Sunday, May 17, 2009

Mandating Vegetarianism?

Given the environmental and social externalities that result from meat production, it seems reasonable that meat consumption be federally regulated in a way similar to attempts at capping greenhouse gas emissions or banning trans fat. Of course, BBQ-loving Americans would be up in arms--literally, with their rifles and second-amendment doctrines--if the U.S. government ever came close to such a move.

The Belgian city of Ghent, however, is taking steps in this direction. While they are not going so far as to ban or criminalize meat consumption, they are going to have recommended weekly "veggie days," aimed at raising awareness about the environmental impact of meat consumption and combating obesity. Politicians and public officials will be the first to give up meat, followed by programs for schoolchildren in September. Every restaurant in the city will guarantee a vegetarian option and some will go fully vegetarian on the day.

See, Al Gore. Sometimes politicians actually take the lead on curbing their environmental footprint.

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