CBS Business Network reports that the beef industry is seriously worried about the Recipes for Healthy Kids cooking contest. CBS writer Melanie Warner wrote that the beef industry is “freaked out” by a recent government program designed to encourage healthier eating habits among American children:
the USDA, along with Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign, has launched a contest encouraging people to come up with creative vegetable, bean and whole grain recipes for kids. A fun, harmless PR exercise, right? Not to the beef industry, which is up in arms over the exclusion of meat in the recipe categories. Kristina Butts, director of legislative affairs for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, complained to Beef Magazine that the contest sends the wrong message.
“By excluding meat from its healthy kids recipe contest, USDA continues to add to the misconception that meat is over consumed in the U.S.“
The fact that Butts even bothered to address this non-issue reveals just how sensitive large meat producers are to not only the idea that people should curtail meat consumption, but to any suggestion, no matter how innocuous, that Americans eat more non-meat items that might somehow knock meat off the plate.
The article continues with another example of the beef industry’s irrational over-reactions:
The beef industry has always been thin-skinned about anything that threatens to upend sales, and these days its members are even more on edge. In June, the USDA’s Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, which counsels the agency on its all-important dietary guidelines, had the gall to recommend that Americans “shift food intake patterns to a more plant-based diet that emphasizes vegetables, cooked dry beans and peas, fruits, whole grains, nuts, and seeds.” It sounds like common-sense advice, but for the USDA, which has been a longtime loyal ally in promoting meat consumption, it’s radical thinking.
While there are certainly some of us who freely admit we are actively working to create a shift in our society’s consciousness with regards to farmed animals to the point where people care about them enough to reject animal cruelty, a few government programs that are trying to increase Americans’ consumption of healthy fruits, vegetables, and grains won’t put animal agriculture out of business.
The beef industry needs to calm down. Maybe Kristina Butts should do yoga.