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Prisons in California may soon have to offer inmates vegan food, is a proposed bill is passed.

The bill, by State Senator Nancy Skinner, says prisons, hospitals and nursing homes should have animal-free meals on the menu, which could meals healthier for both residents and visitors.

According to Skinner: “Whether at school, work or elsewhere, most of us can satisfy our food preferences by bringing a meal from home or preparing one on site; but that choice is rarely available for people in a prison, hospital or nursing facility. [The bill] SB 1138 ensures that a plant-based meal is always available to those in institutional settings.”

Under existing laws, menus have to feature meat-free meals – but plant-based options are not common.

Preferences

Bill Sessi, of the California Department of Corrections, said: “Meals for people with religious preferences, whether it’s Kosher, Islamic or vegetarian. We have many options, but most of our inmates get a standard diet.”

State Senator, Nancy Skinner, added: “Offering plant-based meal options is a great way to give people healthy choices and reduce food-related greenhouse gas emissions.

“But most importantly, I want to make sure we’re being fair and giving those in institutional settings food options that meet their individual needs.”

Campaign

This kind of policy is also sought in the UK, where The Vegan Society is currently campaigning to make vegan food available in public canteens – serving people in establishments like prisons, schools, and hospitals.

According to The Society: “Veganism has been found to come within the scope of international human rights provisions and vegans in the UK are protected under human rights and equality law,” says the Society.

“Therefore vegans should already have the right to suitable, animal-free catering in public sector settings.

“We are now campaigning for tasty, nutritious, appropriate vegan meals on every public sector catering menu every day.”

Maria Chiorando

Maria is the editor of Plant Based News. As a former magazine editor, newspaper reporter, and features writer, her work has been published by The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and various regional newspapers, as well as Vegan Life magazine and Vegan Trade Journal. She has interviewed a huge range of people, from Prime Ministers to authors, activists, pop stars and actors, and enjoys the varied range of topics writing for PBN allows her to tackle.