PETA is urging the UK government to revise the outdated School Food Standards and remove meat and dairy from school canteens in a bid to serve healthier and more sustainable options.
The charity says the new changes would benefit children’s health, the environment, and animals.
PETA’s campaign is supported by Sir Paul McCartney and Meat Free Monday - his non-profit organisation, Greenpeace UK, the MPs, and environmental, health, and animal protection groups.
Current standards require schools in England to serve a portion of dairy every day, a portion of meat at least three times a week, and a portion of fish once every three weeks.
These requirements are against public health advice, are harmful to the environment, and cause animals pain and suffering.
Meat and dairy industry produces more greenhouse emissions than the production of plant-based foods. Scientists and experts recommend a diet based on vegetables, fruits, whole grains, pulses, and plant sourced unsaturated fats in order to prevent climate change.
Children’s obesity is a huge problem in the UK. Twenty per cent of kids in the country are obese by the time they are 6 years old. Obesity and unhealthy diet increase the risk of diabetes, heart disease and other illnesses which can lead to an early death.
Till now, all the schools in the country are required to serve meat and dairy, which are high in cholesterol and saturated fat, including bacon, sausages, and ham.
The School Food Standards don’t even comply with the government’s own nutritional advice to the public. The Eatwell Guide recommends citizens to reduce their consumption of red and processed meats and includes more vegetables in their diet.
The campaigners are calling for the removal of obligatory servings of meat, fish, and dairy, allowing schools to provide children’s nutritional requirements in whichever way they choose.
The letter to Secretary of State for Education Gavin Williamson was signed by: Paul, Mary, and Stella McCartney, the Royal Society for Public Health, Greenpeace UK, Compassion in World Farming, Plant-Based Health Professionals UK, Humane Society International UK, Animal Aid, ProVeg UK, Veganuary, Viva!, Quorn Foods, Caroline Lucas MP, Henry Smith MP and TheVeganKind.
You can sign the petition here.