Berkeley orders vegan meals at public events, buildings

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BERLIN, GERMANY – JANUARY 25: A vegan doner plate is pictured at vegan bistro Voener on January 25, 2018 in Berlin, Germany. Voener offers classic fast food dishes such as burger, doener kebab and currywurst in a vegan version. Since vegan and vegetarian food is a growing trend, more and more stores are specializing in pure herbal products as an alternative to conventional food. (Photo by Steffi Loos/Getty Images)

BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) — The city of Berkeley will start serving vegan food at public events, jails, senior centers and other city buildings after the city council approved an ordinance that calls for the progressive city to cut by half its spending on animal-based products by 2024.

The first-of-its-kind measure approved Tuesday and co-authored by Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín requires the city to offer plant-based foods, including vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds at public buildings.

It is the result of advocacy efforts by the Berkeley-based animal rights group Direct Action Everywhere, or DxE, which is working for similar policies to be enacted in other major cities, including San Francisco and Chicago.

The group had advocated for the city to serve 100% plant-based food but city officials did not want to go that far.

The ordinance does not apply to schools, which are operated by an independent school district.

Cutting meat and dairy consumption is part of the city’s efforts to fight climate change by cutting greenhouse gas emissions, according to the resolution.

Berkeley has spearheaded several environmental measures, including being the first city in the country to ban natural gas lines from new buildings in 2019.

The city was also the first in the county to implement a trash recycling program in the 1970s.

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