Letter from J. Patrick Boyle, President and CEO of the American Meat Institute, to Andrés Alonso, CEO of Baltimore City Schools:
Andrés A. Alonso, Ed.D.
Chief Executive Officer
Baltimore City Schools
200 E. North Avenue
Baltimore MD 21202
Dear Dr. Alonso:
I was disturbed to read about your school system's decision to bow to an animal rights organization in holding "Meat Free Mondays." This initiative is sponsored by the Grace Spira Project at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The name Spira refers to Henry Spira, who is widely regarded as one of the most extreme animal rights activists of the 20th century.
To understand the organization to which you are lending support by agreeing to Meatless Mondays, just take a look at the Center's Meatrix Series of videos at www.MeatTrix.com. These videos seek to manipulate and mislead children through a cleverly produced, but factually inaccurate cartoon takeoff of the film "The Matrix." Ultimately, the group seeks an end to the United States’ efficient and advanced food production system that delivers to Americans the most abundant and affordable food supply in the world.
According to your web site, three out of four students in your school system are eligible for free and reduced meals. Did you also know that according to food banks nationwide, meat is the most requested and least available food? The population of children you serve in particular needs the protein and essential vitamins that meat and poultry products offer and school meals may be the only significant source of meat and poultry in their diets. As you know, the U.S. Dietary Guidelines affirm that meat and poultry is an important part of a balanced diet.
Surely you have always offered a vegetarian option on your menu. Now you are removing a meat or poultry entree on Mondays and depriving children and their parents of the ability to determine what is appropriate for their diets and their own personal circumstances.
I am confident that you are concerned not just about the education of your students, but also about their health and nutrition status. I urge you to reconsider this decision and allow children every day that they attend school to access the most nutrient dense food available: meat and poultry products. Your children, in particular, deserve this choice.
I look forward to your response.
J. Patrick Boyle