Harvard Meat Less Initiative
Dear Harvard University Hospitality and Dining Services:
As Harvard students committed to caring for the environment and America’s communities, we deeply appreciate your efforts to create a more sustainable and thoughtful dining hall environment for us, and the general commitment to local, environmentally responsible cuisine you have demonstrated in the past few years. However, we feel that this admirable commitment is undermined by the amount of meat served in the dining hall- to wit, three meals a day, seven days a week.
As many prominent scholars, scientists and policy-makers—including Lord Nicholas Stern, Michael Pollan, Jonathan Safran Foer and many more—have recently stated, animal agriculture is one of the most environmentally irresponsible industries in contemporary America—not to mention the considerable ethical issues and health hazards caused by factory farming methods. Food, in the heavily industrialized agribusiness climate of America, is a complicated affair, involving a long chain of production that leads from the farm to the factory—and we believe that it’s important for our eating to be as ethical as we strive for our other actions to be.
While we recognize the impossibility of “opting out” of the dominant industrial agricultural system on the scale that HUHDS requires, as well as the importance of meat to many Harvard students, we are asking HUHDS not to go meatless—but to go meat less. This means opting out of serving meat entrees for at least one meal a week, in the way that fits best with menu plans already in place. We believe that opting out of meat for a small portion of our meals will result in a significant change in the environmental impact of our eating—and provide an important fiscal measure for our cash-strapped university.