03 April 2012

Meatless Monday vs. Friday Fiasco's Meat Report: Local Central Florida radio station goes ham

The Meatless Monday campaign has turned into a global movement. A large number of schools, hospitals, worksites and restaurants choose to participate in a healthier way to start the week.

The campaign encourages going meatless once a week to reduce the risk of chronic preventable conditions such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. It can also help reduce one’s carbon footprint and save resources like fresh water and fossil fuels.

The Meatless Monday movement seems to have made a great impact in Central Florida. A number of local restaurants promote Meatless Monday by offering discounts on vegetarian items. Also, a group of students on campus have plans to present PETA’s Meatless Monday petition to the school’s president and the Student Government Association.

If the petition is successful, the group hopes the school will offer more vegan and vegetarian options on campus along with discounts in the school’s marketplace and student union on Monday.

Apparently, not everyone has adapted to the truths of excessive meat consumption. A local radio show, 101one WJRR, displays what some might think is an antagonistic approach to Meatless Monday. The station broadcasts the “Meat Report” during its Friday Fiasco radio show.

Each Friday, the radio host reveals to listeners where the best restaurant and supermarket deals are for purchasing meat for the weekend.

Meatless Monday Project Associate, Tami O’Neill, used the word “interesting” to describe the Meat Report.

“I suppose it demonstrates the prevalence of food in our culture. That what people need is plentiful amounts of cheap meat,” O’Neill said. “We’re not against that people consume meat. We focus more on thinking about the health benefits or implications of what people are eating.”

Local vegan, Alanna Wagy said she is disappointed to hear about the “pro-meat sub-cultural reinforcement.”

“Honestly, I feel like this is one of those things that kind of makes vegans re-realize how addicted to animal products Americans really are,” Wagy said.

Additionally, www.wjrr.com posted this article on their website in 2010: Here’s the Beef: U.S. Cattle Prices are Rising with the Economy by Bruce Kennedy. The article went into detail about the economy causing meat prices to rise. It is a possibility that the radio station might be trying to help listeners by offering discount opportunities. However, phone calls to the radio station requesting comment were not returned.

“The full cost of the food is more important than the amount in dollars,” O’Neill said.

For carnivores, eating cheap meat could cost even more money in the long run. The trend of rolling back pricing on meat may have a positive effect on the wallets of Americans, but could have potentially damaging effects on one’s health and on the environment.

“I’ll drive by a fast food restaurant and see these price points. When you have learned more about the price up higher and how it is impacting our environment and our health -- that $4.99 isn’t $4.99 anymore,” O’Neill said.

Even for those who eat meat, there are healthier ways than looking for the cheapest deal. Avoid factory-farmed products when purchasing beef and chicken. Look for “Certified Organic” on the label. Yes, it will be more expensive, but when incorporating Meatless Monday into the mix, better quality will be able to be afforded.

Wagy said that she feels the Meat Report might be a way of toughening up the image of the rock station.

“I’m guessing their target listeners are young men and despite scientific evidence, people still view meat as this food that is supposed to make you more manly, strong and powerful,” Wagy said. “I think it’s kind of irresponsible to embrace this stigma and push these cancer and heart disease causing products on their listeners.”

Wagy also added that beans are a much leaner and cheaper source of protein. “If their listeners really want to bulk up, they should eat some of those.”

According to the radio station’s Facebook page, listeners display in their posts that they enjoy hearing the Meat Report. Whether the report is influential or not, hopefully people do their own research before throwing any raw slab of animal into their shopping cart.

“I’m pretty sure rock stars were not thinking about hamburgers when the ‘live fast and die young’ phrase was coined,” Wagy said.

Elyssa Schwartz
Florida Throughout her life, Elyssa has always been environmentally conscious. She is a strong believer that any contribution, small or large, can ultimately make an impact. That’s why after reading Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin’s “Skinny Bitch” in 2010, she immediately decided to adopt a plant-based diet. The book went into detail about how a vegan lifestyle is healthier for our planet. Additionally, the repeated reference to meat as decomposing, rotting animal carcasses was also a deal breaker among many others. A journalism major at the University of Central Florida, Elyssa writes for the Central Florida Future. Her first taste of promoting veg was a weekly column titled “Veggin’ Out.”

Photo credit: Meatless Monday/WJRR