Meat industry beefs up propaganda to combat “forced vegetarianism” in the workplace

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Earlier this month, the company WeWork, which provides communal workspaces for remote employees, announced that it would no longer pay for meat-based meals for its 6,000 global employees. That means workers are unable to expense any meals containing meat, and company events will no longer include food that contains red meat, poultry, or pork. Meat producers are not taking this news lightly, and quickly launched IChooseMeat.com, a propaganda tool resource to help Americans “fight meat denial.”

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The site’s graphics are bold and eye-catching, asking red-blooded Americans to stand up for their love of animal protein by loudly proclaiming “I Choose Meat.” The site contains such useful resources as a guide to sneaking meat into your meatless office (“hot dog hidden in a banana peel” and “Thermos of beef stew,” for example) and also includes links to separate sites called My MeatUp and Meat Mythcrushers. There, readers can find articles extolling meat’s “green” credentials and explaining what that liquid at the bottom of a meat package really is. All three sites are the creation of the North American Meat Institute, a trade association representing red meat and poultry processors and suppliers.

It’s a pretty bold move in the escalating culture war between the meat industry and advocates of meat-free or meat-reduced diets. Concerns over research into lab-grown “meat” and the mainstreaming of plant-based proteins like the Impossible Burger have turned what was once a personal dietary choice into a contentious, nearly political issue. In a press release announcing the I Choose Meat website, NAMI refers to it as a resource for the “meat denied,” or people whose offices restrict their access to meat. “It is disappointing that any company would make a decision to remove a nutritious and delicious food choice,” Meat Institute vice president of public affairs Eric Mittenthal says in the statement. “For both environmental and employee morale purposes, companies are far better served by working to reduce their energy consumption and encouraging public transportation.”

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If you’re interested in a list of 13 Ways To Get Out Of Your Office’s Meatless Lunch, rest assured there’s now a resource for you.

Kate Bernot is a freelance writer and a certified beer judge. She was previously managing editor at The Takeout.

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DISCUSSION

winglessvictory
WinglessVictory

I’m okay with this as long as they don’t prohibit people from bringing meat-based meals from home or buying their own meat-based meals.

Also, welcome to my world. I get tired of having to eat cole slaw and a roll at every party because even the broccoli salad has bacon in it.

What’s wrong with encouraging people to eat more plant based meals? It’s not like most people are meat deficient! My husband eats meat a few times per week, but he really really appreciates the truly tasty vegetarian or even vegan options I make at home

So it’s not a matter of feast or deprivation — you can do meat at home or do meat at a restaurant and still eat a plant-based diet a few times per week. Don’t get hung up on labels like “vegetarian” or “vegan.” Do your own thing, Dog.