OMAHA, Neb. (AP/KMTV) — Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts is railing against a proclamation by the governor of Colorado that encourages people to avoid meat for one day a week, calling it a "direct attack on our way of life" and signing a pro-meat declaration of his own.
Ricketts surrounded himself with top officials from Nebraska's meat, agricultural, and restaurant industries on Monday as he declared Saturday "Meat on the Menu Day" in Nebraska.
In a news conference, Gov. Rickets said meat is the state's largest industry, which generates $21 billion each year, according to The Associated Press.
Gov. Rickets adding that this was "a direct attack on our way of life here in Nebraska."
The day was chosen to coincide with Colorado's "MeatOut Day," a nonbinding proclamation signed by Gov. Jared Polis late last month and backed by an animal rights group.
"MeatOut Day" was started in 1985 by the Farm Animal Rights Movement and seeks to encourage non-vegetarians to consider a plant-based diet.
In Nebraska, meat is a big deal for they proclaim May as “Beef Month” and sell “Beef State” license plates to motorists, the AP reported.
In a news conference inside a meat shop, Rickets said getting rid of beef "would be undermining our food security."
Advocates also denied the claim that animal agriculture is harmful to the environment.
"Farmers like myself when we hear remarks that people shouldn’t eat meat because it’s harming the environment and impacting the environment, I cringe," said Mark McHargue, President of the Nebraska Farm Bureau.
Cattle farmers say that consuming meat is actually beneficial to the environment.
"We have cattle that can graze. It's because they are a ruminant animal they have four compartments in their stomach that ferments feed. That's the beauty of why cattle are good for the environment. If you like wildlife, cattle support wildlife. If you like minimizing fire, cattle help graze to reduce the chances of fire spreading in places that have fires," said Joan Ruskamp, co-owner of J&S Feedlot.
Ruskamp says it's all about balance and it's important to have both in your diet.
PETA released the following statement in response to Ricketts:
PETA is planning to put up a billboard on the Colorado side of the border with Nebraska warning, “Entering Nebraska, Home of Meathead Governor Ricketts!”—calling out a governor who is so afraid of the vegan future that he created a whole day to celebrate his meat-industry campaign contributors for killing animals, operating filthy slaughterhouses in which workers have been exposed to COVID-19, polluting waterways with factory-farm effluent, and turning a blind eye to meat-related maladies such as heart attacks, cancer, and diabetes.