Sir Paul McCartney is backing a call to offer school children more vegan meals.
Together with his daughters, fashion designer Stella McCartney and photographer Mary McCartney, he has signed a letter calling for the guidance to be changed that makes meat, dairy, and fish products mandatory in school meals.
International animal rights group PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) is leading the campaign.
The letter—addressed to the UK’s education secretary Gavin Williamson—is also backed by the Royal Society for Public Health and Greenpeace. It calls for more flexibility in nutritional guidelines and school meal plans.
The McCartneys say it’s time for a change. They said in a joint statement: “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.”
Under the UK school food plan, children must be served meat and poultry three or more times per week, and oily fish should be served on at least one occasion every three weeks.
It also states that dairy should be served daily. Non-dairy protein for vegetarians should be served at least three times per week.
The letter is part of the consultation process for a review of the National Food Strategy, the UK’s food system.
Schools Cut Meat for the Planet
They’re not alone. According to a 2019 PETA poll, 70 percent of British schoolchildren want more plant-based meals to be served at school.
Things are starting to change in the UK. Earlier this year, public sectors pledged to cut 9 million kilograms of meat (a 20 percent reduction) from menus in schools, universities, care homes, and hospitals every year.
In January, Leeds City Council announced it would be introducing a new initiative to serve fewer meat products at 180 primary schools. The move is part of the council’s mission to cut Leeds’ carbon footprint in half by 2025.
According to the report, Leeds students are “taste-testing new environmentally-friendly school dinner menus.”