DEVONPORT SCHOOLS URGED TO DROP MEAT FROM MENU FOLLOWING NEW CLASSIFICATION OF PROCESSED MEATS AS CARCINOGENS

For Immediate Release:
20 January 2016

World Health Organisation Report Prompts PETA Calls for Administrators to Protect Children From Cancer-Causing Lunches

Following a recent report from the World Health Organisation that classifies processed meats – alongside tobacco – as carcinogens, PETA Australia has sent a letter to all Devonport schools urging administrators to take heed of the danger to young people by dropping processed meats from school lunches.

“Few parents would toss their kids a lighter and a pack of cigarettes, and they don’t want schools tossing their kids ‘cancer sticks’ in the form of salami sandwiches or bacon cheeseburgers, either”, writes PETA Campaign Director Jason Baker. “Children who eat vegan meals receive all the protein, vitamins and fibre they need and have many advantages over their meat-eating peers.”

For more information, please visit PETA.org.au.

PETA’s letter to Devonport schools is below.

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20 January 2016

Dear Sir/Madam,

Like all parents, I want to keep my child safe. And when I send my son off to his classes, it’s with the expectation that his school will protect him, too. That’s why I urge your school to make a change that will help keep children safer for decades to come: ditch processed meats from the menu.

The World Health Organisation recently declared that processed meats like bacon and sausage can cause cancer and also placed these ticking time bombs in the same category as other known carcinogens, such as asbestos, arsenic and tobacco smoke. Few parents would toss their kids a lighter and a pack of cigarettes, and they don’t want schools tossing their kids “cancer sticks” in the form of salami sandwiches or bacon cheeseburgers, either. If such items remain on the lunch menu, perhaps they should be served with a colonoscopy and a dose of chemo on the side.

Because you want what’s best for children, you no doubt ensure that they aren’t exposed to damaged asbestos in school buildings – and you should scrub carcinogens from the menu, too. In fact, I’d encourage you to go a step further and offer entirely plant-based meals. Children who eat vegan meals receive all the protein, vitamins and fibre they need and have many advantages over their meat-eating peers. After the Active Learning Elementary School in the United States made the switch to an all-vegetarian cafeteria program, school officials reported that student attendance, attention spans and test scores all improved. Director James Cameron and his wife, Suzy, have also made their school’s menu plant-based, and they’re finding that students are responding extremely well to their vegetarian menu. Children who grow up eating plant-based meals will also benefit from a lower risk of diabetes, heart disease and other maladies as adults. And since vegetarians tend to report lower body mass indexes, switching to plant-based cafeteria meals would help counter Australia’s growing childhood-obesity epidemic.

Serving plant-based meals in your school would also help farmed animals who suffer every day in severely crowded transport trucks, ammonia-filled factory farms and terrifying blood-filled abattoirs. Children, who are naturally empathetic to animals, would be horrified to learn where their school meat – processed or otherwise – comes from.

We owe it to our children not to play Russian roulette with their health. PETA would be happy to help your school make the healthy switch to plant-based foods by providing you with vegetarian/vegan starter kits and any other assistance you may need. Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Jason Baker
Director of Campaigns
PETA Australia