‘Special Interest Senators!’ PETA Calls Out Legislators’ Bonehead Bill to Ban Cell-Cultured Meat From School Lunches

For Immediate Release:
February 12, 2024

Brittney Williams 202-483-7382

Norfolk, Va.PETA fired off a letter to U.S. Sens. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.), whose recently introduced School Lunch Integrity Act of 2024—backed by the United States Cattlemen’s Association, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, and South Dakota Pork Producers—seeks to preemptively ban cultivated meat products from being served in school lunches, proposing that they give their bonehead bill the more accurate name “Special Interests’ Cruel and & Unhealthy Lunch Advocacy Act of 2024.”

“This bill shows that these representatives are kowtowing to an industry that’s running scared of something that isn’t even here yet and may never be,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “PETA urges these lawmakers to work for their constituents who are beset with meat-related health issues rather than for special interests who put profits over planetary protection, human health, and the prevention of cruelty to animals.”

PETA notes that billions of cows, pigs, and chickens—intelligent, sensitive individuals who can experience pain and fear—endure short, miserable lives in the U.S. meat industry, which subjects them to extreme crowding, routine mutilations without pain relief, a terrifying trip to the slaughterhouse, and a violent, painful death in which their throat may be slit while they’re still conscious.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat”—points out that Every Animal Is Someone and offers free Empathy Kits for people who need a lesson in kindness. For more information, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on X (formerly Twitter), Facebook, or Instagram.

PETA’s letter to Rounds and Tester follows.

February 12, 2024

The Honorable Mike Rounds
United States Senator for South Dakota

The Honorable Jon Tester
United States Senator for Montana

Dear Senators Rounds and Tester:

I’m writing on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals—PETA entities have more than 9 million members and supporters globally, including tens of thousands across South Dakota and Montana. It’s come to our attention that you have introduced the School Lunch Integrity Act of 2024. In the spirit of integrity, we propose that you rename this bill “Special Interests’ Cruel & Unhealthy Lunch Advocacy Act of 2024” because that is clearly what it is. Or better yet, scrap that bonehead bill and put your time and efforts into ensuring that every student has access to fresh, delicious, healthy vegan foods, meaning ones with zero cholesterol and unlikely to clog their arteries and set them on the road to eventual arrival at an ICU.

Many children become upset when they learn that the body parts served on school lunch trays are taken from animals who endure profound suffering and are then slaughtered to teach them the same old bad and destructive dietary habits of their parents—people who didn’t have access to the information about health, animal welfare, and other topics that we have today.

We’ve seen children in 4-H or Future Farmers of America programs cry when they realize that the throat of a cow or pig they have brushed and talked to is going to be slit. Cell-cultured meat may never even materialize, despite your fears, but right now, we can teach youngsters to spare the lives of billions of sentient beings, in addition to improving their own health, by opting for vegan foods, including vegan hot dogs, veggie burgers, and dairy-free cheese pizzas. That’s the new mainstream!

Keep in mind that animal agriculture is also wreaking havoc on the environment—severely damaging the planet that these schoolchildren are in the process of inheriting. The meat industry is one of the world’s largest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions and deforestation, and I hope our suggestion to rename this bill inspires you to reconsider the favoritism being afforded to special interests that aren’t in the best interests of the next generations.

Otherwise, shame on you both.


Ingrid Newkirk

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