Democratic New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Monday that all city public school menus will be meatless on Mondays starting with the 2019-20 academic year, WCBS-AM reported.
"Cutting back on meat a little will improve New Yorkers' health and reduce greenhouse gas emissions," de Blasio said, the station said. "We're expanding Meatless Mondays to all public schools to keep our lunch and planet green for generations to come."
The mayor's office said the program will be cost-neutral, WCBS said, adding that it had a trial run in 15 Brooklyn schools in 2018.
'When I was growing up, meat was really a bit of a luxury'
The New York City Department of Education is the largest school system in the U.S. to go with Meatless Mondays, Politico said, adding that the cause also has reached Los Angeles and other cities.
"America kind of reflects the pattern you see replicated around the world," Bob Martin, 66 — a program director at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future and a supporter of the Meatless Mondays campaign — added to Politico. "As we moved up economically, meat became more and more of a centerpiece of the plate. And I think that when I was growing up, meat was really a bit of a luxury."
Martin added to the outlet that mass production of meat have come with "lots of externalized costs ... through either health problems or environmental damage that's not reflected in the meat production price."
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Agriculture produces about a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions, and "intensive meat production is on an unstoppable trajectory comprising the single greatest contributor to climate change," according to a recent report in The Lancet.New York City public schools serve about 880,000 meals daily, the outlet added.
The World Health Organization considers processed meats a carcinogen and red meats a likely carcinogen. The saturated fats in meat are implicated in heart disease and other health problems. People concerned with animal welfare, meanwhile, consider the grim conditions in factory farms a moral offense.