DENVER -- Saturday was officially MeatOut Day in Colorado, thanks to a proclamation signed by Gov. Jared Polis.
The day, named after a movement that began in 1985, is meant to promote plant-based diets. Polis writes they're better for our health and the environment.
But the proclamation didn't sit well with cattle ranchers and farmers who feel the governor isn't being fair.
"A lot of these farmers and ranchers took offense to this on what we do, where it feels like we're being [demonized] sometimes through the media, through agriculture," Andrew Timmerman, a rancher from Sterling, said.
He helped organize an unofficial "Meat In" event in protest of the governor's proclamation at Civic Center Park in Denver Saturday.
With the help of about a dozen food trucks, Timmerman says he planned to hand out 1,250 meals to the homeless and those impacted by the pandemic. The park is directly across the State Capitol.
"We want to come out here to Denver and show people who we are, what we're about, and, you know, let everybody know that we exist. We're real people," Timmerman said.
Sam Maher, general manager of vegan restaurant Somebody People on South Broadway, understands what the governor was trying to do.
"I think it's a really good concept to try and get people to kind of think about what they're eating," he said. "I think that people need to put more color into their food and kind of create a better life for themselves."
However, he agrees we should keep politics out of food, and people should eat what they prefer to eat.
"If it's Meat In Day or MeatOut, I think the best thing is for everyone to look after the soils and do proper farming and try and keep the chemicals out of the soils as much as possible," Maher said.
In response to criticism about the proclamation, Gov. Polis' spokesperson said the governor “gets hundreds of requests for proclamations throughout the year and rarely declines these non-binding ceremonial proclamations that get auto penned by the Governor.”
Monday is Colorado Livestock Proud Day, which celebrates cattle ranchers and farmers who help produce some of the state's meat.
"I think instead of having all these different days," Timmerman said, "let the consumer choose and let everybody have free choice."