National Beef Burger Day Is a Shame

Friday, May 28 is National Beef Burger Day. We’re supposed to use the hashtag #BeefBurgerBrag and tag @BeefItsWhatsForDinner on Facebook when adding our burger photos to this marketing frenzy. “Americans love burgers and there’s no substitute for a real beef burger sizzling on the grill,” says the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. Looks like Epicurious will not be playing along. The cooking site recently banned beef pictures because farming ruminant animals, especially cows, is sizzling the planet.

The “Cattlemen” (what century is this?) say more than 95% of people are consuming beef. For 70% of people, that consumption goes on every week. Valerie McGowan, past director of the Vegan Society of Humboldt asks: “If that’s the case, why do they need a burger day? Isn’t that like having National Straight People’s Day?”

And Another Thing…

If you think this absurdity is done after Memorial Day weekend, think again. In 1984, Ronald Reagan set out to pump the dairy industry by dubbing July National Ice Cream Month (now #NationalIceCreamMonth, of course). Reagan’s proclamation urged everyone in the United States to observe these events with “appropriate ceremonies and activities.”


Ice Cream

Get the pulp of 2 large, ripe avocados. It should be creamy and soft, green and not speckled. Put it in a high-speed blender with ¼ cup fair trade cocoa powder; ⅔ cup oat milk; ½ teaspoon vanilla extract; and ¼ cup minced dates. Blend up to 1 minute, until the dates are integrated into a creamy mix. Scoop into a bowl, dust the top with a few pinches of cocoa powder, and freeze. Test the ice cream’s consistency after 4+ hours in the freezer. Serve and enjoy.

Perhaps the most appropriate activity is to bypass the ice cream aisle and have a homemade, avocado-based ice cream. I include a simple recipe you might like to try and tweak to your taste.

USDA, Get a Hold of Yourself

At the moment, our federal agribusiness department is trumpeting National Beef Month. It’s introducing a dashboard “for making business, marketing and production decisions” on beef, lamb and veal.

Shouldn’t the USDA be urging the end of production? Consider that earlier this month, Joe Biden was in Michigan driving Ford’s new F-150 Lightning electric pickup truck, preparing the populace to get over the internal combustion engine ASAP. Meanwhile, how long will the USDA tout animal products that contribute heavily to climate crisis (and mess up our health)?

Where’s the Buef?

We can find plenty of drippy hamburger histories on burger sellers’ websites. But to really know history, we’d trace the word beef to the Old French buef, meaning ox. Oxen and cows had free-living ancestors: the formidable aurochs. Living in their natural habitat on Earth was their birthright.

Humans developed breeding technologies so we could fence them, brand them, round them up, kill them, and make their flesh into burgers. Not content to breed them into submission, we killed off the last of their free-living ancestors in the 1600s. There’s a #BeefBurgerBrag for you.

In this grotesque marketing extravaganza called National Beef Month, remember the evolution they could have had on their planet, had we let them be.

Then maybe enjoy a vegan burger and donate to an animal refuge.

Lee Hall holds an LL.M. in environmental law with a focus on climate change, and has taught law as an adjunct at Rutgers–Newark and at Widener–Delaware Law. Lee is an author, public speaker, and creator of the Studio for the Art of Animal Liberation on Patreon.