Santa Cruz Takes the Veg Pledge

veggiesSANTA CRUZ > County supervisors issue proclamation declaring it ‘VegWeek’

The Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit Compassion Over Killing has designated April 23 through 29 as national “VegWeek,” and Santa Cruz County is taking up the cause.

VegWeek is an annual event aimed at raising awareness about the purported benefits of vegetarianism by urging supporters to give up meat for one week. The Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors showed support for the effort by issuing a proclamation officially declaring this week VegWeek in the county.


The proclamation was signed on Thursday, April 19 by Board of Supervisors Chair John Leopold, who caught wind of the VegWeek campaign after speaking with one of his constituents. In the proclamation, Leopold encourages county residents “to participate by choosing vegetarian foods as a way to protect their health, the planet and animals.” The proclamation also acknowledges that a vegetarian diet can decrease the risk of “heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and various cancers.”

According to the Mayo Clinic, vegetarians generally weigh less and have a reduced risk of heart disease compared to meat eaters. After a century-long increase in meat consumption, Americans may finally be wising up to the benefits of cutting back on steaks and sausage. Last December, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that Americans are eating 12.2 percent less meat than they were five years ago.

Although this is only VegWeek’s fourth annual installment, the campaign is steadily growing each year. VegWeek debuted in Compassion Over Killing’s hometown of Takoma Park, Maryland in 2009. By 2011, VegWeek had grown to include Maryland, Virginia, Washington D.C. and California before taking the national stage this year. Several politicians have publicly taken the pledge, including California Congresswoman Barbara Lee.

To learn more about VegWeek, visit USVegWeek.com.

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