COVID-19

French farmers protest taking meat off Lyon school lunch menu

John Laurenson Mar 30, 2021
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Farmers protested the meat ban with a banner reading "Stop ideology in our plates." Olivier Chassignole/AFP via Getty Images
COVID-19

French farmers protest taking meat off Lyon school lunch menu

John Laurenson Mar 30, 2021
Heard on:
Farmers protested the meat ban with a banner reading "Stop ideology in our plates." Olivier Chassignole/AFP via Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
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Farmers in France have been demonstrating in front of the Lyon City Hall after its new mayor removed meat from school menus. The farmers came to City Hall with goats, lambs and cattle and a banner read: “Stop ideology in our plates.”

Véronique Laby was among the farmers protesting. She came with some of her cows from her farm just outside the city.

“For me, it’s not a question of eating or not eating meat. It’s a question of liberty, of choice,” she said.

Inside City Hall, the new Green Party Mayor Grégory Doucet declined to be interviewed. His spokeswoman said he didn’t want to feed the controversy. The Green Party espouses environmentalism, but in a written statement, Doucet said he’d taken meat off the menu temporarily because of COVID-19 to allow school canteens to adopt a single menu in order to speed up lunch lines and make social distancing easier.

Laby said she doesn’t buy it.

“No, because I have a children who is going to school — not in Lyon — and the distancing is respected and they eat meat.”

At Claudius Berthelier, one of 129 schools where meat (though not fish or eggs) have been temporarily banned, parent Stephane Pota, speaking in French, said he is upset that his child’s school no longer offers meat.

“It’s a nonsensical decision,” he said. “I was quite angry when I received the email about this from City Hall. Meat is an important source of protein, and our daughter doesn’t much like fish or eggs.”

The mayor has said he plans to restore meat to school canteens when the pandemic’s over, but will introduce a daily vegetarian option next year.

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