Let them eat legumes. That’s the gist of actress Pamela Anderson’s pitch to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, to help the environment, and save taxpayers more than a quarter million dollars.
In a letter to Trudeau, Anderson—who is Canadian—says banning meat and milk from the prison menu will do a lot for the environment. Instead of meat and cheese, prisoners can eat beans, rice, lentils, pasta, veggies and fruit. As a bonus, most vegan foods don’t require refrigeration, which saves money too.
In her letter, she writes that “a vegan meal plan can help the planet, too since raising animals for food damages the environment more than just about anything else that we do… Canada could be a true leader in saving our planet for future generations.” She frames it as a “simple but effective way to reduce costs and improve lives.”
The plea is part of her work with the animal-rights lobby group PETA. She points to the new Canada Food Guide, which this year killed the long-standing “meat” category and renamed it “protein foods.” Her plan lines up with that shift.
Anderson’s letter also mentions a recent UN report report that urges everyone to transform their diets and eat less meat to avoid a full-blown climate crisis and global food shortages.
According to Statistics Canada, there are nearly 40,000 incarcerated adults across the country. But only 35 percent, or 14,129 adults, are in federal prisons—the other 24,657 inmates, or nearly 65 percent, are in provincial or territorial jails.
Based on Anderson’s math, switching all of Canada’s inmates to vegan diets would save taxpayers $273,000. But that would involve getting provincial leaders on board. That might be a tough sell considering most of Canada’s premiers are conservative (do you think that Ontario’s Doug Ford and Alberta’s Jason Kenney would go for this?).
PETA wrote VICE via email adding that this proposal isn’t about partisan politics, “it’s about cost saving, which is about as conservative as you can get, and it’s about health, which is in everyone’s interest to preserve, and kindness, which one hopes the liberals don’t have a monopoly on.”
This isn't the first time Anderson has waded into the political arena. She has moved back to Canada and lent her star power to the Canadian federal election. Earlier this month, she hit the campaign trail for the Green Party, handing out vegan meals and encouraging people to vote in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside neighbourhood. She also showed up to a Green Party town hall in Nanaimo, British Columbia, this summer.
Anderson congratulated Trudeau for winning a second term in her letter. The Prime Minister’s Office told VICE via email that it has “no comment” on this matter.
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