Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Meat-free Mondays

Meat-free Monday didn't really have much impact on me, as my days had all been meat-free days for quite some time when it was invented. It was most recently brought into my consciousness by Vegansaurus' Meatless Monday Unicorn, a sarky character who demonstrates that booze, narcotics and a slightly evil sense of humour can be vegan. I like. My feelings about meat-free Mondays are a bit more complicated, and I waver between thinking it is a pretty ace idea to wondering whether it can achieve more than making people eat cheese and eggs for one day and meat the other six.

The good:
-It brings veg*n issues to people's attention
-It reduces overall meat consumption
-It can be made vegan rather than just meatless, depending on who takes the initiative and supplies the recipes. So if nothing else it is a useful thing for vegans to get involved with.
-It can showcase how great vegan food is, inspiring those who already have niggling doubts about eating animals to go vegan
-It can be used as a forum to promote veganism, if done in the right way

The bad:
-Many workplaces and so on will just go with the cheese omlette option, so from an animal rights perspective it isn't a whole lot better than the usual fare
-If the food provided is bad, it will skew people's perceptions and put them further off being vegetarian or vegan
-It diverts energy away from vegan campaigning
-It is often promoted in a way that posits it as an end-point, so people will see it as 'enough' and not feel inspired to go further

So I guess the answer here is that it depends on how meat-free Monday is gone about, who takes the initiative and how much leeway that person has if they're starting from the right point. But it's still a bit of a thorny one.

What do you think?

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