Taiwan’s Meat-Free Monday organization announces it recently succeeded in inviting over 100 political candidates to sign its Veg-Friendly pledge, which asked candidates to support Meat-Free Days at Taiwanese schools. Following the election results, a total of 48 veg-friendly candidates have been elected.
“The policy can bring real benefits to school kids and not become a mere slogan”
According to Meat Free Monday Taiwan, it launched the “I’m willing to be a veg-friendly candidate” pledge as a last-minute special campaign just prior to the Nov. 26th election for local mayors and councilors. The pledge invites candidates to support and promote better access to healthy plant-based meals across the country’s schools.
Organizers say that, despite the tight schedule, the response was swift, and more than 100 candidates signed the pledge in just 5 days. Chang Yu-chuan, organizer of “Meat-Free Monday Taiwan” notes that 14 county mayors (14% of the total 95 candidates) and 101 council candidates (6% of the total 1636 candidates) joined the pledge.
Comparing the number of political party seats among elected candidates, the veg-friendly mayors accounted for 13.6%, and veg-friendly councilors for 5.3%. As a result, Meat Free Monday says, the number of elected veg-friendly officials is now equivalent in size to the third-largest party in Taiwan.
Better plant-based meals
For students, the Meat Free initiative would mean access to one healthy veggie meal per week. Meat-Free Monday has already been in place in Taiwan for many years, but organizers say the measure, which was strictly a voluntary guideline, never received strong support and few schools participated.
In response, the Life Conservationist Association has advanced two specific measures: increasing the school meal budget and offering plant-based cooking training courses. Such measures are intended to help foodservice operators prepare delicious meals that children will enjoy, while decreasing the amount of leftovers.
Of the country’s schools, Meat-Free Monday Taiwan indicates that Taichung City (99% of schools) and Tainan City (100%) have the best implementation status nationwide. In those areas, the organization says that school lunch regulations have been revised at the local level, which highlights the importance of local government involvement.
The organization states: “High-quality and delicious veg meals can improve health, reduce government financial expenditure, and contribute to the earth’s environmental protection. It is very necessary for local councils to understand the actual situation in school lunch procurement and eliminate difficulties, so that the policy can bring real benefits to school kids and not become a mere slogan.”