I’ve got to hand it to U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa. She is not only looking out for the livestock and poultry producers she represents in Washington, but also the people serving in the military that fight for the freedoms and safety we in the country enjoy.

One freedom I and millions of other Americans enjoy is the freedom to eat meat at any time of the day, any day of the week. Unfortunately, many people in schools and government institutions are being denied that freedom because of the Meatless Monday campaign.

Ernst wants to make sure that our men and women in uniform are not denied the privilege of enjoying meat and poultry.

Sen. Ernst's proposal

I read through the proposed National Defense Authorization Act of 2017, which includes many amendments from a wide array of senators. Ernst added several amendments herself, including this one:


(a) In General.--The Secretary of Defense shall ensure that, on a daily basis, members of the Armed Forces at Department of Defense dining facilities are provided with meat options that meet or exceed the nutritional standards established in the most recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans published under section 301 of the National Nutrition Monitoring and Related Research Act of 1990.

(b) Prohibition.--None of the funds authorized to be appropriated by this Act may be obligated or expended to establish or enforce ``Meatless Monday'' or any other program explicitly designed to reduce the amount of animal protein that members of the Armed Forces voluntarily consume.

This is a good amendment. It makes sense that all men and women in the service should have access to good nutrition that includes protein, as it will better enable them to perform their demanding jobs. It also makes sense that when you consider the sacrifices those in the military make, giving them more options of what to eat is the right thing to do.

If a person wants to adopt a meatless diet on Mondays, I’m fine with that. But to me, Meatless Mondays should be a choice. If you show up at most restaurants on Taco Tuesday, and you want something other than tacos, you can likely get it. If you go to work on Casual Friday wearing a tie, you won’t be made to dress down. Meatless Mondays should be no different. I’m glad Sen. Ernst gets this, and I hope the rest of Congress does as well.