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All We Can Eat
Posted at 04:40 PM ET, 04/23/2012

The politics of going vegetarian for a cause


Can you subsist on vegetables for a week? Compassion Over Killing would like you to try. (Katherine Frey/The Washington Post)
Perhaps it’s not surprising that the mayor of Takoma Park and four of six members of the City Council have pledged to go vegetarian, starting today, as part of Veg Week 2012. The D.C. suburb, after all, has a long tradition of vegetarianism, a diet historically driven by the Seventh-day Adventists, who held sway over the town for decades.

In fact, the whole Veg Week campaign began three years ago in Takoma Park, part of the veg/vegan agenda of Compassion Over Killing, the animal advocacy organization based in the ‘burb.

This year, however, Veg Week’s reach has stretched considerably beyond Takoma Park’s borders, perhaps in part because of the ever-growing legion (including government agencies) calling for less meat consumption in the American diet. Among those taking the meatless pledge are D.C. Council member Yvette Alexander (D-Ward 7), California State Controller John Chiang (D), Virginia Del. Patrick Hope (D-Arlington), Prince George’s County Council member Eric Olson (D-College Park), U.S. Representative Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) and others. You can read the list of prominent people going veg here.

It would seem that the political ramifications of embracing a vegetarian diet — if only for a week — are not the same as they might have been a decade or two ago when steak was the dish over which the people’s business was conducted.

“Vegetarian eating has certainly come a long way in the past decade,” notes Erica Meier, executive director of Compassion Over Killing. “As veg options are more readily available and as meat consumption in the U.S. decreases, the social hurdles of meat-free eating are falling down — making it more common and acceptable for everyone, including elected representatives, to choose veg foods.”

The again, if you review the list of notable Veg Week pledgers, you’ll find that most of them, if not all, are Democrats and/or from states with enough granola eaters to almost guarantee re-election. The liberal media may be writing about the increasing tension over meat eating — or even asking people to justify their meat consumption — but until a truckload of politicians from Nebraska or North Carolina or Texas take a public stand and take the Veg Week pledge, you can bet that much of the country will continue to gobble down animal proteins. And laugh at those of us trying to reduce.

So where do you stand on your own meat consumption? And have you decided to take the pledge to go meat-free for Veg Week?

Incidentally, a number of restaurants want to make your veg pledge go down a little easier: They’re offering deals on veg-friendly meals.

By  |  04:40 PM ET, 04/23/2012

Categories:  Food Politics | Tags:  Tim Carman

 
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