Navy may be required to serve vegan meat on some bases

A provision inserted into the House version of the 2023 defense budget bill could require the Navy to serve Beyond Burgers or Gardein at a number of forward bases.

The amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2023 would create a pilot program by March 2023 to provide “vegetable protein options” at at least two Navy forward operating bases.

The Secretary of the Navy would identify at least two forward Navy facilities for the pilot effort and be tasked with prioritizing bases “where cattle-based protein options can be expensive to obtain or stockpile,” the statement said. ‘amendment.

It specifically mentions the joint region Marianas, Guam; Naval Support Facility Diego Garcia, Indian Ocean; and US Fleet Activities Sasebo, Japan, as examples of such bases.

The program would last three years, depending on the language. After this period, the Secretary of the Navy would submit a report to the House and Senate Armed Services Committees including the following data:

  • The rate of consumption of vegetable protein options by seafarers at the pilot program bases.
  • Effective criteria for increasing vegan meat offerings at other Navy bases.
  • And a comparative analysis of the costs of buying, storing and serving vegetable protein versus regular meat.

The amendment was introduced by Rep. Elissa Slotkin, a Michigan Democrat who worked at the State Department, Central Intelligence Agency and Department of Defense before her election to Congress in 2019.

It picks up on a separate resolution introduced by Slotkin in 2021, which clarifies that base troops participating in the pilot would still have access to animal products and that vegan options would only be an additional offering.

The language and structure of the study also focuses on the cost of shipping and keeping meat at remote or distant bases.

Nonetheless, some House Republicans decry the proposal as an example of the liberal agenda infiltrating military issues.

Rep. Lauren Boebert, a Colorado Republican who originally voted against the 2022 defense budget bill due to what she described as “liberal woke garbage” within it, has proposed an amendment to cancel Slotkin’s vegan meat proposal. The move was first reported by the US Navy Association.

Texas Republican Chip Roy called out the vegan meat proposal in the 2021 defense bill, including it in a Twitter feed explaining why he too voted against.

“A woke army that conscripts our daughters, wastes resources on Green New Deal garbage, holds no one responsible for the catastrophe in Afghanistan, and prioritizes left-wing politics over the destruction of our enemies,” he said. he wrote in the thread. “Rep. Roy voted no.

The Department of Defense, however, has more reason to pursue cost-cutting measures in catering halls now than before.

On Wednesday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that inflation hit a 40-year high of 9.1% over the past year. While rising energy prices are a major driver of rising costs, meat prices have risen faster and more than other food staples, climbing more than 15% year over year. ‘other.

In places like Guam and Diego Garcia, where many basic groceries are imported, food costs for perishables have long been high. A pound of chicken in Guam averages $9 right now; a gallon of milk costs over $11.

To hear the vegan lobby tell it, the troops have been calling for more plant-based options for a while.

Activist group Mercy for Animals found that 81% of 226 soldiers surveyed wanted more access to plant-based foods, including vegan, ready-to-eat meals, although only 3.5% of respondents said they were vegans. And while it’s hardly scientific, the Air Force found enough interest in vegan protein options that it began offering them, even without a congressional mandate.

In 2019, the service announced a partnership with burger chain BurgerFi that would bring the popular vegan Beyond Burger to food courts on bases; individual facilities, such as Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina, have also taken steps to add vegan options in military dining halls.

The Coast Guard has looked into vegan offerings at facilities such as the Coast Guard Training Center in Yorktown, Va., which has received praise from PETA for its efforts.