By: Michelle Martinelli, iEG contributor
While several celebrities have jumped on the vegan/vegetarian bandwagon, many opt to simply enjoy the lifestyle instead of the activism route, but not Pamela Anderson.
As a vocal vegan, the former Baywatch star recently took a public service approach to her activism, writing to Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards encouraging him to implement vegan diets in the state’s prisons, according to WDSU News, NBC’s New Orleans affiliate.
In an effort to cut costs and contribute to solving Louisiana’s budget crisis, Anderson asserted the state could save up to $620,000 a year by having its dozen state-run prisons go vegan.
“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,” Anderson wrote. “There would also be enormous savings on freezer costs and spoilage, since most vegan foods and ingredients can be shipped and stored without refrigeration.”
Anderson’s idea isn’t that far-fetched. Her letter cites Maricopa County Jail in Arizona, which switched to all-vegetarian food about two years ago, according to Yahoo News. She claims that the county reported saving more than $250,000 once it switched to a vegetarian diet and suggested Louisiana could be successful as well, while also providing inmates with healthier meal alternatives.
“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,” Anderson wrote. “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 yet to be determined whether Anderson’s crusade will be successful, but few politicians would turn down an opportunity to save a few bucks!
Michelle Martinelli is a graduate student at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, specializing in sports journalism. She received her B.A. at Michigan State University, and has been a vegetarian for 10 years. Currently based in Chicago but will be moving to Washington, D.C. in less than a month. Twitter: @MMartinelli4