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PETA to New York Schools: Get Smart, Go Vegetarian

Meat-Free Lunches Boost Grades in Queens School

For Immediate Release:
October 21, 2013

Contact:
Allison Lakomski 202-483-7382 

New York — This afternoon, PETA sent a letter to John B. King Jr., education commissioner of the New York State Education Department, urging him to implement a program of all-vegetarian lunches for students at every school in the state. Why? Because top-rated P.S. 244 in Queens recently switched to vegetarian meals, and school officials report that school attendance, energy levels, and test scores have all improved.

“Feeding students bean burritos rather than burgers is a great way to help them learn good eating habits early on and grow up healthy as well as increase their attention spans, improve academic test scores, and spare thousands of animals the horrors of factory farms and slaughterhouses,” wrote Marta Holmberg, PETA director of youth outreach and campaigns, in her letter.

For more information, please visit PETA.org.

PETA’s letter to Education Commissioner John B. King Jr. follows.

October 21, 2013

John B. King Jr., Education Commissioner
New York State Education Department

Via e-mail.

Dear Dr. King:

I’m writing on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and our more than 3 million members and supporters, including tens of thousands across New York, to ask you to help improve the health and academic performance of all students by following the example set by P.S. 244 in Queens and encouraging districts across the state to implement all-vegetarian lunch programs.

Here’s why: According to school officials, since the school made the switch to an all-vegetarian lunch program, student attendance, energy levels, and test scores have all improved. After just one semester, the number of students at P.S. 244 who were classified as overweight or obese dropped 2 percent, Principal Robert Groff said. Eating vegan will provide children with all the protein, vitamins, and fiber that they need without the artery-clogging cholesterol and saturated fat found in meat and dairy products. In fact, the late Dr. Benjamin Spock wrote, “Children who grow up getting their nutrition from plant foods rather than meats have a tremendous health advantage. They are less likely to develop weight problems, diabetes, high blood pressure, and some forms of cancer.”

By implementing an all-vegetarian lunch program, schools will also be allowing kids, who have a natural empathy for animals, to feel good about not contributing to the suffering of animals raised and killed for food. For example, chickens and turkeys have their throats cut while they’re still conscious, piglets are castrated without being given any painkillers, fish are suffocated or cut open while they’re still alive on the decks of fishing boats, and calves are torn away from their mothers within hours of birth.

Feeding students bean burritos rather than burgers is a great way to help them learn good eating habits early on and grow up healthy as well as increase their attention spans, improve academic test scores, and spare thousands of animals the horrors of factory farms and slaughterhouses.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Marta Holmberg
Director of Youth Outreach and Campaigns