Executive Director and California native, Michael Weber wrote a letter to the San Diego Unified School District urging its board members to adopt a Meatless Mondays program. In a city where nearly 28% of children are overweight or obese, Michael says, “Now is the time for community leaders to speak out about proper diet and healthy habits. And this public health initiative, begun by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, is a great start.”
Being overweight or obese increases a person’s risk of developing conditions such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and many cancers. The economic costs associated with obesity and physical inactivity in California are estimated at $41.2 billion. The state (and the country) is at a turning point in the battle with chronic disease, and we have a choice…we either take steps to improve our overall health or we continue down the current path of disease and premature death.
In his letter, Michael also points out the devastating environmental impacts animal agriculture has on the planet and the inherent cruelty and suffering that comes with raising animals for food. According to the United Nations, reducing the amount of animal products we eat is one of the simplest ways to lower our carbon footprint, since animal agriculture is “responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, a bigger share than that of transport[tation].” Not to mention, that raising billions of animals for food to produce massive quantities of meat, dairy, and eggs has taken a major toll on the animals themselves. Standard industry practices include intensive confinement, mutilations without painkillers, and a horrific slaughter – practices that shock nearly every- one who views them.
Michael says bringing one meat-free day a week to school students is “an easy, effective way for our children to start the week off right.” With an abundance of readily available vegetarian and vegan options, the number of schools and colleges that have successfully adopted similar programs is steadily increasing. And for those looking to eliminate all animal products from their diet, FARM offers 100% vegan recipes through our Meatout Mondays program and additional vegan resources through our Live Vegan website.
FARM applauds the San Diego Unified School District for considering implementing such a life-saving program, and we hope they take Michael’s recommendation into account.