HOUSTON (AP) — Texas meat-lovers are expressing outrage over a coworking company's announcement that it won't serve beef, pork or chicken at work events in order to be more environmentally conscious.
New York City-based WeWork said it's committed to being a "meat-free organization," the Houston Chronicle reported. WeWork won't buy meat dishes for the shared workspaces provided to members, including its 8,000 Texas members at nine facilities. The company also won't allow employees to expense meals that contain meat.
"We are energized by this opportunity to leave a better world for future generations and appreciate your partnership as we continue the journey," Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer Miguel McKelvey said in a letter to employees.
The company projects that by 2023, the move will save 16.7 billion gallons of water and more than 15 million animals, while reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 445 million pounds.
But meat-lovers are pushing back against the meatless policy in the top beef cow producing state in the county.
Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller criticized the company's rationale.
"I was very surprised and disappointed to learn of WeWork's anti-beef policy, but probably not as disappointed as their employees were," he said.
Texas Beef Council Vice President Richard Wortham said the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency found animal agriculture generated only about 4 percent of national greenhouse emissions, and the beef industry was responsible for 2 percent.
He said the company would "probably be better off encouraging their employees to use less energy at the office or take public transportation."
Ruqqayya Maudoodi, a vegetarian, called WeWork a forward-thinking company. But she recognized it's "a bold step, especially in Texas."
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