TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Kansas Senator Roger Marshall is teaming up with Iowa Senator Joni Ernst to prevent a war on meat.
“Very simply if there’s less beef consumed, it’s going to impact the economy of Kansas,” Marshall said.
The senators point to a newsletter from 2012 that U.S. Department of Agriculture workers can participate in abstaining from meat one day a week.
This bill would prevent federal agencies from banning meat in their dining halls. But not everyone sees a need for it.
“I don’t think there is a war of meat. I think there is an increased understanding of how our food impacts the environment and our health,” said Zack Pistora, a lobbyist for the Kansas Sierra Club.
The push behind the idea stems from 10 percent of greenhouse gas emissions coming from agriculture.
Pistora said people should have the personal liberty to choose what they eat, but also pointed to how large livestock facilities can negatively affect water, the atmosphere, and treatment of animals.
“We can’t ignore the impact that a lot of our industrial agriculture has,” Pistora said. “There’s ways we can do it better and we should be having those discussions.”
He said more people are looking for new food options, and farmers will adapt if they see it will benefit them.
“They understand that consumers are demanding a healthier product, better for the environment and the ecosystems, and just ways they can make all those things work for both themselves as farmers, but also their communities,” Pistora said.
Marshall said the effort isn’t contained to Washington. Last month Colorado made March 20 “MeatOut Day.”
“There’s a very active food police group up here. They want us to stop serving meat on Mondays. They’re trying to make that a national thing. They, whoever this swamp is up here, that thinks they should be deciding whether we should wear masks or not, and what types of food we should be eating,” Marshall said.
He also talked about the importance of having meat to keep a well-balanced diet.
“I think anything I can do to protect the agriculture industry in Kansas is important. I think anything that we can do to protect the health of Kansans is important as well, and I think that a good protein source is important to their health,” Marshall said.
He said going meatless would have wide-ranging effects on many sectors of the industry including grain farmers and meat processors.