A growing number of cattle industry advocates and climate change skeptics are expressing fear that a federal ‘anti-meat agenda’ will be reflected in the 2015 Dietary Guidelines, slated to be released later this year. Advocates for change argue that food production is inextricably linked to both human and environmental health, and that dietary guidelines ought to reflect that relationship.

A panel of prominent scientists led by Kate Clancy has suggested that the Food Pyramid – reworked into “My Plate” – should reflect the carbon footprint of meat production (specifically cattle).

Both sides are gearing up for a fight: livelihoods, culture, and billions of dollars in federal spending (including in the school lunch program) are at stake. The Los Angeles Times reports:

“There is an anti-meat agenda out there, and this is a way to go after meat,” said Daren Bakst, a fellow at the Heritage Foundation, the conservative research and advocacy organization. “We need to just focus on nutrition. Once you bring up these other things, it undermines the legitimacy of the guidelines.”

Others – including environmental and animal rights advocates – have a different viewpoint, and think that the issue can be leveraged to raise awareness.

“People care a lot more about their own personal health than they do about the environment or animal welfare,” said Michael Jacobson, executive director at the Center for Science in the Public Interest in Washington. “So these groups are hoping to make progress on their issues by linking them to healthier diets.”


This piece frames a complex policy issue with a good degree of clarity. A must read. You can access the full article here.