UK Government Asked to Take Meat Off of the Menu at School Cafeterias

|Updated Jun 22, 2020
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Kids should not eat meat at school, but be fed a diet of vegetables, fruits and legumes, That's the goal of Greenpeace UK, PETA and Meat Free Monday, founded by Sir Paul McCartney, who have teamed up to ask the British government to take meat off of cafeteria menus at all schools across the UK. They are urging the Secretary of State for Education for help in their goal of getting school-aged children to not eat meat at lunchtime.

PETA reports that the animal and environmental advocacy groups implored the British government in a letter that "notes that the current animal-derived food mandates limit schools’ capacity to serve children climate-friendly vegan foods and are out of step with the government’s own nutritional advice to the public–known as the Eatwell Guide–which allows for nutritional needs to be met without meat and dairy."

The founders of Meat Free Monday, Sir Paul McCartney and daughters Mary and Stella, said on behalf of the effort, “No one needs to eat meat, so it shouldn’t be mandatory to serve it in schools. It’s time to revise the School Food Standards to help the planet, spare animals, and promote healthy eating.”

The letter, addressed to the Secretary of State for Education, Gavin Williamson MP, cited childhood obesity as one chief reason why the schools should ditch meat on their meal menus, saying, "The British Medical Association reports that 20% of children in the UK are obese by the time they are in year 6, which increases their likelihood of suffering from cancer, diabetes, and heart disease later in life. It’s unreasonable to require that schools regularly serve meat, fish, and dairy, foods which are high in cholesterol and saturated fat and some of which, including red and processed meats, are known carcinogens."

Ditch the Dairy, While You're at it

The letter also goes on to ask the U.K government to consider getting rid of dairy as well, listing its environmental impacts as well as the high prevalence of lactose intolerance as reasons that schools should give up dairy products in favor of plant milks and other dairy-free alternatives.

It also references a 2019 poll by Linda McCartney Foods which shows that 70 percent of British children want more vegan options at school. While PETA, Greenpeace UK and Meat Free Monday acknowledge that not everyone agrees on whether a healthy diet contains meat and dairy, they close the letter by saying, "we can all agree that individual schools and caterers should have the option to reduce or eliminate foods that contribute to poor health and the climate crisis while ensuring they can deliver varied menus that meet the needs of their students.

What do you think? Let us know on The Beet's Facebook Page if you think schools should ditch the meat and dairy in favor of more plant-based options.