Baltimore Schools: 1/5 Meatless

From the Meatless Monday website:

The Baltimore City Public School system is about to become the first fully Meatless Monday school system in the U.S…. And that’s not all. The school system has introduced a wide variety of projects to ensure its students eat and learn about healthy, environmentally friendly choices.

Meatless Monday is certainly not a vegan movement, and I have seen it criticized by vegans and even criticized it a little bit myself. Nonetheless, I don’t think it can be any more harmful than Meatful Monday, even with the possibility of dairy and egg consumption, and it will hopefully open many people to the idea of de-centering animal cadavers from their diet. So I find this news on the Baltimore City Public School system to be exciting and a new opportunity from a vegan perspective.

Notice the excerpt above defines the purpose of Meatless Monday for the BCPS as an effort for its students to “eat and learn about healthy, environmentally friendly choices.” I see this continually in the media these days: vegetarianism is about the environment and health and maybe even world hunger (in that order), but often animals are not even mentioned. This is interesting given that the earliest known vegetarianism as widespread intentional practice, according to Wikipedia, is linked just to a philosophy of nonviolence toward nonhuman animals:

The earliest records of (lacto) vegetarianism as a concept and practice amongst a significant number of people come from ancient India. Vegetarianism was also practiced by the ancient Greek civilisation in Southern Italy and in Greece in the 6th century BCE. In both instances the diet was closely connected with the idea of nonviolence towards animals (called ahimsa in India) and was promoted by religious groups and philosophers. Following the Christianisation of the Roman Empire in late antiquity, vegetarianism practically disappeared from Europe.

Thanks, medieval Christians! Animal justice, unlike environmental and health justice, has simply not yet become a public issue in the minds of most Westerners. Of course, Meatless Monday actually has nothing to do with vegetarianism, being non-transitional in nature (at least, it seems, in the minds of most people taking it up), so it makes sense that this Meatless Monday has nothing to do with animal justice. It is about less consumption rather than abandonment of consumption.

Homemade Hemp Milkshake

Homemade Hemp Milkshake

As for the environmental issue, milk (mentioned in the article as a healthy option) isn’t exactly better for the environment. Soy milk is a possibility I pointed out in a comment on that article. Soy is an environmental issue, but the majority of soy we grow is fed to animals. We should feed soy to ourselves instead of the cows whose milk we’re taking and bodies we’re ravishing. Alternatively, hemp milk is also highly nutritious and my favorite dairy alternative. Check out the new poll I created: What types of milk alternatives have you tried?


~ by Louëlla on October 5, 2009.

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