The University of Waterloo’s School of Public Health and Health Systems (SPHSS) has announced its support for the growing global Meatless Mondays movement, receiving praise from Humane Society International/Canada.
The school will encourage campus dining operations to expand and promote Meatless Monday menu options and will promote the effort on social media. It is the first public health school in Canada to embrace Meatless Mondays.
Gabriel Wildgen, campaign manager with HSI/Canada said: “We are thrilled with this act of leadership from SPHSS. Meatless Mondays benefit everyone by improving public health and protecting the environment and, as more and more Canadians opt to reduce the amount of animal products in their diets, countless animals are spared from the cruel conditions of factory farms.”
Dr. Sharon Kirkpatrick, nutrition researcher with SPHSS said: “Given the focus of the University of Waterloo’s School of Public Health and Health Systems on seeking solutions to the major challenges of our time, we are enthusiastic about supporting the Meatless Mondays initiative. This initiative is a means of drawing attention to the profound impact of our eating patterns on the health of both the population and the planet. By choosing plant-based meals and snacks one day a week, the members of our campus community and beyond can promote their own health while also reducing their impact on our eco-system. We encourage eateries on campus and in the Waterloo Region to support this initiative by expanding and promoting their offerings of healthy and delicious meatless options.”
Meatless Monday was originally introduced by the U.S. government as a means to conserve resources during World Wars I and II. In 2003, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in association with the Monday Campaigns revived it to reduce meat consumption to improve public health and the health of the planet.
Several Canadian post-secondary schools have already adopted Meatless Mondays in their campus food service operations, including the British Columbia Institute of Technology, Capilano University, Dalhousie, Langara College, McGill, Queens, and Trinity Western. In the United States, more than 125 K-12 school districts (some of which include more than 1,000 individual schools), more than 80 universities and 40 hospitals have adopted Meatless Monday programs.
Humane Society International/Canada encourages observing the Three R’s of eating: “reducing” or “replacing” consumption of animal products, and “refining” our diets by choosing products from sources that adhere to higher animal welfare standards.
- Eating a diet more rich in plant-based foods has been shown to reduce risk of heart and cardiovascular disease, and stroke. Eating plant-based diets, especially those low in processed meat, can reduce risk of type 2 diabetes. One reason for this is that plant-based diets can help maintain a healthy weight, which helps guard against diabetes.
- Aramark, one of the world’s largest food service companies, makes Meatless Monday options available to its clients, including universities and hospitals.
- Public figures, celebrities and athletes—including Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres, Paul McCartney, Ricky Martin, Russell Brand, James Cameron, Ellie Goulding, NFL’s Griff Whalen, Pamela Anderson, Ryan Gosling and more—have touted the advantages of eating less meat.
- The production of animals for meat, eggs and milk is a major contributor to climate change, and according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization it accounts for almost 15 percent of human-induced greenhouse gas emissions.
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