San Francisco Approves Meat-Free Mondays

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," April 7, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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LAURA INGRAHAM, GUEST HOST: In the "Back of the Book" segment tonight: The food police are out in force in San Francisco. The board of supervisors, those madcap folks, are unanimously now approving a measure to make Mondays meat-free.

Joining us now from the City by the Bay, Hope Bohanec, who's the campaign director for the group In Defense of Animals. Hope, are you cheering this? Is this a great day for you?

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HOPE BOHANEC, CAMPAIGN DIRECTOR, IN DEFENSE OF ANIMALS: Absolutely. We're very excited and very proud of the board of supervisors. We want to thank them for being forward-thinking and choosing to embrace and support a compassionate, environmental and healthy diet.

INGRAHAM: Now, let's talk about the point of all of this, because a lot of folks are watching across the United States, and they're kind of thinking, "Well, this is San Francisco. This is the same board of supervisors that actually proposed a measure that would have decriminalized prostitution, that told the Battleship Iowa it couldn't have a place in its waterfront museum, gave a hassle to the junior ROTC and military recruiters." So most people across the country are like, "This is typical San Francisco." What do you actually think is going to be achieved with meatless Monday?

BOHANEC: Well, you know, we really need to start looking to our diet for some of our environmental problems, our health problems. More and more people, there's an awareness around food issues and our food systems and just how bad it's gotten. And there's more awareness growing. People are wanting to eat more local, more organic, more plant-based. And if you look at vegetarian diets, they really are the green superstars.

There was a wonderful study by the Journal of Environmental Science and Technology that found that eating just two meals a week vegetarian would do more ecologically for your environmental impact than buying all locally sourced food. So, you know, and if we look to San Francisco, San Francisco's impact could be incredible. If everyone adopted a meat-free diet just on Mondays, it would be the equivalent of taking 123,000 cars off the streets of San Francisco for the year. So we could really have some positive change.

INGRAHAM: I have no problem with eating vegetarian. I think whatever you want to do, that's fine with me. I think it's kind of loopy for a local government agency to kind of put down this edict about, OK, we're going to encourage everyone not to eat meat on Mondays when California is facing an incredibly catastrophic budgetary situation where we have state employees being threatened every other week, it would seem, with not getting their paychecks, where contractors are getting IOUs instead of getting their money. And we're like wrapping ourselves around, well, the — you know, this is sustainable living. I just think it sounds a little bit elitist, and it sound a little bit out-of-sync with the way regular people live. A lot of people like to eat mac and cheese from a box. They like a burger, you know, a couple of times a week. And guess what? They live to 85. I just think it's all imbalanced, and I think it gets a little — it starts to get a little loopy. And by the way, do you know the new study out about methane gas and cows and that whole thing has been miscalculated? So there's a — Washington Times had a great piece about that, which you should probably check out.

BOHANEC: Well, to go back to your earlier point, Supervisor Maxwell, who sponsored this wonderful resolution, said, you know, we can do multiple things. We don't have to only focus on one thing, and this is really going to be beneficial in so many ways. If we look at the health aspects, I mean, just — you know, we always hear eat more fruits and veggies, more fruits and veggies. The American Dietetic Association, the American Cancer Society, they all say eat more fruits and veggies. We have a childhood obesity epidemic in this country.

INGRAHAM: Is that because of a burger every now and then, or is that because — is that because of processed food and super sizing drinks, or is that because of, you know, having some meat? Again, what is the role of government?

BOHANEC: Having meats in the diet...


BOHANEC: We're just asking for more...

INGRAHAM: No, no, no. I look forward to the day that the board of supervisors lays down the edict about no leather shoes or leather belts. Then I'll think they're really committed to this cause, OK? Everybody has to wear plastic. That would be really cool. No leather seats, belts, shoes, and frankly, you can't have any of that. And that would be fun.

Hey, we appreciate it. Appreciate your joining us, Ms. Bohanec. Thank you very much. I'm going to go have a cheeseburger after this.

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