Sir Paul McCartney joins PETA in Calling for School Food Reform

Posted by on June 22, 2020 | Permalink

PETA is leading the charge for changes to be made to the outdated School Food Standards for England that would benefit children’s health, the environment, and animals. The campaign is supported by Sir Paul McCartney and his organisation Meat Free Monday, MPs, and environmental, health, and animal protection groups.

What’s Wrong With School Meals?

In England, schools are required to serve a portion of dairy every day, a portion of meat at least three times a week, and a portion of fish once every three weeks. These requirements are out of step with public health advice, are damaging to the environment, and cause animals pain and suffering. We’re calling for the standards to be revised so that each school gets to choose whether or how often it serves dairy, meat, and fish, as long as pupils’ nutritional needs are met.

Paul, Mary, and Stella McCartney, Founders, Meat Free Monday said in support of the campaign:

“No one needs to eat meat, so it shouldn’t be mandatory to serve it in schools. It’s time to revise the School Food Standards to help the planet, spare animals, and promote healthy eating.”

All production of meat, dairy, eggs, and fish emits vastly more greenhouse gases than the production of plant-based equivalents does. Sustainability experts with the EAT-Lancet Commission recommend a diet consisting primarily of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, pulses, and plant-based unsaturated fats in order to prevent climate change. At a time when the government’s climate advisers, the United Nations, and scientists worldwide are calling for a reduction in meat and dairy consumption, why are schools still being forced to serve animal-derived foods?

Childhood obesity rates have never been higher: 20% of children in the UK are obese by the time they’re in year 6. Being overweight increases their risk of suffering from other non-communicable diseases, like diabetes and heart disease, which can lead to an early death. Yet schools are required to serve meat and dairy, which are high in cholesterol and saturated fat. And despite the evidence that processed and red meats cause cancer, schools are still giving children foods like bacon, sausages, and ham.

The School Food Standards are so outdated that they don’t even comply with the government’s own nutritional advice to the public – the Eatwell Guide – which recommends that people eat more pulses and reduce their consumption of red and processed meats.

PETA’s Call for Action

Right now, the government is reviewing the School Food Standards, so PETA and our campaign partners are calling for the removal of mandatory servings of meat, fish, and dairy, allowing schools to meet children’s nutritional requirements in whichever way they choose.

The following people have signed our campaign letter to Secretary of State for Education Gavin Williamson:

Dr Carys Bennett, Senior Corporate Liaison, PETA
Juliet Gellatley, Founder and Director, Viva!
Isobel Hutchinson, Director, Animal Aid
Dr Shireen Kassam, Founder and Director, Plant-Based Health Professionals UK
Caroline Lucas MP
Philip Lymbery, Global CEO, Compassion in World Farming
Sean Mackenney, Forward Food Programme Manager, Humane Society International UK
Philip Mansbridge, Executive Director, ProVeg UK
Christina Marriott, Chief Executive, Royal Society for Public Health
Paul, Mary, and Stella McCartney, Founders, Meat Free Monday
Ria Rehberg, CEO, Veganuary
John Sauven, Executive Director, Greenpeace UK
Henry Smith MP

The campaign is also supported by The Meatless Farm Company, Dale Vince OBE, founder of Ecotricity and school meals company Little Green Devils, and Quorn Foods, a key player in meat-free school meals.

Add Your Name

Join us! Ask the secretary of state for education to remove mandatory servings of meat, fish, and dairy from the School Food Standards.