New York City’s plan to slash meat consumption and phase out processed meats like hot dogs in city facilities has angered many in the beef industry.
“We think that the mayor’s attempt, while maybe having the best intentions, is pretty misguided to single out beef as something that can have a significant impact,” Jennifer Houston, president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association told CNBC.
“Lately, we’ve been the flavor of the month to combat the environment, and people are not really looking into the true facts of it.”
Last month, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced plans to slash the city’s beef consumption in half, as well as phase out processed meat in city-run facilities like schools, hospitals and prisons, in what is considered New York City’s Green New Deal.
In addition, the city’s schools will participate in Meatless Mondays, whereby only vegetarian meals are served to students across all five boroughs each Monday, in an effort to reduce the city’s carbon footprint.
“The mayor has missed the point on the purpose of these lunches, and that’s a nutritious meal for the people,” said Zachary Yanta, a farmer and rancher in south-central Texas.
New York City’s Green New Deal is part of the city’s plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.
At 18%, animal agriculture is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than all planes, trains, ships and cars in use today combined, which account for 13%.
While de Blasio has faced criticism from those in the meat industry who insist cutting out meat does little for the environment, he argues that reducing meat consumption is beneficial.
“Cutting back on meat a little will improve New Yorkers’ health and reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.