To the Editor:
Although I was pleased to see The Stanford Daily cover the growing Meatless Monday movement on campus (“Meatless Mondays campaign encounters pushback from students,” March 3), I’m disappointed by the article’s misleading headline, which dramatically overstates the opposition to an important and popular initiative.
The reality is that most students at Stanford — like millions of people around the world — support this global effort to protect the environment, prevent animal suffering and improve public health. Since the beginning of winter quarter, over 475 Stanford students have pledged to go meatless on Mondays, and a variety of groups including Stanford PAW (People for Animal Welfare), Appetite for Change (AFC) and Students for a Sustainable Stanford (SSS) have sponsored the campaign. Those in favor of eating less meat far outnumber the few students at Xanadu who’d like to eat meat at every meal.
Even those in the latter party might reconsider if they learned that cutting meat and other animal products out of our diets just one or two days a week for one year spares more than 40 animals from cruelty and extreme confinement on factory farms. It also preserves more than 11,000 square feet of rainforest and saves nearly 300,000 gallons of water. A senior United Nations official has called livestock “one of the most significant contributors to today’s most serious environmental problems,” and in fact, animal agriculture is the leading cause of climate change, water pollution, deforestation, habitat destruction and species extinction.
The meat- and dairy-heavy standard American diet has also been strongly linked to our country’s most deadly chronic diseases: heart disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes, dementia and certain types of cancer. Studies show the more plant-based foods we eat, the healthier we are.
For these reasons, the United Nations and our country’s foremost nutrition experts — the presidentially appointed Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee — recommend a shift away from animal products toward more plant-based diets rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans.
At Stanford and elsewhere, Meatless Monday is not about forcing anyone to go vegetarian or vegan. It’s about embracing and encouraging this shift to a more compassionate, sustainable and healthful way of eating — one meal at a time. For these reasons and more, our campaign has been met with enthusiasm and positivity from virtually everybody we have come into contact with, contrary to what last week’s headline might suggest.
You can take the pledge at StanfordMeatlessMondayPledge.wordpress.com.
David Kay ‘16
President, People for Animal Welfare
Contact David Kay at dkay19 ‘at’ stanford.edu.