DENVER — Gov. Jared Polis's announcement of March 20 as MeatOut Day has sparked a beefy debate across the state.
On Tuesday, El Paso County became the 26th county to proclaim the same day as Meat In Day.
"I think what really punched our producers and livestock producers throughout the state is that this proclamation was excluding a product when most proclamations are celebrating a product," said Erin Karney, the industry advancement director at the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association. "I think that's really why producers throughout the state reacted the way they did."
Nebraska's governor added his name to those in opposition, creating a statewide Meat on the Menu Day during a press conference on Tuesday. He said the Colorado proclamation "is a direct attack on our way of life here in Nebraska."
Environmental groups have praised the Colorado proclamation, saying meat has a negative impact on climate and health, and is harmful to animals.
"We don't think one day a week is too much of a sacrifice for anybody," said Roland Halpern, the executive director of Colorado Voters for Animals.
He says his organization has not taken a stance on the governor's proclamation, but that meat can "lead to cardiovascular problems and other things if there's a lot of consumption."
On Feb. 25, a spokesperson for the governor released the following statement regarding the MeatOut Day proclamation:
"The Governor’s office gets hundreds of requests for proclamations throughout the year and rarely declines these non-binding ceremonial proclamations that get auto penned by the Governor. For example, the Governor has issued proclamations for Agriculture day, Colorado Farm Bureau Day, and Truck Driver Appreciation Day. Typical proclamations throughout the year highlight industries, medical conditions, organizations, retirements, and birthdays, etc. Furthermore, we have issued 2 proclamations for Colorado Farmer’s week (lauding farmers markets, fruits and vegetables), 3 for Colorado Ag Day, 2 for Colorado Proud School Meal Day, 2 for Colorado Proud, 1 for CSU Ag day, 1 for MeatOut Day, 1 for Colorado Farm Bureau Day, Rocky Ford Cantaloupe Day, Breakfast Burrito Day, Bat Awareness Week, Sesame Street Day, Car Wash Day, and many others."