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Scientists have published an open letter – which they have sent to mayors around the world – calling for less meat and more plant-based foods to be served in public canteens like schools and hospitals.
The 65 scientists, who come from multiple countries, say implementing these measures are necessary ‘in order to maintain a safe climate and planet for the future of humanity’ due to the high footprint of livestock products.
In addition, they say putting more plant-based foods on the menu could help prevent global deaths from malnutrition.
“To create a future that is healthy for both citizens and the planet, we call on mayors today to reduce meat in the meals served in our public canteens and to increase plant-based foods,” says the letter, which also highlights the damage impact dairy production has on the planet.
“City leaders play a crucial role in advancing innovative solutions that improve the well-being of citizens while contributing to maintaining a safe climate and planet for future generations.
“One such form of innovative solutions relate to urban food policies, which offer win-win options to improve public health in urban centers and at the same time greatly contribute to reducing climate emissions both in rural and urban areas.”
The scientists cite examples of city mayors who have already put these kinds of policies in place, including New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.
The pair recently announced that more than 1.1 million students will have a vegetarian meal every week as all 1,700 NYC public schools will serve meatless meals every Monday.
Under similar schemes in Lille in France and Veracruz in Mexico, children are served plant-based and meat-free meals at least one day per week.