PETA’s Solution for Florida Prisons’ Kosher Food Demand: Go Vegan

For Immediate Release:
January 24, 2014

Allison Lakomski 202-483-7382

Tallahassee, Fla.

Today, PETA sent a letter urging the Florida Department of Corrections to meet increasing prison demand for more costly kosher meals by converting the institutional menu to a healthy vegan one. As PETA points out in its letter, vegan meals are a safe and easy way to lower costs while still offering inmates the fresh food that they demand—and as the meals include no animal ingredients, they also respect many religious dietary restrictions as well as sparing the lives of animals. In addition, because vegans are less prone to developing heart disease, obesity, cancer, and diabetes than meat-eaters are, serving prisoners vegan meals is an excellent way to save on future health-care costs.

“If inmates are this excited about prepackaged kosher meals, they’ll jump at the chance to eat fresh, healthy, vegan food that fits with their religion—and the state could benefit from vegan entrées’ lower cost, too,” says PETA Associate Director Lindsay Rajt. “PETA is eager to help Florida promote nonviolence in its prisons, save taxpayers’ money, and improve inmates’ health by providing prisoners with plant-based foods.”

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 the Florida Department of Corrections follows.

January 24, 2014

Michael D. Crews
Florida Department of Corrections

Via e-mail

Dear Mr. Crews:

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 Florida, with an idea that could save you money. It is possible to accommodate inmates’ demands for fresher, safer food without the added costs of prepackaged kosher meals by converting the general prison menu to a cost-effective and cruelty-free vegan one. A vegan menu is a safe way to reduce prison expenses and also demonstrates respect for many religious dietary restrictions by eliminating problematic animal ingredients. We’d be happy to provide complimentary chef’s services for assistance with planning your first nutritious vegan meals.

Switching to plant-based meals can save you money and reduce violence. Vegan foods contain all the nutrients that people need without the animal fat and cholesterol that they don’t—and at a fraction of the cost of meat and milk. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of last month, beans cost $1.45 per pound and pasta cost $1.26 per pound—as opposed to $3.90 per pound for ground beef and $3.46 per pound for chicken. And feeding inmates a vegan diet can also save the Department of Corrections (DOC) money on health-care costs for prisoners since, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, vegetarians are less prone to obesity, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Arizona’s Maricopa County has already cut costs by switching to plant-based meals.

Whereas many of the inmates in your prisons will eventually return to their lives on the outside, innocent animals raised for the table are condemned to spend their entire lives in misery, stuffed into tiny cages, extremely crowded sheds, or filthy feedlots. They are routinely castrated, debeaked, and dehorned with no pain relief before being sent to the slaughterhouse, where many of them experience a terrifying and painful death. Eliminating this cruelty from prison meals can promote nonviolence among inmates.

Feeding inmates bean burritos rather than burgers is the way to go. I would be happy to put you in touch with a vegan chef in order to help you get started with a nonviolent meal program at no cost to the DOC.

Thank you for your consideration.

Very truly yours,

Ingrid E. Newkirk

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