Students’ Call for Healthy School Food Nets PETA Offer—A Free Vegan Lunch

Offer to Help Develop Meat-Free Menus Comes After Students Boycott Unhealthy Cafeteria Food

For Immediate Release:
December 11, 2015

Sophia Charchuk 202-483-7382

On Monday, an estimated 80 percent of Theodore Roosevelt High School’s student body sat down to lunch with a meal packed from home in protest of the cafeteria’s typically unhealthy, cholesterol-laden fare. In response, TeachKind—PETA’s humane-education division—sent the school a letter today offering its assistance: Not only will the group work with the school to incorporate more healthy plant-based lunch options, it’ll also kick off the effort by treating the entire student body to a free delicious vegan lunch.

“PETA and TeachKind are eager to work with school officials to develop a menu that’s packed with protein- and nutrient-rich vegan meals,” says PETA Senior Director of Youth Outreach and Campaigns Marta Holmberg. “With so many healthy, humane options widely available, it’s long past time to offer kids the nutritious lunches they want and deserve, and we’ll kickstart the effort with a free vegan lunch for all the students.”

As noted by TeachKind, whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat,” the World Health Organization recently reported that eating processed meats increases one’s risk of developing cancer. Plus, vegan meals are eco-friendly and can even help fight bullying by fostering empathy for others.

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TeachKind’s letter to Principal Pilar Vazquez-Vialva of Theodore Roosevelt High School follows.

Dear Principal Pilar Vazquez-Vialva,

I’m writing from TeachKind, PETA’s humane-education division, which works with schools around the country to promote kindness to animals. We’ve learned that students at Theodore Roosevelt High School (TRHS) began a boycott of the cafeteria lunches provided by your school’s food-service provider in hopes of replacing the often unhealthy meat-laden fare for healthier and more plant-based options. Given your students passion for this issue, we’d love to work with your school to incorporate vegan meals into your cafeteria menu.

Providing well-balanced vegan meals is one of the best things you can do for the health of your developing students. Meat, dairy, and eggs are known contributors to heart disease, obesity, cancer, diabetes, and other common life-threatening ailments—and these foods are the leading sources of saturated fat and cholesterol in the American diet. The World Health Organization (WHO) recently categorized processed meats as posing an equivalent cancer risk to cigarettes and asbestos, and noted that red meats, including beef and pork, are likely carcinogenic as well. Plant-based foods, on the other hand, are free of any dietary cholesterol—and on average, vegans tend to be thinner, have lower blood cholesterol levels, and are less likely to suffer from cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension than their meat-eating counterparts.

Animal-derived foods aren’t just bad for our health—they’re also cruel to animals. On factory farms, animals suffer in filthy, crowded conditions where they’re denied adequate veterinary care and everything natural to them for their entire lives. Eventually they’re hauled to slaughter, where they’re often still conscious while their throats are slit. Animal agriculture is also the leading cause of greenhouse-gas emissions contributing to climate change, and uses massive amounts of valuable resources such as food, land, and water that could be used to help feed the millions of people in the world who don’t have enough to eat.

To help get TRHS started on its path to healthier lunch options, TeachKind would be happy to treat your school to a healthy and FREE vegan lunch, and continue to work with your school to make healthy plant-based meals a part of your regular cafeteria menu. There are so many hearty vegetable dishes and tasty plant-based meats, milks, and cheeses available to choose from that we know your students will enjoy.

By putting together a healthy and sustainable vegan menu to nourish your students, you can not only fulfill their request for healthier cafeteria fare, but also take a stand against the cruelty inherent in the meat, dairy and egg industries and help fight climate change—which will set a positive, compassionate example not only for your students but for other schools, too. We hope to hear from you soon!


Nina Kahn
Assistant Manager of Youth Campaigns, PETA
[email protected]

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