Jamie Raskin and 31 Different Congress Members Push for Meatless Meals at All Federal Services

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A letter despatched to President Joe Biden by Congressman Jamie Raskin (D-MA) and 31 different United States Home of Representatives members urges for not less than one vegetarian entrée at each federal facility throughout the nation. The letter asks for a meatless meal to be a requirement for federal services starting from museums to nationwide parks to army bases. 

The Congress members are asking the White Home to implement this variation for myriad causes, together with to supply extra entry for presidency workers and guests to federal services to plant-based meals that assist curb diseases similar to Kind 2 diabetes, weight problems, and coronary heart illness, whereas on the similar time lowering the nation’s carbon footprint. Within the letter, the Congress members cited statistics from the Environmental Safety Company that present animal agriculture is a major contributor to greenhouse gasoline emissions. 

“An increasing number of People are involved in vegetarian choices—particularly youthful People, who’re searching for out more healthy choices that additionally scale back their carbon footprint,” the lawmakers wrote. “Though the Meals Service Pointers for Federal Services recommends that federal services ‘provide protein meals from crops’ and defines an entrée as ‘meat’ or ‘meat alternate,’ vegetarian entrées are nonetheless not routinely supplied at federal services … To assist make sure the federal authorities is main by its personal meals practices, we urge you to make a vegetarian entrée out there in all places the federal authorities is serving our individuals a meal.”

The Congress members deliberately despatched their demand letter forward of the White Home Convention on Starvation, Vitamin and Well being, an occasion in September when the Biden Administration will map out its technique to alleviate starvation, enhance vitamin, and improve bodily exercise throughout the nation.  

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Vegan meals on federal menus

Individually from the Congress members’ letter, a push for vegan meals on army menus is underway, as nicely. In June, animal-rights group Mercy For Animals (MFA) launched findings from a survey it performed which discovered {that a} majority of US army members wished entry to plant-based meals, significantly ready-made meals (or MREs).

Since then, Congress members have made amendments to the 2023 Nationwide Protection Authorization Act (NDAA) to encourage the army to discover plant-based meals on menus. Home Consultant Elissa Slotkin (D-MI) submitted a provision that checks plant-based meat choices on not less than two Naval bases to find out the demand for such choices and the feasibility in implementing them throughout extra bases. This program is about to start by March 1, 2023.

Individually, Consultant Ro Khanna (D-CA) pushed forth an modification to the NDAA that can discover plant-based MREs inside the US army as a complete. The modification requires the Protection Logistics Company of the Division of Protection to generate a report that features a examine of service member preferences, a feasibility examine into the manufacturing of plant-based MREs, and a proposed plan to create and provide plant-based MREs to energetic service members. This report is due on September 30, 2023.

Army services and different federal cafeterias may see extra vegetarian meals sooner ought to the White Home heed the decision of the letter submitted by Raskin and 31 Congress members. 


Jamie Raskin’s vegetarian journey

Jamie Raskin’s management within the effort to get a meatless meal on each federal facility menu is knowledgeable by his personal expertise with a vegetarian weight-reduction plan. The Congressman adopted a meatless weight-reduction plan for one week in 2009 through the first ever Attempt Veg Week—organized by Animal Outlook (recognized then as “Compassion Over Killing”)—in Takoma Park, MD, whereas he was serving as a State Senator in Maryland. 

Finally, he determined to keep it up for numerous causes. On the time, Raskin advised VegNews that consuming vegetarian meals not solely made him really feel bodily higher however got here with environmental advantages, too. “It additionally made me really feel higher politically as a result of I lastly lined up my menu with my morals,” Raskin stated. “I’ve seen what the poultry business has executed to the Chesapeake Bay and I’m glad to not be implicated personally within the persevering with contamination of our most treasured estuary by advantage of consuming hen nuggets daily.”

Raskin’s son, Tommy Raskin, was by his aspect when he went vegetarian in 2009. Tommy Raskin ultimately grew to become a vegan animal-rights activist and in 2017, he shared a poem he wrote, titled The place Warfare Begins, throughout AO’s DC VegFest that touched on the interconnectedness of all beings and their shared struggling by the hands of exploitation. 

Tragically, Tommy Raskin died by suicide on the age of 25 on the finish of 2020 however his legacy and animal-rights activism will endlessly be remembered and carried on. After his loss of life, the Raskin household arrange the Tommy Raskin Memorial Fund for Folks and Animals, which is able to distribute funds on a semi-annual foundation to the charities and causes closest to the activist’s coronary heart, together with Oxfam, Give Straight, the Helen Keller Institute, and AO.

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