The US Department of Defense is closer to offering plant-based provisions to all military personnel.
The move comes after nonprofit Mercy for Animals (MFA) published research findings that overwhelmingly support the addition of vegan meals to the meals-ready-to-eat (MRE) roster.
An amendment to the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) requires Congress to lay bare its proposed plans to accommodate plant-based eaters. A detailed report will be completed by September 30, 2023.
Californian Congressman Ro Khanna is leading the amendment effort.
He has previously been outspoken about the negative impacts of large factory farms. In 2020, he joined forces with vegan Senator Cory Booker and Senator Elizabeth Warren to end the practice by 2040.
Getting vegan food on the active service menu
To push the plant-based agenda through, the NDAA House committee requires the Defense Logistics Agency of the Department of Defense to submit a strategic report.
A feasibility study into the creation and production of meat-free meals is the first step. A proposal for the rollout of said meals to service people will follow after.
Data relating to the dietary preferences of military personnel will be a critical facet. This can be supplied from the MFA survey.
A victory for meat-free military personnel
MFA conducted a survey of 226 active service people. The data revealed a proclivity for dietary choice with 81 percent believing more vegan-friendly options should be freely available. Addressing MRE specifically, 69 percent said there is a need for plant-based nutrition.
“Our service members deserve plant-based food options while serving our country,” Frances Chrzan, Mercy for Animals’ federal policy manager said in a statement.
She added: “Service members usually eat MREs when food sources or cooking facilities are limited, such as in combat.”
“Right now, they have no choice and have to accept MREs with animal products, even though 63 percent of respondents in our survey said they would choose plant-based MREs if given the option. Representative Khanna’s efforts bring them one step closer to having that choice.”
MFA is working closely with the military services to ensure the smooth adoption of plant-based meals.