By Aaron Blevins, 11/15/2012
The Los Angeles City Council has joined the international “Meatless Mondays” initiative to raise awareness about health and environmental issues, but some local meat retailers and restaurants feel the council has bitten off more than it can chew.
The resolution was proposed by City Councilwoman Jan Perry, 9th District, who was approached by Compassion Over Killing, an animal advocacy organization with an office in Los Angeles. It calls for Los Angeles residents to skip meat during their Monday meals.
“If we can just teach Americans about how to take control over their own health issues, a simple act like eliminating meat from your diet can have a very direct and quantifiable effect on your health in a positive way,” Perry said.
She said meat can affect one’s heart health, lead to diabetes and exacerbate the childhood obesity problem. Perry, who rarely eats meat, said the resolution aims to educate residents on how to control their own destinies.
“It’s basically a very positive resolution to encourage and support the efforts of [Compassion Over Killing],” she added.
Lou DeRosa, the owner of Marconda’s Meats & Puritan Poultry at the Farmers Market, took offense to the resolution, saying that his business offers food items that are more beneficial to people than foods that weren’t targeted.
“My Piedmontese beef is lower in fat and cholesterol than chicken, so they have to get their facts right before they start telling us what to do,” he said. “I really don’t like the government telling me what to do anyway. That’s ridiculousness. What kind of society have we become?”
DeRosa said he wasn’t bothered by the fact that the resolution had the potential to affect his business. He said it is not the city’s business whether he decides to eat meat on a given day.
“I think it should be maybe don’t eat wheat on Mondays, rather than don’t eat meat on Mondays,” DeRosa said. “I think they spelled it wrong. It’s just a little typo.”
He said he has managed to keep his waistline in check despite incorporating meat into his diet. DeRosa said he eats gluten-free.
“If I’d just quit that wheat beer on Saturday nights, I’d be fine,” he added.
An employee at M Grill was not pleased about the resolution either.
“Of course, this is going to bug me. So, I’m going to call my city councilman and [complain] about that,” he said before abruptly hanging up.
Perry said she hadn’t spoken to any meat retailers or restaurants, but felt the resolution and the initiative would be good for the city. She said the country’s meat consumption affects air quality, drains resources and raises health and environmental concerns.
“It’s labor intensive, and it has air quality impacts,” Perry said.
She said she hasn’t received much feedback about the resolution, aside from media inquiries. Perry said that it elevates the conversation about public health.
“I think that we have the opportunity to embrace ideals and initiatives and concepts that, through community awareness and education, might help people,” she added. “I don’t see anything wrong with that. …Take control over your health.”