PETA never misses an opportunity

Posted by Jeremy Shulkin

Never one to miss an opportunity, PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) has tried to use Grafton Street School’s mercury contamination as a teachable moment.

Heather Robbins Drennen, a graduate of Nelson Place school who now works as special assistant to the executive vice president for PETA, sent a letter to Mary McKiernan, the principal of Grafton Street Elementary School, asking her to take the next step in mercury removal: to stop serving fish in the cafeteria.

From the letter:

I urge you, in light of Grafton Street School’s recent mercury scare, not to overlook the most common source of mercury in schools: fish served in cafeterias. Won’t you please protect your students from mercury poisoning and be kind to animals by pledging to leave fish off Grafton Street School’s lunch menu?

The full letter, after the jump.

Dear Principal McKiernan,

On behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), the world’s largest animal rights organization, with more than 2 million members and supporters, including hundreds in Worcester, I urge you, in light of Grafton Street School’s recent mercury scare, not to overlook the most common source of mercury in schools: fish served in cafeterias. Won’t you please protect your students from mercury poisoning and be kind to animals by pledging to leave fish off Grafton Street School’s lunch menu?

Serving fish in the cafeteria could cause students to flounder in the classroom. Scientists at the Harvard School of Public Health have found that eating mercury-contaminated fish flesh can cause heart damage and irreversible impairment to brain function in children. The Wall Street Journal reported on 10-year-old Matthew Davis, whose blood-mercury level was almost twice the EPA’s safety limit and who was struggling in school until he stopped eating canned tuna for lunch. Numerous other studies have found high levels of mercury and other toxic chemicals (including DDT, PCBs, and dioxin, which have been linked to cancer, nervous system disorders, and fetal damage) in farmed fish as well as lake and ocean fish. Nutrients like Omega-3’s and protein can be found in vegan foods, but without the toxins and cholesterol in fish.

Not only is eating fish toxic, it’s also cruel. Kids would lose their lunch if they knew how fish suffer before they end up on their cafeteria trays. Fish are painfully hooked through their sensitive mouths or dragged in nets before being suffocated or cut open while still alive. Farmed fish are crammed together in feces-filled, antibiotic-laden tanks or cages, where chronic sea lice often eat their faces down to the bone. This abuse continues despite scientific evidence showing that fish are intelligent animals who feel pain.

I’d be happy to put your culinary team in touch with chefs who can help you implement a delicious and healthy lunch menu that contains none of the contaminants or cruelty found in fish and other animal-derived products. As a Worcester school system alum, I hope to hear that Grafton Street School will implement a fish-free lunch policy for the sake of the kids and fish.

Sincerely,

Heather Robbins Drennan

Special Assistant to the Executive Vice President

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “PETA never misses an opportunity

  1. That’s why mom always packed us a lunch.

    Maybe if parents took some responsibility for their kids instead of pushing it off on taxpayers.

    Idea for a new school ordinance. Kids must bring a lunch to school. Those kids living within two miles of their school, must walk. And walking is mandatory for all fat kids regardless of where they live. Parents caught driving their fat kids to school will be penalized by having to give em piggybacks to school for 30 school days. That’s called sharing the burden.

    Let’s ask the school committee about it’s feasibility. Hey, Tracy Novick give us your informed opinion. Opps, she’s still watching Oprah.

    Or maybe Councilor Toomey? Whata ya say? No Tweeting your response.

  2. From school nutrition (and I quote):
    Fish may be served at the pre-plate schools (that’s the ones without a kitchen in house) 3x per year (that’s fish sticks).
    The elementary cooking schools may serve it 3-4x per school year, alternating tuna/seafood salad.
    The secondary schools do offer it as one of the options on Fridays, alternating tuna/seafood salad. Students also have a vegetarian entree option and a salad option. Sides are fresh vegetables and fruit.
    The serving size is 2 oz.
    There are numerous unknowns in the food supply, which is one of the reasons we emphasize whole food commodities, such as fresh vegetables/fruits, and, consistent with the USDA meal pattern, try to offer a meal that does not emphasize the protein component.
    (end quote)
    Will, your suggestions are illegal.

  3. Hey Trace!

    They’re aren’t illegal, they’re impermissible per current bureaucratic thinking. So let’s change the rules. Or are they in fact laws?

    Ya changed the menu to yummy stuff, but now kids are gorging themselves on two lunches. Ergo, lots of fatties in the WPS. Got any stats on that? I’m just going by what I see waddling down the streets of Wusta.

    But ya gotta admit, it’d do wonders for the school budget and kid’s waistlines.

    Think… with the savings the WPS might get a few capable teachers to boost test scores. Or is that really a question of having just plain ole stupid kids in the system? Maybe that’s why we got lots of failing schools around town. So no blaming the teachers then?

    Fish sticks eh? Yummy!
    They got like Tartar sauce too?

    PS. How about charging fat kids double the price for school lunches?

    Or making them do an hour of PT daily after school?

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