Mr. Smith Goes to Vegetarianism: Politicians Go Veg

Today’s the last day of VegWeek (April 24-30) in Maryland, an event encouraging people to eat vegetarian.  Compassion Over Killing, a nonprofit working to end animal abuse and promote veganism, organized the festivities, which include cooking classes, food sampling, movie nights and discounts at local restaurants.  But you don’t have to be in the DC/Maryland area to participate.  If you sign up here, you’ll receive a starter kit with recipes, nutritional information and coupons.

As reported on Ecorazzi (one of my fave websites!), five elected officials, Congresswoman Donna Edwards (D-MD), State Senator Jamie Raskin (D-MD-20), State Senator David Harrington (D-MD-47), State Delegate Tom Hucker (D-20), and Montgomery County Councilmember Valerie Ervin, participated in the week-long celebration.

With all the bad behavior many politicians receive notoriety for, it’s refreshing to hear about elected officials striving to make a positive difference.  Councilmember Valerie Ervin stated in a press release,

“I believe that we have to model the behavior that we want to promote, especially when we are dealing with issues related to healthy lifestyles, animal welfare and environmental stewardship…”

Our food choices matter; we as consumers wield an enormous amount of power.  So reducing the amount of meat you eat, even for a day or a week, impacts your health, the food industry, animals and the environment in a beneficial way.  In his book Eating Animals, which I reviewed for Open Letters Monthly, Jonathan Safran Foer writes,

“In terms of our effect on the “animal world” – whether it’s the suffering of animals or issues of biodiversity and the interdependence of species that evolution spent millions of years bringing into this livable balance – nothing comes close to having the impact of our dietary choices…It’s an empowering idea. The entire goliath of the food industry is ultimately driven and determined by the choices we make as the waiter gets impatient for our order or in the practicalities and whimsies of what we load into our shopping carts or farmers’ market bags.”

Now you all know my love of Meat-Free Mondays.  So a week to celebrate the wonders of living veg delights me even more!  And be sure to mark your calendars for World Vegetarian Week next month (May 19-25).  Viva veg!

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