as Meatless Monday seek to promote negative stereotypes about America's farms and ranches. The clever marketing and celebrity endorsements of these efforts may be convincing--but the public deserves to know the truth.
"That's where you come in! The average American is now at least three generations removed from the farm and may not understand the important role agriculture plays in our society. Too often the public hears more from agriculture's critics rather than the people who are directly connected to it. That's why it is so crucial that you take time to reach out to consumers including friends, family and classmates--and share your personal stories and passion for agriculture."
The AAA kit features an essay written by Judith Capper PhD, Assistant Professor of Dairy Science at Washington State University. In "The Myth of Meatless Monday," Professor Capper challenges the respected Environmental Working Group (EWG ) Report MEAT EATER'S GUIDE TO CLIMATE CHANGE + HEALTH issued in July 2011 advising that everyone should eat less meat to reduce the carbon footprint on the environment. The Environmental Working Group is an American environmental organization that specializes in research and advocacy in the areas of toxic chemicals, agricultural subsidies, public lands, and corporate accountability.
"Yet just as it's possible to replace ground beef with tofu and make something that looks like a burger but tastes like soy, the EWG's attempt to use poor-quality data and erroneous assumptions to create a vegetarian ideology is a poor substitute for real science," Capper writes.
Obviously, anyone gathering data on environmental pollution created by factory farming has to be pushing a vegetarian agenda. One wonders how much Capper is paid by the AAA to support their agenda, especially when she writes, "Moreover, the idea that we can mitigate climate change on a diet of tofu and lentils is somewhat ironic given their propensity to produce increased methane from the human gastro-intestinal tract. What a genteel way of saying a veg diet produces more farts and environmental pollution.
Capper herself is full of methane when she compares human farts to animal farts and belches. Vegans and vegetarians should be incensed by her statement that they are farting more because they are eating tofu and lentils instead of meat. The estimated 7 million lentil and tofu eating vegetarians can't produce as many farts as the 10 billion animals killed for food in the US annually. There are over 7 billion people on the globe, not all of them farting, while 150 billion farting animals go to slaughter each year.
In their information for college students and the general public, AAA presents a ludicrous, manure-filled fact sheet titled "Five Studies that Bust Meat Myths." We are printing their laughable claims with research studies that disprove them.
1. No Link Between Cancer and Meat
The AAA obviously is treading water in a manure lagoon with this statement. Anyone alive and awake cannot avoid hearing about numerous studies that implicate meat in cancer deaths. If we listed all of them, it would take hours to report the summaries of those studies. Here are a few of the numerous links to recent studies linking meat to cancer.
2. Meat May Increase Lifespan
AAA did not tell us other information revealed in that study.
"Still, if humans developed genes to compensate for a meat-rich diet, why do so many now suffer from high cholesterol and vascular disease? "
The answer is a lack of exercise and moderation, according to the researchers. "This shift to a diet rich in meat and fat occurred at a time when the population was dominated by hunters and gatherers," said Finch, a USC University Professor and holder of the ARCO-William F. Kieschnick Chair in the Neurobiology of Aging.
"The level of physical activity among these human ancestors was much higher than most of us have ever known," he said. "Whether humans today, with our sedentary lifestyle, remain highly tolerant to meat eating remains an open question researchers are looking into."
Stanford, co-director of the university's Goodall Research Center, said that modern-day humans "tend to gorge ourselves with meat and fat." "For example, our ancestors only ate bird eggs in the spring when they were available," he said. "Now we eat them year-round. They may have hunted one deer a season and eaten it over several months. We can go to the supermarket and buy as much meat as we want.
"I think we can learn a lesson from this," Stanford said. "Eating meat is fine, but in moderation and with a lot of exercise."
Many other studies point to a decrease in life span for meat eaters.
3. Eggs Lower in Cholesterol Than Thought
Instead of 212 milligrams of cholesterol, eggs now clock in at 185 milligrams. According to the USDA's updated Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the average adult should eat less than 300 mg of cholesterol a day. One egg still contains more than half the recommended daily amount. Many people down two eggs in a breakfast along with cholesterol-laden bacon and sausages.
4. Protein Reduces Cancer Risk Eating a low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet may reduce the risk of cancer, according to a study published in a June 2011 Journal of the Association for Cancer Research.
The same studies mentioned in Myth 1, No Link Between Cancer and Meat, also apply here.
5. Meat Prevents Brain Shrinkage
The AAA really jumped on this study that if a person's B12 level gets too low, the brain atrophies or shrinks. Not said was that even older meat eaters may still have low levels of B12. They also neglected to mention that vegetarians can achieve adequate levels of B12 by eating B12-enriched foods or taking B12 supplements.
Daily Livestock Report that blames the federal government for waging war on meat protein consumption over the last 30 to 40 years.
Yet every USDA diet recommendation continues to recommend meat as a part of a healthy diet. Bittman lists the rise of "flexitarianism," an eating style that reduces the amount of meat without embracing vegetarianism, as one of the top five consumer health trends of 2012.
In August 2012 we published the story USDA Cancels Meatless Monday in which we described how the meat industry went ballistic when USDA employees wanted to implement Meatless Monday in the employee cafeteria. The story shows that the meat industry has powerful allies in the US Congress.
The Animal Agriculture Alliance is really not fooling anyone, especially college students. More and more campuses are offering meatless options, and not only on Mondays. The Alliance and all of its allies are facing a trend with more and more people shunning meat for heath reasons and becoming aware of the cruelty involved in its production and negative impact on the environment.
As for us, we will continue to eat our tofu and lentils and can assure the public that our meatless farts are far less offensive than those of our carnivorous friends and the poor farting and belching cows getting fattened for slaughter.