GRANHOLM – Michigan Meatout Day. Michigan’s Governor Jennifer Granholm has just made a preposterous declaration – she has declared that this Saturday, March 20, 2010, is Michigan Meatout Day, in which she urges Michigan citizens to eat no meat. Her rationale? A vegan diet is healthier, cheaper, and safer.
Here’s the problem: her declaration is based on erroneous assumptions and misinformation and demonstrate her terrible lack of knowledge and understanding about agriculture. Let’s take a quick look at a couple of statements in the declaration.
Error #1: Reducing the consumption of meat or not eating meat at all can significantly decrease the exposure to infectious pathogens such as salmonella, E. coli, and campylobacter…
The problem with this statement is that you can be just as easily exposed to “infectious pathogens” from vegetables as from meat. Any food source that is not handled safely can develop dangerous bacteria that can cause food-borne illness. Anyone remember the multiple recalls on green onions because of salmonella? Bacteria can be found anywhere, even in fruits and vegetables, hence why it’s important make sure your produce is clean, stored properly (e.g. refrigerated), and comes from trustworthy sources.
Error #2: The benefits of a plant-based diet can consist of increased energy levels, lower food budget costs, and simplified food preparation and cleanup…
Granholm sets up a false dichotomy with this statement, implying that a plant-based diet increases energy levels, lowers food costs, and makes food prep easier — and that a meat-based diet does not. This couldn’t be any further from the truth. A healthy meat-and-vegetable diet can do all of these things, in addition to making it easier for consumers to get the appropriate minerals and vitamins. Meats have all sorts of really good stuff, things like proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals, water — all things that are great for energy. “Fresh red meats are nutrient dense — that is, they provide a high proportion of nutrients to calories. Their high nutritional density makes these meats an important component of a healthy diet.” (Source: Kansas State University, PDF)
Error #3: It is encouraged that the residents of this state get into the habit of healthy living by consuming a diet that is rich with vegetables, fruit, and whole grains, and by staying active
Eating fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is certainly a healthy part of any diet, no doubt. Granholm would have you believe, though, that eating meat is unhealthy. A simple Google search will turn up numerous reasons that meat is a healthy part of any diet. There are certain nutrients – like Vitamin B12 – that can only be obtained from meat, dairy products, and eggs. Other sources have to be specially fortified with B12 if vegans hope to obtain their required daily allotment.
The point of this is not to rail against the eating of fruits and vegetables but to point out the lunacy that eating meat is somehow unhealthy. Governor Granholm seems to have bought into this idiotic philosophy, and her recommendation for Michigan citizens to eschew meat for a day is careless and misinformed. Not only does her declaration lead people toward lies about meat consumption, it directly threatens the very farmers and producers who grow their food, many of whom grow both livestock and produce.
I urge Governor Granholm to retract her declaration and rescind Michigan Meatout Day, and I highly encourage Michigan residents to contact your governor and express your disapproval of this order.