Sir,—I will have the butchers against me and the farmers will not be well pleased, but men, and they are in the majority, who desire to win the war, to keep the price of meat reasonably low for poor folk, and at the end of the war wish their country to escape bankruptcy, will be with me in my appeal to this ancient city to try one meatless day each week. I have calculated from such facts of our dead meat supply as are available, that if we all agreed to do this we should save in Carlisle the slaughter of 3,800 animals—oxen, sheep, calves and pigs in the year. If all the cities of Great Britain followed suit we should not only prevent anything like a meat famine, but it would make the supply of imported carcasses, which, it is believed, amounts to one-quarter of the meat eaten, unnecessary. It would have a good effect on the health of the whole population, for doctors are agreed that we all of us eat more meat than is wholesome for us. But not the least good that would accrue is that we should, on that meatless day, turn our attention to a fish diet, and to the use of such vegetables as lentils and haricot beans as are now little used, while the good old days of “poddish” and “haver” bread might possibly return. I know I shall be told that a man cannot do hard manual work without his bacon and beef-steak…. And if we go back only fifty years we shall find that the bulk of the workers of the land used meat quite sparingly, say once or twice a week. I do not plead for any change in the meat diet of the mass of poor and rich alike, but we are at war—we may continue at war for longer than I like to prophesy—and I believe it a simple patriotic duty to go in for saving our stock of meat in this “right little, tight little island,” and know no better way than by having one meatless day in the week and urging all my friends and fellow-citizens to do the same.
(Carlisle Journal, 10 November 1916, p. 8)