PETA to Arizona Prisons Chief: Do Like Sheriff Joe and Ditch Meat

Group Offers Plan to Save Taxpayers Money and Save Animals’ Lives

For Immediate Release:
September 24, 2013

David Perle 202-483-7382 

Tucson, Ariz. —  Today, PETA sent a letter to Charles L. Ryan, director of the Arizona Department of Corrections, urging him to follow the lead of no-bull Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and stop feeding prisoners cow as well as all other meat. Arpaio recently instituted the program to save taxpayers money. Not only is a plant-based diet less expensive than a meat-based one, it also saves animals’ lives, protects prisoners from serious illnesses that can cost the state an arm and a leg to treat, and is a great way to promote compassion and nonviolence among inmates.

“It doesn’t make sense to feed convicts some of the most expensive food on the market when they can get all the nutrition that they need from healthy, delicious vegetarian options. And this decision gives overburdened taxpayers a break at the same time,” says PETA Associate Director Lindsay Rajt. “People who have gone vegetarian or vegan can attest to how much better it makes them feel, and the Arizona prison system can appreciate another good reason for offering plant-based foods: They’re cheaper.”

As an incentive, PETA has offered to pick up the tab for a professional chef to work with the corrections system to implement the new menu.

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PETA’s letter to Charles L. Ryan, director of the Arizona Department of Corrections, follows.

September 24, 2013

Charles L. Ryan, Director
Arizona Department of Corrections

Via e-mail: [email protected]

Dear Mr. Ryan:

I’m writing on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and our more than 3 million members and supporters, including thousands across Arizona, to ask you, with all due respect, to lessen the burden on Arizona taxpayers by following the example set recently by Maricopa County jails and leaving cruel and costly meat off prison menus. We’d be happy to provide complimentary chef’s services for assistance with planning nutritious vegetarian meals.

Switching to plant-based meals is a great way to save money and reduce violence. Vegetarian foods contain all the nutrients that a person needs at a fraction of the cost of meat. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of last month, beans cost $1.43 per pound and pasta cost $1.30 per pound—as opposed to $3.45 per pound for ground beef and $3.60 per pound for chicken. And feeding inmates a vegetarian diet can also save the Department of Corrections (ADC) money on healthcare costs for prisoners since, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, vegetarians are less prone to obesity, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.

Whereas most of the inmates in your prisons will eventually return to their lives on the outside, innocent animals raised for meat, eggs, and dairy products are condemned to spend their entire lives in tiny cages, extremely crowded sheds, or filthy feedlots. They are routinely mutilated with no pain relief before finally being sent to the slaughterhouse, where many of them have their throats cut while they are still conscious and experience a terrifying and agonizing death. Eliminating this cruelty from prison meals is a positive way to promote compassion and nonviolence among inmates. In fact, some prisons have implemented vegetarian meals as part of a violence-reduction program and found that prisoner aggression was reduced.

Feeding inmates bean burritos rather than burgers is a great way to save the ADC money, promote empathy among prisoners, and spare thousands of animals from the horrors of factory farms and slaughterhouses. I would be happy to put you in touch with a professional vegan chef to help you get started with a nonviolent meal program at no cost to the ADC. 

Thank you for your consideration. 

Very truly yours, 

Ingrid E. Newkirk

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind