Meatless Monday Drama

Meat-loving Texas agriculture commissioner Todd Staples announces resignation

Texas ag commissioner resigns in wake of Meatless Monday incident

Texas agriculture commissioner Todd Staples announced on September 18 that he will resign his office, an announcement that comes 10 days after he wrote an awkward editorial calling the Meatless Monday initiative a "carefully orchestrated campaign."

According to his announcement, Staples will transition out of the position within the next two months, and will become president of the Texas Oil and Gas Association. Staples will replace Rob Looney, who announced he would leave the association in March.

Chief of staff Shannon Rusing and deputy commissioner Drew DeBerry will continue in their roles during the transition until a new commissioner takes office.

Staples' statement did not acknowledge the controversy surrounding the alarmist editorial he wrote for the Austin American-Statesman regarding the Meatless Monday initiative that has been adopted by many schools around the country, including some districts in Texas. He wrote that depriving school children of specifically a meat-based protein was problematic, a contradiction of federal guidelines for child nutrition.

Staples' editorial also contradicted a piece he wrote for the Spring Observer on the drought, encouraging Texans to avoid wasting water. Raising livestock uses a disproportionate amount of water.

Following the controversy, a nutritional fact sheet on the Texas Department of Agriculture's website, which gave equal credence to beans as a source of protein, mysteriously disappeared on or about September 14.

Instead, Staples' statement thanked God and summoned the Alamo.

"Texas has led the nation in many categories and experienced phenomenal growth over the past few years because the same strength and resolve that were present at the Alamo in 1836 are alive and well today," he said.

"From working at the local level as a city council member in my hometown of Palestine to serving in both the House and Senate of the Texas Legislature to now serving statewide as the elected agriculture commissioner, one element has been consistently clear to me: God has blessed Texas beyond description," reads the statement.

Texas Agricultural Commissioner Todd Staples
Todd Staples likes meat. Photo courtesy of Todd Staples