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Arts and Entertainment

Pamela Anderson Advocated For Vegan Lunch Options At An LAUSD Board Meeting

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Who says five-hour school board meetings are boring? Former Baywatch star and longtime animal rights activist Pamela Anderson took the stage during Tuesday's LAUSD board meeting to advocate for a regular vegan meal option on the menu at the nation's second-largest school district. It was, as the L.A. School Report described it, an only-in-L.A. moment—it was nearly 9 p.m., and the room had cleared, with "almost as many people up on the horseshoe dais as there were watching." School Board President Steve Zimmer was joking "about seeming a bit loopy because his cold medicine was kicking in." And then things got exciting, as "a blur of diverse people marched down the aisle of the auditorium," led by none other than Anderson herself.

Anderson, whose children attended Malibu schools, was there representing "Healthy Freedom," a campaign to get a daily vegan option on the menu at every LAUSD school. The school district has participated in "Meatless Mondays" since 2013, and they currently offer a daily vegetarian option at breakfast and lunch, though advocates complain the veggie options are heavy on mac-and-cheese and grilled cheese sandwiches.

She spoke about how although she was able to pack lunches for her children while they were attending LAUSD schools, many families don't have that luxury, and advocated for the district to support Healthy Freedom and introduce a daily vegan option on their menus."As a mother, it was important to me to be here because we are presented with a unique opportunity to help this generation of young people become more compassionate, be kinder to the environment, and make healthier lifestyle choices," she said. "Kids today are appalled to learn that animals killed for cheeseburgers and chicken nuggets live crowded by the thousands in dark, filthy sheds, are mutilated, and are slaughtered by having their throats slit while they are still conscious."

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Anderson made a powerful case for the financial, ethical and health reasons for why LAUSD should offer its 600,000 students a daily vegan option, but the real star of the evening was fourteen-year-old Lila Copeland. The middle school student and vegan activist not only began the Healthy Freedom campaign, but also organized the evening's presentation and corralled a panel of experts to speak. Copeland, who is youth director of Earth Peace Foundation, also supplied vegan hot lunch samples from Gardein for the board, which Copeland's mother told LAist "went over amazingly."

The whole meeting can be seen below (Anderson's speech starts at about 5:10:00)