Meat war: Nebraska declares pro-meat day to rival Colorado's meatless day

Nebraska governor Pete Ricketts (left) says Colorado's action was a "direct attack on our way of life".
Nebraska governor Pete Ricketts (left) says Colorado's action was a "direct attack on our way of life". Photo credit: Facebook @Governor Pete Ricketts / Getty

The US state of Nebraska has declared a pro-meat day as a fierce rebuttal after neighbouring state Colorado launched a campaign to encourage less meat consumption.

Nebraska announced their 'Meat on the Menu Day' on March 20 - the same day as Colorado's 'MeatOut Day'.

Nebraska governor Pete Ricketts said Colorado's action was a "direct attack on our way of life" and wants to highlight the importance of meat in a healthy diet.

"Agriculture is Nebraska's number one industry and beef is our largest segment of production," Governor Ricketts said in a statement on Monday.

"While meat is one of the most nutrient-dense foods you can eat, there are radical anti-agricultural activists that are working to end meat production and our way of life here in Nebraska."

"If you were to get rid of beef in our country, you would be undermining our food security, an important part of a healthy diet, and also destroying an industry here in our state that's very important."

In Nebraska, one in four jobs are supported by agriculture, and its industry generates about US$12 billion a year, according to its Department of Agriculture's director Steve Wellman.

But Colorado's governor Jared Polis claims a meat-free diet reduces the risk of various ailments, "including heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, various cancers, and diabetes".

"A plant-based diet helps protect the environment by reducing our carbon footprint, preserving forests, grasslands and wildlife habits, and reduces pollution of waterways," Polis said in a statement.

'MeatOut Day' was started in 1985 by the Farm Animal Rights Movement to encourage non-vegetarians to consider the health benefits of eating a plant-based diet.

But even Colorado citizens are campaigning against Polis' decision.

Encouraging citizens not to eat any meat products is "harmful and falsely critical of agriculture and meat production," Colorado Cattlemen's Association (CCA) wrote in a statement.

"We are supporting a 'Meat In' movement instead. Meet in a restaurant and order your favourite meat dish, meet your family and friends for a meal featuring meat. Let's focus on keeping meat in and on the breakfast, lunch, and dinner table!"