PETA praises Sheriff Joe's move to meat-free jail food - FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com

PETA praises Sheriff Joe's move to meat-free jail food

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MCSO's new vegetarian jail food MCSO's new vegetarian jail food
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PHOENIX -

A week after we first reported Sheriff Joe Arpaio is no longer serving meat to his inmates, an animal rights group called for the same thing to be done at prisons across Arizona.

We first took you inside MCSO's jail kitchen last week to show you the new vegetarian menu.

In fact, Sheriff Joe even sampled some of the new fare.

"This is soy bean casserole right here. Good!" he said.

The sheriff says going to a meatless menu for his inmates will save taxpayers $120,000 a year -- and claims it's a healthier diet for inmates.

"It's a good diet, they still get their 2,800 calories. They may not like it, I'm sure they don't like it. But you know what, if they don't like it, don't go to jail," said Arpaio.

The menu change has received a lot of attention since our first story aired. In fact, it caught the eye of PETA, who praised the decision to go vegetarian.

"And as soon as we heard about it, we thought -- wow. Maricopa County is setting a great example for other correctional systems by implementing vegetarian meals for prisoners," said spokesperson for PETA Lindsay Rajt.

She says the organization sent a letter to the Arizona Department of Corrections asking them to also consider making the switch to a vegetarian-only meal option.

"We certainly hope that they'll take us up on that -- and that they will take us up on our offer of offering up a vegan chef free of charge to help them transition the system over to vegan meals."

In a statement to FOX 10, Bill Lamoreaux with the Arizona Department of Corrections said they provide nearly 120,000 meals a day to prison inmates.

He says vegetarian and vegan options are available, and will remain a part of the department's menu options.

Related story: Cost saving measure: No meat on the menu at Sheriff Arpaio's MCSO jails

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