Dairy-free plea in ethical group’s breakfast appeal

Breakfast time at St John's CE Primary school, Blackpool. From left, Bailey Hoyle (seven), Connor Simpson (seven), Kodie Dawson (seven) and Thomas Wilkinson (six).

Breakfast time at St John's CE Primary school, Blackpool. From left, Bailey Hoyle (seven), Connor Simpson (seven), Kodie Dawson (seven) and Thomas Wilkinson (six).

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The world’s largest animal rights organisation has approached Blackpool Council asking it to consider the use of non-animal products in its free breakfast scheme.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has written to council leader Simon Blackburn asking him to consider providing dairy-free products for children.

The global organisation has cited health benefits in its reasons for providing alternatives such as soya as well as the implications on animal welfare.

PETA’s Mimi Bekhechi wrote: “By offering members of the next generation a healthy and delicious alternative to dairy products, you would also be ... helping them to avoid other harmful side effects of milk and teaching them empathy and compassion.”

The letter cites studies which have found “milk consumption does not improve bone health or reduce the risk of osteoporosis and actually creates other health risks”.

Ms added: “In addition to being more humane than yoghurt from cow’s milk, soy, rice, and nutbased yoghurts are generally lower in fat and calories and contain no cholesterol.

“Furthermore, today’s factory farms condemn millions of cows to sheds for most of their lives, which not only is unethical from an animal-welfare perspective but also has serious negative environmental effects.”

Coun Simon Blackburn, leader of Blackpool Council, has responded to the organisation saying he is “supportive” of the suggestions and will ask officers to look into the “practicalities” of it.

He told The Gazette: “I am grateful to PETA for their letter and have replied to them.

“I have now asked officers to look into the benefits of their suggestions.”

Speaking as he announced plans to consider continuing the scheme, Coun Blackburn said it was “not for politicians to pretend to be nutritionists” and that decisions on the content offered would be made by council officers working with staff from the NHS.

A final decision on the future of the scheme will be made at a Council Executive meeting today.

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