Are Meat-Free Mondays Killing the Vegan Movement?

(Featured Photo: a small example of some of the wonderful, meat-free meals you can make!)

Do you know what springs into most people’s minds when they hear the expression ‘Meat-Free Monday’? They think of healthy eating, weight-loss, perhaps they even feel compassionate, as for one day of the week there is an animal out there whose life is spared. Perhaps cutting the steaks out of their diet for one meal a week means they can justify doing ‘their part’ for the environment, even though they probably still choose to drive their car to work rather than investing in a bicycle.

As you can probably tell by my tone, I don’t think too favorably of fads such as Meat-Free Mondays. So, what springs into my mind when I hear this expression? First and foremost, I think these people are selfish. I’m sorry, but what gives someone the right to pick and choose which days they eat their slaughtered carcasses that they buy from the supermarkets? And if you really think that one day of eating meat-free is going to aid your weightloss, well, that’s just delusional thinking because you don’t want to accept the facts.

Am I being harsh? Well, some people would accuse me of this, but the point of this article is for me to explain to you why Meat-Free Mondays from a vegan’s perspective is just ludicrous. Please read my opinions with an open mind, but feel free to leave me your own thoughts in the comments.

  • Meat-Free Mondays take no consideration for the dairy or egg industry. Every vegan knows that dairy and eggs contribute to just as much pain and suffering as the meat industry does. By cutting out meat, but not considering other animal products, you’re not really helping to reduce suffering. Sorry.
  • ‘Pledging’ to not eat meat one day a week carries the same absurdity as ‘pledging’ to not murder your neighbours once a week. Oh, he only murders sometimes, so it’s all OK. It’s good for his health. Hmm, what? If I murdered once a week, I’d get sent to prison, so why is it not the same when it comes to animals?
  • If you’re doing Meat-Free Monday for health reasons, I’m sorry, but you’re not improving your health. Losing weight/getting healthy is a lifestyle commitment, not something you do to cleanse your colon after eating McDonald’s all weekend. Yes, a plant-based diet has been shown to reverse diabetes (check out Dr Neal Barnard for more on this), and generally reduce huge health problems in people, but you need to commit to it all the time, not just once a week!
  • Meat-Free Monday confuses the meaning and compassion behind living as a vegan. The same can be applied to when vegan businesses promote ‘cage-free’ eggs or ‘sustainable’ fishing (NEWSFLASH: ‘sustainable’ fishing isn’t sustainable!). The definition of veganism is:  ‘A way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose‘. If vegans are encouraging diets such as Meat-Free Mondays, then we’re confusing the very thing vegans stand for, as we’re promoting cruelty.
  • A common argument I hear about Meat-Free Monday’s and vegetarianism etc is “but I’m using it as a stepping stone into veganism!” Well, of course, as a temporary shift, that is okay. After a lifetime of believing  that meat eating is healthy and okay, there’s no surprise that some people take a while to adjust. But it’s all about how vegans react to this. While we shouldn’t criticise those who are transitioning to veganism, we shouldn’t praise people for following a Meat-Free Monday type diet, either. This will make people complacent and less likely to continue to strive towards veganism. Instead, as vegans we should encourage and promote veganism as the only option – that way, our goals and ethics are clear and there’s no misinformation being spread about the movement.

I didn’t want to make this post too long but before I open up the floor for your questions and opinions, I would like to explore some reasons as to why people participate in Meat-Free Mondays, and explain why veganism is the superior lifestyle every time.

  1. You do Meat-Free Mondays for your health. So, meat is unhealthy? Why are you only going meat-free once a week, then? For the sake of your health, why aren’t you meat-free all the time? A varied, whole foods, plant-based diet is one of the healthiest ways of eating out there… if health is your concern, a vegan lifestyle wins.
  2. You do Meat-Free Mondays because you hate the thought of industries like factory farming. So, you’re thinking of the animals? I’m sure they’ll be delighted to know that you’re able to refrain from eating them one day out of seven. If you really cared about animals, you’d go vegan.
  3. You do Meat-Free Mondays to save money. Yes, it’s a well known fact that meat is expensive, and many families nowadays struggle to afford to buy good-quality meat for every night of the week. But going vegan will save you even more money. Check out my post on how to be vegan on a budget.
  4. You do Meat-Free Mondays because you care about the environment. Yes, every little helps, but participating in meat-free Mondays is similar to trying to use less water when showering, in my opinion. It barely scratches the surface. To be a real environmentalist, to make real changes, you’d go vegan. A diet containing meat requires 18x more land than a vegan diet to feed one person for a year. A vegan requires 1/6th of an acre to grow the food they would need for a year. A diet containing meat requires 18 times more land. With 7 billion people on this planet, that’s not sustainable.

That’s all I’m going to be saying on the subject … I admit, my opinions on this are quite strong and obviously biased in favour of going vegan, but Meat-Free Mondays really are just another fad to make people feel like they’re doing good. As vegans we should not be judging people, but instead we should be providing encouragment and information to show people that a vegan lifestyle is really the only way to live.

What are your thoughts? Do you agree with the points I make or do you think I’m being too harsh? Let me know in the comments. Don’t forget to share this page and subscribe to the website for new content. You can also find me on YoutubeTwitter,Instagram, Google + and Tumblr for even more!

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