The Meatless Monday campaign, a public relations effort to get Americans to consume meat-free dishes on Mondays, is misrepresenting the number of organizations that have signed on to participate in the program, the Animal Ag Alliance says.
The Alliance called the campaign "dishonest," citing its investigation of schools, restaurants, hospitals and colleges that remain listed as participants in the campaign but, according to the Alliance, have not participated or no longer participate.
Specifically, the Alliance surveyed 56 kindergarten through twelfth grade schools listed as participating, finding that more than 64.2% of the schools are no longer involved or never participated in the program. The group also found that out of the 155 colleges or universities listed as participating, more than 43.2% no longer participate or never participated.
Additionally, 57% of the school districts listed as participating never did or don't participate any longer.
The Meatless Monday campaign also cites an assortment of restaurants and food service providers among their participants, but more than 35% and 47%, respectively, no longer participate in the program, the Alliance said.
"These results are truly astounding. When we started the project, we didn't expect nearly as many organizations to not actually be participating in the program," said Alliance President and CEO Kay Johnson Smith. "The Meatless Monday campaign tries to promote a reduction in meat, milk and egg consumption as trendy, but clearly it hasn't taken off as strongly as they'd hoped."
In an emailed statement regarding the Alliance's claims, the Meatless Monday campaign said they learn of most participants "because they reach out to us for information and resources, and many ask that they be listed on our website.
"While we focus on supporting these groups to achieve their own goals and invite them to stay in touch, we don't monitor their ongoing participation," the statement concluded.
The Meatless Monday group calls the initiative a movement to "promote the idea of going meatless for their health and the health of our planet."
The Alliance's review of participating groups coincides with the Meatless Monday campaign's 10th Anniversary celebration.