Red meat politics: GOP turns culture war into a food fight

(John P. Wise)
Updated: May. 7, 2021 at 5:35 PM CDT
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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Republicans are increasingly using food — especially beef — as a cudgel in the culture war. In statements, tweets, and fundraising emails, prominent GOP governors and senators have accused climate-minded Democrats of trying to push Americans to eat less red meat.

Conservatives have accused President Joe Biden of planning to ration red meat. The news was wrong, but the food fight is likely to continue as food choices become a way of signaling partisan politics.

Already, in farm states, meat-eating has joined abortion, gun control, and transgender rights as an issue that quickly sends partisans to their corners.

Both Nebraska and Iowa governors promoted meat-eating in March. Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts declared March 20 “Meat on the Menu Day” to coincide with Colorado Gov. Jared Polis’ declaration of “MeatOut Day” on the same day. In Iowa, Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a declaration — on March 19 — to declare all of April “Meat on the Table Month.”

Ricketts also endorsed a “beef passport” program Wednesday while criticizing “radical environmentalists” — and Bill Gates — for promoting alternatives, for arguing that the global meat production system isn’t sustainable.

WATCH NOW as Gov. Ricketts proclaims Beef Month

Posted by Governor Pete Ricketts on Wednesday, May 5, 2021

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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