Edmonton's Youth Council had a modest suggestion: swap out meat and cheese trays at City Hall for vegetable platters. Save money, they said. Love the Earth, they said.
Over our dead, cholesterol-ridden bodies, a city roared back.
It all started earlier this month when the Youth Council — tasked with providing advice about youngins — brought their recommendation to the non-Youth actual city council.
"We're not asking them to become vegetarian or vegan in their personal life," Marina Banister, chair of the youth council's sustainability committee, told CBC News.
The change would apply to catering that occurs two, maybe three times, per year.
BuzzFeed Canada has created a simulation of what they change might look like.
No big deal, right? Wrong. So wrong.
The suggestion caused a stir on Edmonton City Council befitting an issue not concerning snacks.
The mayor himself, Don Iveson, said the whole thing has been divisive.
"I'm concerned that this is unnecessarily all or nothing," he said, according to CBC News.
The Edmonton Journal also pointed out that Alberta is known for its beef industry, so doing away with meat gets into sticky political and identity-based territory.
The Canadian Cattlemen's Association even felt the need to weigh in.
But the most vitriolic responses have, naturally, come from the internet. Banister has been ridiculed in both comment sections and on social media. This CBC.ca commenter reminded everyone that Hitler was a vegetarian:
"Go pound beef ya buncha lefty loser busy bodies," said another.
Over at the National Post, commenters were so riled up at the prospect of a meatless snack that they used phrases like "vegi-nazis" and "food fascism." Others targeted Banister's age and gender.
Banister told CBC other comments have been not only personal, but "hostile and sexually-suggestive."
"I think if people had seen a picture of a male, if my name were Mark, not Marina, the conversation would have been different," she told the Edmonton Journal.
Debate on the matter has been put off until October.
Lauren Strapagiel is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Toronto, Canada.
Contact Lauren Strapagiel at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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