Meatless Mondays at USDA Out-and-Out "Treason," Ag Commish Staples Says

Imbroglios don't get more prosaic than this: A USDA newsletter suggests its employees practice "Meatless Mondays," thereby shrinking their ecological footprint. Skip the Salisbury steak at the cafeteria and eat a plant instead.

Take into account the ever-swelling asses of the American public and this isn't such a bad idea. To the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, though, the USDA has turned its back on them. Kansas Senator Jerry Moran took it the logical next step: "Never in my life would I have expected USDA to be opposed to farmers and ranchers." And Texas Ag Commish Todd Staples, currently angling for lieutenant governor, waded in with his own, typically measured, not-at-all-attention-seeking rhetoric on his blog Thursday.

The person responsible for the "treasonous," once-weekly eschewing of cafeteria meat should be fired. Never mind that vegetables, too, are products of agriculture, Staples wants you to "imagine Ford or Chevy discouraging the purchase of their pickup trucks. Anyone else see the absurdity? How about the betrayal?"

"Why should our hardworking beef producers be paying the uninformed enemy's salary? Without delay, the responsible parties have got to go. At a time when historical droughts are threatening the livelihoods of our beef producers and diminishing our food supply, the last thing we need is a USDA that adds insult to injury."

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack has rescinded the newsletter bearing the Meatless Monday message. USDA functionaries may still pursue Mondays meatlessly, but they will be lower-case and unsanctioned.

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Brantley Hargrove