At a meeting which took place Tuesday this week, after activism by animal rights group Direct Action Everywhere, or DxE; the Berkeley City Council voted to shift 50% of its current food expenses from animal-based to plant-based before 2024, and in addition has committed to fully omitting animal products as a long term goal.
The progressive city will commence the serving of vegan meals at facilities such as public events, jails, and care homes once per week in the style of Meatless Mondays, in an effort to cut carbon emissions and inhumane animal practices. DxE is working for similar policies to be enacted in other cities such as San Francisco and Chicago. The group had initially pushed for a 100% plant based policy but the officials were not ready at this stage for such a leap. The agreement does not include schools, which are operated independently.
The efforts were led by Almira Tanner, who stated, “Today’s resolution is a powerful statement affirming the inner voice of decent people of conscience […] “This industry is immensely powerful, but it’s no match for ordinary, passionate people who come together to take collective action,” Tanner said in the email. “This is only the beginning.”
The two groups agreed that the city can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve public health through the shift towards plant-based catering. The resolution states: “Streamlining the City of Berkeley’s transition to plant-forward and plant-based meals advances the City’s Strategic Plan Priority of being a global leader in addressing climate change, advancing environmental justice, and protecting the environment and supports the Climate Action Plan goal that a majority of food consumed in Berkeley be produced locally.”