I came across your article and thought it made some good points. From my work as a World Bank Group environmental specialist, I also have some other comments that I suppose you may find useful.
The article begins by mentioning veganism, then less meat, then settles on Meatless Mondays and references an environmental rationale provided by Oxfam, said to report that "Methane produced by livestock is responsible for 18 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions."
But that report suggests that only urban households consider just one meat-free meal per week, stating: "Methane and nitrous oxide ... are far more powerful than the more commonly talked-about carbon dioxide. Overall, livestock is responsible for 18 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions."
Moreover, Henning Steinfeld and Pierre Gerber, the lead author and a co-author (respectively) of that 18 percent estimate—published in 2006, and later partly retracted—wrote an article in 2010 to confirm that they prescribe not less meat or less factory farming, but rather more factory farming and no limit on meat.
Yet Messrs. Steinfeld and Gerber are livestock specialists, not environmental specialists, and they're employed by the FAO, which is just 1 of 19 UN specialized agencies.
Conversely, environmental specialists employed by two other UN specialized agencies, the World Bank and IFC, have authored analysis that better supports your argument for less meat. Those specialists are Robert Goodland and me.
Paul, Mary, and Stella McCartney's Meat Free Mondays campaign launched our video and website on our behalf. The New York Times published Robert Goodland's assessment of the FAO's new partnership with the meat industry; and our website includes presentations that the FAO itself invited us to deliver.
Finally, since Meatless Mondays began, survey data show a sharp drop in the number of Americans consuming less meat—even though meat consumption has historically fallen during economic downturns. Meatless Mondays own history provides a reason for such failure: its title and concept are anachronistic, based on WWI deprivation. In fact, when people are asked to sacrifice something one day, they often crave it even more the next day.
Indeed, no consumer product is ever successfully marketed by asking consumers to use it just one day a week. For example, little to no Pepsi-Cola would be sold by prodding consumers to drink it one day a week, conceding that Coca-Cola remains the drink of choice the rest of the week. It's been suggested that a campaign would do better by being based on the value of a product that's better than meat.
Jeff Anhang, environmental specialist
IFC Environment and Social Development Department, Washington, DC