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Readers dish over Meatless Monday in L.A.

November 14, 2012|By Sara Lessley
  • Times readers weigh in on the Los Angeles City Council's support for the Meatless Monday campaign.
Times readers weigh in on the Los Angeles City Council's support for… (Los Angeles Times )

Meatless Monday, fair or ... ?

When the Los Angeles City Council approved a resolution this week endorsing the international nonprofit campaign that says skipping meat once a week improves people's health and the environment, two Times editorial board members found themselves on opposite sides of the dinner table.

Carla Hall got the ball rolling, coming out unequivocally for the idea: 

“But at a time when advocates of healthful eating are trying to show all of us, no matter our income levels, how to find and prepare more vegetables and legumes in our diets, and when voters in California and elsewhere have demonstrated that they are concerned about conditions in which food animals are raised, there’s nothing wrong with the city’s politicians urging us, for health and animal welfare reasons, to put our veggies where our mouths are. For at least one day of the week.”

Not so fast, wrote Karin Klein:

“Yes, this is just a suggestion. But you have to wonder where the council members get the idea that their particular view of diet, nutrition and the environment is the one to put forth as official if voluntary policy. Is it more healthful for the city to chow down on plates of white-flour pasta? Most dietitians would tell us no.”

Not surprisingly, Times readers were quick to dig in as well.

First, the cheers:

From Oak Park, Ill., Sujatha Ramakrishna wrote: “As a physician, I was excited to hear that the Los Angeles City Council has embraced the concept of ‘Meatless Mondays.’ Even if people aren’t willing or able to go completely vegetarian, skipping meat for even one day a week is a great way to start improving one’s health. Hopefully, other major cities will soon follow their example.”

Agreed Olivia Moy of Chicago: “I believe that the ‘Meatless Mondays’ resolution will successfully influence L.A. to go green and adopt a much healthier lifestyle, benefiting not only the residents, but also the environment.”

Then, the jeers:

Patrick Pascal in Los Angeles didn’t bite: “I hope our City Council members' vote for ‘Meatless Mondays’ has restored their smugness to a level where they won’t feel inferior to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. I’m sure  all the taxpaying, citizen-employing restaurants appreciate knowing just where they stand with City Hall.

“Meanwhile, our city’s infrastructure continues to decline, needed services go unmet and our budget gap deteriorates as our City Council congratulates each other acting on the really important issues.”

And from cattle country came this pointed rejoinder, by Todd Staples, the Texas agriculture commissioner: “Reason No. 1,001 to move from California to Texas: We cook great steaks on Mondays and the other six days of the week…. Politicians in Los Angeles have done it again; contrary to ‘Meatless Monday’ campaign claims, beef is both environmentally and nutritionally efficient. Cattle production requires less land, water and energy than in the past, and it provides essential nutrients to your diet.

“Yes, Americans should eat more fruits and vegetables, but a balanced diet includes all the basic food groups. Meat helps build a healthy body, and its production and consumption contribute to our economy.

“Leaders in California should focus on serving up jobs rather than telling residents what to eat."

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