Meat industry groups appear to have successfully killed an experiment with 'Meatless Mondays' on Capitol Hill and the Congressional Vegetarian Caucus isn't happy about it.
"Capitol Hill cafeterias should not be a venue for political trade groups to impose their will on the eating habits of government employees," the caucus wrote in a letter sent to Restaurant Associates, the catering group that provides food to the Hill's cafeteria. "We question what public good is being served here."
Restaurant Associates, which did not immediately respond to request for comment, had only tried out the veggie initiative once, on June 3. After the caterers posted signs promoting the new veggie options, several livestock groups responded swiftly, writing a letter to the House Administration Committee calling Meatless Mondays a "tool of animal rights and environmental organizations who seek to publicly denigrate U.S. livestock and poultry production."
The meat industry has successfully killed Meatless Mondays for government workers before. In 2012, a Department of Agriculture newsletter that suggested its employees try out Meatless Mondays sparked a strong backlash from the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, whose president, J.D. Alexander, said the idea "should be condemned by anyone who believes agriculture is fundamental to sustaining life on this planet."
Sen. Chuck Grassley and Rep. Steve King, both Republicans from Iowa, a state that's home to a major meat industry, promised to eat more meat on Mondays in response. The USDA later said it wouldn't endorse the vegetarian initiative.