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It's "Meatless Monday" - Even in Texas

June 27, 2011

AUSTIN, Texas - "Meatless Mondays" have been around for several years. The idea is catching on - even in barbecue-loving southern states. Student organizations from UT to A&M are promoting the cause around their campuses, as more and more commercial establishments are regularly offering vegetarian options. The goal of the "Meatless Monday" national campaign is a 15 percent reduction in meat consumption.

Erica Meier is executive director of Compassion Over Killing, a Washington, D.C.-based group. She says people are increasingly open to expanding their diet.

"We're exposing people to these options. Letting them know they're available. They want to make the right choice when they realize that vegetarian foods are better for their health, it's better for animals and it's better for the environment."

Compassion Over Killing works to shed light on what the organization considers cruelty to animals raised for food, while promoting healthy eating.

Meier and her group regularly work with restaurant chains to help them develop more vegetarian options. Currently, they are campaigning for the Subway chain to offer a meatless deli slice. Other restaurant chains in Texas are already offering vegetarian options, including Chipotle Grill and Moe's Southwest Grill, she says.

Seeing alternatives on the menu is key, Meier explains.

"Having these options on the menu increases the chances that a consumer's going to be interested in trying these. It makes it easier for people to make these choices, and it makes it easier for them to explore new foods."

Studies indicate that reducing meat intake can improve health, she says, including limiting cancer risk and curbing obesity.

Peter Malof, Public News Service - TX