29 March 2010

PETA offers vegan lunch for Kentucky school district in exchange for ad

Last week PETA sent a letter to Harrie Buecker, superintendent of Franklin County Public Schools, offering to provide children in the district with a veggie burger lunch in exchange for advertising space on school teeter-totters. The Franklin Country school district was chosen because Kentucky has one of the highest rates of childhood obesity in the United States.

"Our proposal is a win-win situation for Franklin County Public Schools," says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. "Students will get a delicious, healthy, fat- and cholesterol-free meal and a lifesaving message about how unhealthy it is to eat meat. The best thing that people of any age can do for their health, animals, and the environment is to go vegan."

The ad would show a child about to eat a fast-food burger next to the words, “Tot teetering on obesity? Go vegan!"

Below is a copy of the letter that PETA sent to the superintendent.

March 25, 2010
Harrie Buecker
Franklin County Public Schools

Dear Ms. Bucker,

On behalf of PETA and our 2 million members and supporters, including thousands in Kentucky, I'm writing in response to a startling new study indicating that many American children younger than 2 years old are already obese. Given that Kentucky has one of the highest childhood obesity rates in the nation, we are asking you to place our fun, informative stickers (image attached) reading "Tot teetering on obesity? Go vegan! PETA" on the teeter-totters (seesaws) in your elementary schools' playgrounds. These ads urge parents and school faculty to encourage children to enjoy healthful vegan meals comprised of nourishing fruits, vegetables, beans, and grains instead of fatty, cholesterol-laden meat and dairy products. In return for placing our stickers, we will provide a healthy, tasty veggie-burger lunch for every student at each participating school.

As you know, obesity and its associated health problems have reached a crisis level that is critically affecting our nation's youth. As a parent of an elementary school child, I recognize the importance of good nutrition in combating obesity. I feed my child a vegan diet because vegans are significantly healthier than meat- and dairy-eaters. The American Dietetic Association and the Dieticians of Canada conducted perhaps the largest review of all studies on vegetarian diets and concluded that meat-free diets are "appropriate for all stages" of life, including childhood, and "provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases."

Vegan children get all the protein, vitamins, and fiber they need but miss out on the artery-clogging cholesterol and saturated fat found in meat and dairy products. The late Dr. Benjamin Spock, America's leading authority on child care, wrote, "Children who grow up getting their nutrition from plant foods rather than meats have a tremendous health advantage. They are less likely to develop weight problems, diabetes, high blood pressure, and some forms of cancer."

In addition to these major health benefits, by switching to a vegan diet, each child would save more than 100 animals per year from the horrors of intensive farming, in which chickens and turkeys have their throats cut while still conscious, piglets have their tails and testicles cut off without any painkillers, fish are suffocated or cut open while still alive on the decks of fishing boats, and calves are torn away from their mothers so that the milk intended for them can be consumed by humans instead.

I hope you will accept our offer to benefit students' health and animals, as well as the school system's budget, by treating kids to a delicious vegan meal on us.

Tracy Reiman
Executive Vice President

Follow TDIV [@vegetariandish] on Twitter

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Photo Credit: cc: flickr.com/photos/b-tal