Meatless Monday campaign gains political ground


VEGETARIAN FOOD. Fruits, vegetables and grains provide the best nourishment for the frontal lobe of the brain. Arachidonic acid and large molecules in meat weaken it.

PROPONENTS OF the Meatless Monday (Luntiang Lunes) campaign announced that it was able to get Congress to file the “Meatless Monday Bill” via the committee on environment’s Rep. Teddy Casiño in time for the Nutrition Month of July.

This development was disclosed by neuroscientist Custer C. Deocaris, PhD, a balik scientist and founding chair of Meatless Monday Philippines.

Deocaris said in a statement that Casiño would be scheduled to deliver a privilege speech about Meatless Monday on July 27. The bill will be deliberated on in the Lower House in August.

Running out of time

Deocaris said: “The bill has to be approved by the Senate, the Lower House and the President to be made into law. We are running out of time because of the scheduled national elections in May, and all the legislators will be busy with their own campaigns. To my knowledge, this will be the first piece of legislation in the world to change an entire generation’s dietary habits.”

Three months ago, Deocaris computed that if the 15-million Filipinos who switched off their lights in the 2009 Earth Hour went without meat for just a day, it would be equivalent to 150,412 trees planted and grown for 10 years. That would also have prevented carbon dioxide emissions from 2,489,404 liters of gasoline, or 177,941.57 LPG tanks, kept 1,150 passenger vehicles off the streets for a year, and produced 23.79 carbon emission reduction credits in a day in the Ambuklao dam. Overall, this would have reduced Filipinos’ carbon dioxide production by 5,866,068.516 kg.

Not hostile to human existence

Deocaris said every Filipino going meatless even for just one lunch would reap the benefits of a future Earth that is not hostile to human existence. A separate computation showed one meatless lunch by 97 million Filipinos would have been equivalent to 12,722,851 kg of CO2 saved (if all protein of the average Filipino diet with meat is replaced by soya during this meatless lunch). This would also be equivalent to the amount of CO2 saved from 5,399,241 liters of gasoline.

A meatless lunch would also be equivalent to the amount of CO2 saved when 2,494 cars are taken off the road for one year. It would be equivalent to the CO2 sequestered by 326,227 trees, or the CO2 prevented from being released from 385,935 LPG tanks. It also would have saved 2,365,755 animals from slaughter.

Livestock farming (cattle, pork, poultry, etc.) accounts for the use and pollution of 70 percent of the global freshwater and 38 percent of land-use conversion. In fact, 70 percent of the Amazon Rain Forest has already been cleared for grazing and feed crop production. It takes about 12,000 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of beef, compared with just 850 liters to produce the same weight of wheat.

A recent analysis by Goodland and Anhang, coauthors of “Livestock and Climate Change” in the latest issue of World Watch magazine, found that livestock and their byproducts actually account for at least 32.6-billion tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year, or 51 percent of annual worldwide GHG emissions.

Inquirer Science and Health recently featured two schools—Tarlac State University and Sophia School in Bulacan—which signed memorandums of agreement on Meatless Monday. Sophia School in Meycauayan City decided to offer only vegetables, vegemeat (vegetable fiber made to taste like meat) and fruits in its school canteen every Monday. What was originally planned as just a once-a-week experiment eventually spread out to other schooldays, as well.

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  • farmerpo

    Legislate food preference????  Computation of 97m pinoys eating one meal with meat is mind boggling… Hans Rosling style.. but not all 97m eats meat.. all together,, all at once.. at best, the info proposed is misleading.  refine it please so that it may be believable. 

    • Gabriela Masa

      refine it to what? suit your preference? you can’t compromise health (well unless hograiser ka o di kaya poultry owner or beef business mo ay malulugi). 

      In case you haven’t been objectively observing (and reading scientific journals), countries that are predominantly eating animals have the highest mortality rate in cardiovascular diseases, cancers, etc. countries who are pork/chicken/beef/animal food dependent and cow’s milk drinkers have highest incidences of osteoporosis, alzheimer’s, obesity, diabetes, and other degenerative diseases. 

  • Wilduck

    at ang tanong ko… ano ang parusa pag ang canteen ay nag serve ng meat sa meatless day??? at kung masama ito sa global weather eh bakit monday lang bawal??? i[ag bawal nyo na rin via congressional law ang pag gawa, pag enta and pagkain ng mga junk foods… at bakeeettt monday napili nyo sana friday kasi coordinated na ito sa religion na abstain from meat on fridays… sa muslim countries malaki ang supporta makukuha mo custer sa hindi pagkain ng baboy .. pugot ulo… pero lamb, kambing, cattle naman ang kapalit dun… kung you are promoting eating veggies wala na mang masama dyan .. ang masama na di kita pwede suportahan ay pati kinakain ko pinakikialam mo na….

    • Gabriela Masa

      Wilduck ah saang planeta ka ba nanggaling? again, you can’t compromise health (well unless hog raiser ka o di kaya poultry owner or beef business mo ay malulugi).
       since sarado naman ang utak mo, wag mo nalng obserbahan ang mortality rate ng mga Pinoys na ang number 1 na cause ay cardiovascular diseases (artery inducing food like pork, beef, chicken, duck at iba pang kinakatay). Ako na isang ordinaryong mamamayan ng Pilpinas ay hindi pabigat na tulad mo kasi pinag aaralan ko anong nagiging burden sa kapwa ko pilipino. hindi tayo kumakain ng gulay at puro tayo karne lechon manok baboy. at hayun: atake sa puso at stroke ang numero unong kinakamatay. in case di ka rin nagbabasa, pabata ng pabata  ang namamatay less than 25 years old inaatake na. bukod sa stress, ang pinakamatinding risk factor ay ang pagkain ng hayop. Countries who are pork/chicken/beef/animal food dependent and cow’s milk drinkers have highest incidences of osteoporosis, alzheimer’s, obesity, diabetes, and other degenerative diseases. 

  • Custer Deocaris

    Mr. Francis Josef Andrade


    This is in reaction to your statement regarding that the Philippine’s Meatless Monday initiative could be used to fund NPAs by our supporter from Congress.

    FYI, the local Meatless Monday movement (or Luntiang Lunes) is part of a global health and environmental initiative. I receive no funding for this endeavor. Instead, I have been running this national campaign for more than a year solely on my limited PERSONAL funds.

    Meatless Monday was developed at John Hopkins University as a nutrition campaign against the obesity epidemic in the US. Recent nutrition data revealing the shocking 20% reduction of meat intake among Americans was attributed to the Meatless Monday movement. Its resounding success as an advocacy instrument has made it into a global strategy. As a neuroscientist (I also specialize in molecular and cellular biology), what attracted me is the neuroscience data on how the Monday Campaign influences and helps sustain one’s decisions to lead a healthier life, be it by eating veggies, quitting and staying quit smoking, etc. When we formally launched the initiative last July 25 2011 (next week will be our anniversary!!!), I intended Meatless Monday to address Philippine issues on rising childhood malnutrition and adult obesity, food insecurity amidst our abundant food resource and biodiversity, environmental degradation and climate change, and our dismally low vegetable intake combined with Pinoy-style gluttony for baboy (pork) and “basura food” (junk and fast food).

    Even if you personally find Partylist Rep. Teddy Casino appalling, I hope you will still read and even share to your friends and colleagues this article for its informative value. That way you can support us. This well-written Science/Health article whose title was in the Front Page last weekend (July 14 2012) was made by an award-winning journalist who walks her talk as an environmentalist and vegetarian, Ms. Tessa R. Salazar, of Philippine Daily Inquirer. You may notice the article (and the Luntiang Lunes movement itself) appeals to the intellect, regardless of educational status, especially that our message is to empower people, especially children, to take control of their health even by just forgoing meat for 1 day week and switching to more a nutritious, accessible, Earth-friendly and sustainable diet.

    It was only recent that the Philippine’s Meatless Monday has been noticed by national media, thanks to Rep. Casino and other big time people, like Mayor Bautista, Councilor Daza, etc. Walang nakikinig kasi sa scientist dito sa Pilipinas kaya. Being new to development work, I learned that the grassroots (Bottoms-Up) programs that I used to do (like my “brown rice and indigenous veggie” school feeding programs, office and school seminars, participation in Food Bazaars, etc.) do not work effectively given the limited manpower and funds that I have. Instead, I learned that it would be more practical to adopt a Top-Down strategy by approaching “influential people” and by advocating to them. I only have to spend money with transportation and sometimes merienda. In fact, to communicate with these “powerful people”, thanks to their office assistants and secretaries, I only send emails and I get quick and hassle-free response. I do not send fax or even print letters that are delivered personally to their offices because GASTOS lang yan and I want this to be a PAPER-free advocacy.

    Please be more sympathetic and supportive of civil societies who are doing such sacrifices for the country. THERE ARE NOT MANY OF US DOING THIS, SO SUPORTAHAN MO NA LANG KAMI.

    Mr. Adrade, please kindly visit our pleasantly informative facebook page (Meatless Monday-Philippines) and I would be happy if you press the “LIKE” button. We need to reach more people. Since the start of the Luntiang Lunes campaign, we only have 136 LIKES as of now :(.

    Maraming salamat!


    Custer C. Deocaris, Ph.D.
    DOST Balik Scientist
    Founder, Meatless Monday-Philippines

    • farmerpo

       Sir, I support your dream of a meatless day. But legislating anyone’s food preference is at best whimsical. There is a meatless Friday for Catholics but does anybody care?? It would be more fruitful to drive for the outlawing of is as whimsical, if not more so.. More power, sir.

  • Francis Josef Andrade

    I stopped reading when I saw Casino’s name. This is another project where the funding would be used to arm the NPAs. 

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