LANSING, Mich. (Free Press) -- Michigan hunters and meat producers had a collective cow today at the news Gov. Jennifer Granholm had issued an official proclamation declaring Saturday "Michigan Meatout Day."
(You can read the proclamation below)
The proclamation was labeled "unconscionable and insensitive to livestock and dairy farmers by the Michigan Farm Bureau.
"It's inconceivable to us that the governor could stoop to this level of telling people what they should and shouldn't eat based on the philosophies of 'food elitists,' " said Farm Bureau President Wayne Wood.
Michigan United Conservation Clubs posted an image of the proclamation on its Facebook page, quickly eliciting a call from members to observe Meatout Day by having a massive barbecue on the Capitol lawn.
Granholm's proclamation, issued at the urging of vegetarian activists, cited the benefits of a plant-based diet and the increasing availability of alternatives to meat and dairy products for vegans and vegetarians. Following a series of "whereases," Granholm encourages "the residents of this state to choose not to eat meat" on Saturday.
Spokeswoman Liz Boyd tried to restore calm this evening by saying the governor herself is not a vegetarian and is as likely to eat meat on Saturday as any other day (maybe a little more likely if her family ends up in front of the television watching NCAA basketball).
"We did not see the proclamation as belittling" to famers, hunters or meat-eaters, Boyd said.
Nonetheless, Boyd said the Department of Agriculture is working on a companion resolution to also make Saturday a celebration of all-purpose agriculture, including the kind celebrated by carnivores.
'Michigan Meatout Day' proclamation
Whereas, A wholesome diet of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains promotes good health and reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and other chronic diseases, which take the lives of approximately 1.3 million Americans each year; and,
Whereas, The number of those who choose to live the lifestyle of a vegan or vegetarian has increased and so has the availability and selection of meat and dairy alternatives in mainstream grocery stores, restaurants, and catering operations; and,
Whereas, Reducing the consumption of meat or not eating meat at all can significantly decrease the exposure to infectious pathogens such as salmonella, E. coli, and campylobacter, which take the lives of several thousand Americans and sicken millions more each year; and,
Whereas, The benefits of a plant-based diet can consist of increased energy levels, lower food budget costs, and simplified food preparation and cleanup; and,
Whereas, It is encouraged that the residents of this state get into the habit of healthy living by consuming a diet that is rich with vegetables, fruit, and whole grains, and by staying active;
Now, Therefore, be it Resolved, That I, Jennifer M. Granholm, governor of the state of Michigan, do hereby proclaim March 20, 2010, Michigan Meatout Day in Michigan. In observance of this day, I encourage the residents of this state to choose not to eat meat. Eating a healthy diet can be fun. Explore the different recipes that can be created by using fresh ingredients and by having a sense of adventure.
By Dawson Bell, Detroit Free Press Lansing Bureau