From: State Defense Council, Subject files, 1940-1946, Series 419
The “Share the Meat” program was promoted by the War Food Administration during World War II. The program urged Americans to limit their weekly consumption of meat to ensure an adequate supply for troops serving overseas.
This document is a press release designed for publication prior to Thanksgiving in 1942. The document explains that Americans should feel fortunate for the supply of meat they have and that participating in the program is a small sacrifice compared to the hardships endured by citizens in enemy-controlled territory. The document provides a thought provoking commentary on the relative affluence of American citizens during a time of great turmoil and suffering in Europe, Asia, and northern Africa.
For Use in week of Nov. 23.
Suggested Editorial Matter.
Still A Feast
Our first wartime Thanksgiving finds the United States home front cooperating in a voluntary program to Share-the-Meat with our military forces and our allies through a reduction of civilian meat consumption by everyone.
Lest there be those who forget, the American share of two and half pounds of meat a week by each adult can be called a veritable feast in comparison with the puny rations forced upon the conquered peoples of Europe.
To make this comparison more clear, two and a half pounds is equivalent to forty ounces; and forty ounces is exactly eight times greater that the maximum of five ounces of meat a week allowed to adults in captive Belgium — providing, of course, that the already-starved Belgians can lay their hands on that much.
In Germany the maximum allowance is twelve and a half ounces a week, not necessarily of meat as we know it, but of whatever substance the looted countries can give up.
Italy fares note nearly so well — the adult Italian must get along on six ounces a week, and of that he must take one-fourth of the total in sausages.
Not all of us may be able to afford the noble turkey for this year’s Thanksgiving fare, but at least we can be thankful that turkey and chicken and ducks and geese are still on the “free” list and be thankful, too, that we are not obliged to depend on Hitler’s hand-outs.