Ingrid E. Newkirk, president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, sent a letter to the Arizona Department of Corrections this week asking Director Charles L. Ryan to take meat of the menu.
The idea was spurred by Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who recently made that move at his own Maricopa County jails. To be clear, Arpaio says it's a cost-cutting measure, not an effort to spare cows.
Not only does the letter claim that switching to soy could save taxpayers money, the organization also says a vegetarian diet would be a "great way to promote compassion and nonviolence among inmates."
And the best part of the deal is that PETA even offers to pay for a professional chef to work with the department of corrections to implement a new menu.
Excepts from the letter:
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"Switching to plant-based meals is a great way to save money and reduce violence. Vegetarian foods contain all the nutrients that a person needs at a fraction of the cost of meat. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of last month, beans cost $1.43 per pound and pasta cost $1.30 per pound--as opposed to $3.45 per pound for ground beef and $3.60 per pound for chicken. And feeding inmates a vegetarian diet can also save the Department of Corrections (ADC) money on healthcare costs for prisoners since, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, vegetarians are less prone to obesity, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes."
"Feeding inmates bean burritos rather than burgers is a great way to save the ADC money, promote empathy among prisoners, and spare thousands of animals from the horrors of factory farms and slaughterhouses. I would be happy to put you in touch with a professional vegan chef to help you get started with a nonviolent meal program at no cost to the ADC."
Below you can check out a video in which chef Arpaio dons a toque to show the world how he makes his vegetarian prison slop, which might be the most unappetizing "food" we've ever laid eyes on.
No word yet on whether or not the meat-free movement will be spreading to more Arizona correctional facilities but considering that both PETA and Arpaio are known for having such reasonable ideas, we're betting it's only a matter of time.