We warned a few months ago that Americans might soon need to fight for their right to BLTs in response to a private Texas college’s all-encompassing ban on pork. And, in the past, being out of school was usually a way to avoid the worst meddlesome excesses of would-be bacon-banners.
That’s not so certain anymore. Not long after a USDA newsletter promoting the animal rights-backed Meatless Monday idea drew criticism, the Los Angeles City Council passed a resolution endorsing the campaign. Animal rights groups proclaimed a growing movement, to the delight of Michael Jacobson, carrot-juice-house prophet and head of the Center for Science in the Public Interest. For now, the measure remains non-binding, but given the desire of activists to follow alcohol regulation in revoking food choices, perhaps meat-free Mondays will be the new blue laws.
Of course, if this movement has as much support as author Michael Pollan’s “food movement,” meat lovers have nothing to worry about. That movement’s signature initiative, the labeling of some foods produced with biotechnology, lost a California referendum by over 570,000 votes. We suspect that making meatless Mondays law would be about as popular as, say, soda taxes, which even the stridently left-wing city of Richmond, California rejected by a margin of two to one.
And people are fighting back against attempts to hop onto Meatless Mondays’ radical bandwagon. U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley (IA) vowed to resist the USDA’s seeming endorsement of the campaign by eating more meat on Mondays. (PETA used the opportunity to showcase its trademark bad taste, offering to take informal bets on when the 79-year-old politician would die.)
Elsewhere, university students aren’t digging into Meatless Mondays. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) tried to get Chico State University to join the Meatless Monday campaign. (Why does a “humane society” care about when people eat meat? Because HSUS is a vegan advocacy group that doesn’t run pet shelters.) Chico State students fought back, getting the school to drop the branding and keep the bacon. All HSUS got for its trouble was yet another crack in its carefully crafted mask. And when Bowdoin College held its meatless Monday, students responded with a fully stocked barbecue.
What does this all mean? For now, not much: Los Angeles’s resolution is non-binding, and evidence from other activist endeavors suggests that as long as the people maintain control — which Angelinos do under California’s strong direct democracy laws — anti-food activists will fail. Until bureaucrats take that control away, enjoy the bacon to start the work week, no matter what animal rights activists or preening legislators may say. And if they take your bacon away, Texas—outside of that one school—is more than willing to have you, whatever you choose to eat.