By Kathryn Kullberg, (’03, B.A. in English)
As an alumna of St. Mary’s, I was excited to learn that the SGA supported a resolution to implement Meatless Mondays.
Why is Meatless Mondays so important? Since graduating from St. Mary’s, I’ve devoted my career to working for animals, helping creatures big and small, from captive to free-roaming wildlife.
Over the years of working to protect animals, I’ve seen the darker side of humanity, capable of extreme cruelty. I’ve also seen the brighter side of humanity, which seeks justice for the most commonly abused animals in our society – animals raised for food. Most animals raised for food in the U.S. come from factory farms, windowless sheds where many of the animals are unable to do some of the most basic things that are important and natural to them, like move freely and flap their wings. Reducing our meat consumption is an easy and simple way to help reduce the suffering of these animals.
Raising over 9 billion land animals for food each year takes an enormous toll on the environment, using up precious resources like fresh water, fossil fuels, and arable land. Environmental Defense Fund said: “If every American skipped one meal of chicken per week and substituted vegetables and grains…the carbon dioxide savings would be the same as taking more than half a million cars off of U.S. roads.”
As we shift from a meat-heavy diet to a more plant-based diet, consuming less cholesterol and saturated fat, and increasing our intake of fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and nuts, our health will improve. That’s why Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and more than 20 other public health institutions also support Meatless Mondays.
Meatless Mondays are a common-sense approach to a number of critical issues facing our nation, addressing head-on environmental conservation, the obesity epidemic, and animal cruelty. I’m proud to see St. Mary’s do its part – let’s support this effort.