WASHINGTON, June 22, 2016 - Lawmakers are telling the Pentagon to forget about the idea of Meatless Mondays. An amendment that the House adopted to the Defense Department’s fiscal 2016 spending bill would prohibit the Pentagon from removing meat from its food service program manual. The concern grows out of the Coast Guard Academy’s 10 percent reduction in meat consumption by cadets at the school. 

Rep. Adrian Smith, the Nebraska Republican who sponsored the amendment, worries that the meat-reduction effort will spread to the services. “Ideologically motivated activists are working to take meat off the menu in institutions across the country,” Smith told colleagues. “There’s plenty of evidence of this, and I hope that we can limit these efforts to ensure that our men and women in uniform have the choices of nutrition at their ready.” 

Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-Ind., accused Smith of trying to micromanage the military. “I appreciate the gentlemen’s concern about ideological activists attacking the menus at the Department of Defense. But I do trust they will have the fortitude to resist those particular attacks.”

Smith’s amendment was adopted on a voice vote. Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, prepared a similar amendment to the Senate’s Defense authorization bill but was unable to get a vote. 

Colin Woodall, senior vice president of government affairs for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, said the meatless Monday campaign was “anti-meat and anti-farmer.”

“U.S. military personnel have the right to eat what they want and what is best for their bodies in the execution of their jobs,” Woodall said.


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