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Published March 17, 2010, 08:33 AM

A no-meat day? Michigan farmers have a cow

Michigan hunters and meat producers had a collective cow Tuesday at the news Gov. Jennifer Granholm had issued an official proclamation declaring Saturday "Michigan Meatout Day."

By: Dawson Bell, Detroit Free Press

Michigan hunters and meat producers had a collective cow Tuesday at the news Gov. Jennifer Granholm had issued an official proclamation declaring Saturday "Michigan Meatout Day."

The proclamation was labeled "unconscionable and insensitive to livestock and dairy farmers by the Michigan Farm Bureau.

"It's inconceivable to us that the governor could stoop to this level of telling people what they should and shouldn't eat based on the philosophies of 'food elitists,' " said Farm Bureau President Wayne Wood.

Michigan United Conservation Clubs posted an image of the proclamation on its Facebook page, quickly eliciting a call from members to observe Meatout Day by having a massive barbecue on the Capitol lawn.

Granholm's proclamation, issued at the urging of vegetarian activists, cited the benefits of a plant-based diet and the increasing availability of alternatives to meat and dairy products for vegans and vegetarians. Following a series of "whereases," Granholm encourages "the residents of this state to choose not to eat meat" on Saturday.

Spokeswoman Liz Boyd tried to restore calm this evening by saying the governor herself is not a vegetarian and is as likely to eat meat on Saturday as any other day (maybe a little more likely if her family ends up in front of the television watching NCAA basketball).

"We did not see the proclamation as belittling" to farmers, hunters or meat-eaters, Boyd said.

Nonetheless, Boyd said the Department of Agriculture is working on a companion resolution to also make Saturday a celebration of all-purpose agriculture, including the kind celebrated by carnivores.

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