Nebraska University Rejects Meatless Monday Campaign

UNL votes down $250 campaign
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 2, 2015 2:30 PM CST
Nebraska University Rejects Meatless Monday Campaign
In this Dec. 3, 2014 photo, cattle graze at dusk among cornstalks near Fort Kearny State Historical Park south-east of Kearney, Neb.   (AP Photo/The Daily Hub, Lori Potter)

The environmental sustainability committee, part of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's student government, didn't think it was asking for much. It didn't want the cafeteria to actually stop serving meat on Mondays—it just wanted the student government's permission to spend $250 on a "Meatless Monday" advertising campaign. On one Monday in UNL dining halls, a three-sided placard would explain the movement and discuss the fact that the meat industry contributes to greenhouse gas emissions, while also "extoll[ing] the importance" of the industry in the state, explains the Omaha World-Herald, which has a copy of the placard. The university's Dining Services approved the placard—but student government "overwhelmingly" voted it down. The Collegiate Farm Bureau had organized a group of 100+ students to protest the measure, the Nebraska Radio Network notes.

"For many of us, our livelihood depends on crop or protein production," says one student senator who majors in agricultural economics and opposed the bill. "To launch a campaign directly in conflict of that, and to use their money to combat their own cause, we didn’t feel that was a just thing to do." An animal science major, meanwhile, argued that transportation emissions are a bigger problem and suggested funds instead be used to inform students about mass transit options. But the committee chair, an environmental studies senior, was surprised the bill didn't pass: "In the environmental community, reducing meat consumption is a pretty standard action," he says. After the proposal was voted down, the Farm Bureau president praised protesters in his annual address, NTV reports, noting that "young people today understand the importance of advocating for agriculture." (Serious drama ensued after the USDA plugged Meatless Mondays.)

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