The international campaign "Meatless Monday" recently came to public schools in the small town of Dripping Springs, Tx.
"Meatless Monday" simply means that students won't eat meat for one day out of the week.
The school district's three elementary school campuses served cheese pizza, bean burritos, vegetarian chili, nachos and other non-meat food on Monday, which the kids gave high marks (video below).
"The cheese sauce is made with real cheese," John Crowley, director of Dripping Springs ISD's Child Nutrition Services, told KVUE. "It comes from Land O' Lakes, and it actually has incredible value as a protein product."
"With more parents and kids asking for vegetarian choices, we just decided to give it a try in Dripping Springs for a year," added Crowley. "We're definitely not against meat. This is a pilot program we've decided to try this year and see how our kids do with it."
However, Texas Agricultural Commissioner Todd Staples wrote in the Austin American- Statesman:
Restricting children’s meal choice to not include meat is irresponsible and has no place in our schools. This activist movement called "Meatless Mondays" is a carefully-orchestrated campaign that seeks to eliminate meat from Americans’ diets seven days a week — starting with Mondays.
For those Texans who choose not to eat meat, I say more power to you. If you want to take the personal challenge to go meatless on Mondays, go right ahead. However, we cannot force such an agenda-driven diet on anyone who has not chosen such a diet — especially our school children.
However, there is no actual danger to the kids if they don't eat meat one day a week at school.
Kids in the Dripping Springs school district are allowed to bring their meat-filled lunch to school on Monday.
The South San Francisco Unified school district in California also recently joined the "Meatless Monday" movement.
While district officials say it improves students' nutrition and raises awareness on the real suffering animals go through to become meals, Janet Riley, senior vice president for the American Meat Institute, told the San Francisco Chronicle: "As a parent, I want my children to have options at school. I don't want the school to take away my sons' access to the complete protein that meat represents."
Of course, kids are free to eat meat at home or bring their own lunches.
"By going meat free just one day a week we can prevent some of this animal suffering," stated Kristie Middleton, food policy manager for the Humane Society.