Think vegetarian eating is expensive? Maricopa County, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio would disagree. In fact, Sheriff Joe recently announced that all jails in Maricopa County will now serve 100 percent meat-free meals, and he expects this menu change to save taxpayers $100,000.
“Little by little this is the first step to going vegetarian. There will be no more meat on the menu,” Sheriff Joe told Fox 10 in Phoenix. He expects the full transition from meat to protein-packed soy-based meals to take a few months.
While Sheriff Joe is clear about the fact that this change is strictly a cost-saving measure, he has publicly spoken out against the cruel, intensive confinement of farmed animals. In 2006, he lent his support to a successful Arizona ballot initiative measure, Proposition 204, which, as of this year, effectively bans the use of veal and gestation crates throughout the state.
Another advantage to eliminating meat from jail menus? The inmates might start seeing some positive health benefits! According to the American Dietetic Association, vegetarians tend to have a lower body mass index, lower overall cancer rates, lower blood pressure, and a lower risk of death from ischemic heart disease.