Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Something to Ponder

Although completely unrelated to our travels, I thought I'd share this article:

San Francisco's Meat-Free Mondays gets a shrug

By JULIANA BARBASSA, Associated Press Writer

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

(04-07) 17:25 PDT San Francisco (AP) --

First, it was a ban on plastic grocery bags, and then on mixing recycling with
compost. Now the San Francisco Board of Supervisors is asking residents to go
without meat on Mondays.

This city's latest legislative endorsement of healthy, eco-conscious living
can't stop residents from eating meat, but is meant to call attention to the
relationship between diet, health and climate change.

The measure passed Tuesday urges "all restaurants, grocery stores and schools to
offer a greater variety of plant-based options to improve the health of San
Francisco residents and visitors and to increase the awareness of the impact a
green diet would be on our planet."

It was proposed by supervisor Sophie Maxwell, who is vegetarian, but was
approved unanimously, along with a resolution praising businesses that use
cage-free eggs. Nearly a dozen residents spoke up in its favor.

Maxwell did not immediately return calls for comment.

The reasoning behind the measure — that the meat industry contributes to
environmental degradation and meat consumption can be a factor in
cardiovascular disease, diabetes and other health problems — was dismissed by
the National Meat Association, a trade group representing packers, processors,
and others in the industry.

Changing practices in countries that cut down rainforests to make room for
agriculture is a realistic solution to global warming, said Jeremy Russell, the
organization's communications director.

"But meatless Mondays... That's sort of an unrealistic request," he said.

San Francisco might be the first city in the U.S. to adopt veggie days, but the
issue has been raised elsewhere.

Last year, Baltimore's schools vowed to keep cafeteria lunches meat-free on
Mondays, joining the national nonprofit Meatless Mondays campaign associated
with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

To some in San Francisco, Meatless Monday is a welcome reminder of the small
part that residents play in solving a larger problem. Others, however, were
left asking for Supervisor-Free Fridays.

"It seems the supervisors would have better things to do — like deal with the
budget," said resident Buzz Bense, 61, as he enjoyed a pork sandwich at Memphis
Minnie's, a lower Haight barbecue joint.

San Francisco is struggling with a $483 million budget hole, according to a
recent report by budget analysts.

Glen Pritchard, about to dive into Minnie's pastrami special, said he cares
about larger issues — the environment, animal welfare — but thinks the city's
do-gooders can go too far.

"We just don't need more regulation on what people can do," he said.

Most just shrugged it off as another one of those "only in San Francisco"

"People will talk about it for a month, then it'll go away," said Kegan Riley,
28, as she flipped hot dogs at the Rosamunde Sausage Grill.

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