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March 6, 2013

Los Angeles Unified School District Joins Meatless Monday Movement

The Humane Society of the United States praises school system

The Humane Society of the United States is praising Los Angeles Unified School District—the nation’s second largest school district, serving more than 650,000 meals daily—for joining the international Meatless Monday movement by offering exclusively meat-free meals in its K-12 cafeterias every Monday, and by educating students about the health benefits of eating more plant-based foods.

“Americans have among the highest per capita meat consumption in the world, and providing more plant-based meals to kids can improve their health and raise their consciousness about how their food choices connect to important social questions about public health, the environment and the treatment of animals,” said Kristie Middleton, outreach manager of farm animal protection at The HSUS.

While childhood obesity rates are leveling off, about 42 percent of Los Angeles children are obese or overweight. Eating more healthy plant-based options helps prevent obesity and chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer and diabetes. A 2010 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded, “…a plant-based diet seems to be a sensible approach for the prevention of obesity in children.”

Although Americans are eating less meat than just five years ago, representing the first significant decline in decades, meat consumption at current levels is just not sustainable. Los Angeles Unified’s Meatless Monday program comes on the heels of a resolution passed by the City of Los Angeles in November 2012 supporting the global initiative.  The Humane Society of the United States supports “Meatless Monday” as a way to promote personal and public health, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the inefficient use of natural resources, and to decrease the total number of animals raised in confinement on factory farms.

Facts:

  • Meatless Monday, now a popular international movement, was created by the U.S. government as a resource-saving measure during World War I. In 2003, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health re-launched the effort with The Monday Campaigns to promote replacing meat one day a week for our health and the health of the planet. Among the many others who support Meatless Monday are family farmers who answer to higher animal welfare standards.
  • Meatless Monday raises awareness of the benefits of reduced meat consumption by bringing attention to the animal welfare, environmental and public health impacts of industrial meat production.
  • Polls show that 50 percent of people in America are aware of Meatless Monday and that roughly one in five are participating in it.
  • Public figures including President Bill Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres and Rev. Al Sharpton, celebrities like Russell Brand and Ozzy Ozbourne, and athletes like Carl Lewis, Mike Tyson and Tony Gonzalez have recently touted the advantages of meat reduction.   

Media Contact: Anna West: 240 -751-2669; awest@humanesociety.org

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