The Pamela Anderson Foundation
February 17, 2016
The Honorable John Bel Edwards
Governor of Louisiana
Dear Governor Edwards,
Congratulations on your new post. I have been following your admirable efforts to resolve the state's budget crisis and wanted to make a suggestion. As Louisiana is the "prison capital of the world," you could save over half a million dollars a year and improve your inmates' health by serving nutritious vegan meals in state correctional facilities.
If you left meat off menus in the 12 state-run prisons, Louisiana taxpayers would save as much as $620,000 a year. Beans, rice, lentils, pasta, potatoes and other vegetables, and oranges and other fruits have all the nutrients a person needs but at a fraction of the price of meats and cheeses. There would also be enormous savings on freezer costs and spoilage, since most vegan foods and ingredients can be shipped and stored without refrigeration.
These huge tax savings are based on the $273,000 in reduced costs reported by the Maricopa County Jail in Arizona, when it switched to all-vegetarian food for its 8,000 inmates. Last year, I went there with representatives of PETA to serve lunch to the prisoners and can report that they were impressed by the freshness and quality of the food. If Louisiana follows Arizona's lead in switching to meat-free meals in jail, I'd be happy to inaugurate the program by helping cook and serve lunch to the inmates.
Numerous top studies have shown that a plant-based diet significantly reduces the risk of obesity and cancer and can even reverse heart disease and diabetes. Vegan meals would decrease prisoner health-care costs and have a significant beneficial impact on Louisiana, given that the state has the third-highest obesity rate in the nation.
It's heartening to know that as governor, you plan to reform Louisiana's correctional system. I hope you use this suggestion as one way of achieving that end, while also addressing the state's budget crisis. PETA and I would be happy to work with your team, as we did in Arizona, to create a low-cost meal plan for your correctional facilities. I hope to have the opportunity to help you launch it.
Honorary PETA Director