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.”
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.”
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.