Colorado ranchers already had beef with Jared Polis. Then came “MeatOut Day.”
Colorado is the only state to proclaim a day of no meat-eating, further exposing the urban-rural divide and food as the new culture war.
LIMON — When Kelsey Pope watches her kids doing after-school chores, scattering hay for some of the 1,200 head of Red Angus cattle on their high plains farm, a beef-bashing proclamation from a governor 70 miles away doesn’t feel like a distant nuisance.
Colorado’s official embrace of “MeatOut Day” on March 20 feels like a personal attack.
“This is not the first time I would say that he has stepped on agriculture,” Pope said of the governor. Her family has raised beef cattle on River Bend Ranch for 40 years. Colorado cattle ranchers were already mad at the governor.
“We’re just kind of tired of it,” she said. “And we want to say, ‘Hey, this is who we are. This is what we do.’”
The classic farmer-townie clash, coming in a cancel-culture era when America is taking sides on everything from food to celebrities to Dr. Seuss books, is another sign rural folks feel not just ignored but assaulted by urbanites. And it draws a dividing line between celebrating one kind of food versus trashing another.
“It almost feels like food has become a front line for the politicization of deeper issues,” said Dawn Thilmany McFadden, a professor of agriculture and resource economics at Colorado State University and co-director of CSU’s Regional Economic Development Institute. “Everything that’s feeling polarized about the world is now emanating through food values and food discussions.”
The backlash against “MeatOut Day” was instant, fierce, and viral. And it hasn’t subsided.
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