by Luke Voogt
A beef has erupted between two local pollies following vegan MP Andy Meddick’s call for Victorian Parliament to observe ‘meat-free Mondays’.
Liberal MP Bev McArthur had a cow over Mr Meddick’s parliamentary motion declaring that Victorians should instead eat more meat.
Ms McArthur flagged introducing her own motion ridiculing her fellow Member for Western Victoria’s plans for parliamentary cafes and dining rooms to go meat-free.
She declared Victorians should support farming communities through ‘lamb Sunday’, ‘beef Monday’, ‘poultry Tuesday’, ‘pork Wednesday’, ‘game Thursday’, ‘fish Friday’ and ‘free-range Saturday’.
“The livestock industry makes a significant contribution to Victoria through job and wealth creation, export revenue and economically supporting regional and rural communities,” she said.
Ms McArthur also pointed out the “unfair treatment” of beef producers in her electorate in a constituency question to Agriculture Minister Jaclyn Symes.
She called on the minister to ensure the future of the beef and dairy industries in Victoria.
“It seems that cows have replaced coal as the evil agents responsible for global warming, climate emergencies and more hot air than this place can ever generate,” she said in parliament.
“For the benefit of all the non-farmers – cows actually add to the productive capacity of pastures, including grain crops, through their natural fertiliser.”
But Mr Meddick said MPs had a responsibility to set an example on climate change when he read his motion to parliament.
“This is a common sense and reasonable measure,” the Animal Justice Party MP said.
“As leaders of the state, members of parliament should be setting an example and acting on climate science before it is too late.”
Mr Meddick’s motion followed a recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report that noted “raising animals for human consumption is a leading cause of the climate emergency.”
The report described plant-based diets as a major opportunity for mitigating and adapting to the climate emergency, he said.
“I’m calling on Parliament House to go meat-free every Monday as a way for my colleagues to collectively combat the climate emergency.
“Indeed, one of the most effective ways to fight climate change is with diet change, but that doesn’t mean missing out.
“The chefs and dining room staff within Parliament House make some fantastic vegan options that I am sure all of my colleagues would enjoy.”
“Clean energy and clean transport alone will simply not be enough to cut global emissions to avoid dangerous warming. We must do more – and it starts with what is on our plates.”