As more and more people are opting for plant-based diet around the world, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), India, on behalf of a group of 15 doctors and nutritionists, suggested all-vegan food for midday meals in schools. They urged that midday meal programmes in schools should have only healthy plant-based foods. As per an IANS report, PETA India has sent letters to all the state and union territory education ministries, along with informative brochures explaining the health dangers of meat, egg, and dairy consumption. It is further reported that health advocacy group Sanctuary for Health and Reconnection to Animals and Nature also sent a similar appeal.
The group of doctors, in the brochure, linked a bevy of health concerns with consumption of animal-based foods. Some of the health concerns include diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and certain cancers. It explains that eggs, cow milk and similar types of foods cause several food-borne illnesses as antibiotic residues can be found in them. Whereas, fruits, vegetables whole grains et al are relatively more nutritious. They are packed with several nutrients (vitamins and minerals, free of cholesterol) and low in saturated fat, the brochure revealed. The brochure also spoke about foods which are vegan and affordable and often contain more protein or calcium than eggs or cow milk.
The brochure also cites the World Health Organization's statement, which read that half of all cases of malnutrition are "linked to diarrhoea and intestinal parasites, often stemming from unsanitary conditions, and that the key to addressing malnutrition lies in ensuring hygienic conditions - not in giving kids foods like eggs and cow milk, which can make them even sicker".
"Wholly plant-powered lunches would keep kids well-fed and energised and also prevent countless sensitive animals from suffering and being easier on the environment," said PETA India Vegan Outreach Coordinator Dr Kiran Ahuja, according to the IANS report.
(Also Read: Is veganism an expensive diet in India?)