Oregon House Representative Marty Wilde recently introduced House Bill 2348, proposed legislation that seeks to add plant-based meal options to all Oregon hospitals, long-term care facilities, and prisons and ban processed meat such as bacon, hot dogs, and pepperoni from hospitals. Wilde told local media outlet Eugene Weekly that the proposed bill is intended to give patients and prisoners fully plant-based choices that align with their ethical, religious, and health requirements. The bill proposes that such meals are clearly marked as “plant-based” and do not come at an extra cost. After some pushback from critics, Wilde plans to include an amendment to House Bill 2348 that makes processed meat available to hospital patients only by request. In 2019, Wilde sponsored similar legislation, House Bill 3342, but it was rejected by the state’s Senate.
Plant-based in prisons and hospitals
Other state and city governments have made efforts to reduce the amount of animal products served to patients and inmates in an effort to provide more nutritious meals. Last August, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted to dramatically reduce the number of animal products served in jails and hospitals citywide. The new law requires the city jails to slash their purchasing of animal products, including meat, dairy, and eggs, by 50 percent by 2024. At public hospitals, the amount of animal products purchased must be reduced by 15 percent by 2023. Similarly, New York state passed a law in 2019 that requires hospitals to make available plant-based meals and snacks to patients and ensures that hospitals list the vegan options on all written materials and menus.
On a national level, a coalition of non-profit organizations—namely, The Humane Society of the United States, Oldways, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, Health Care Without Harm, and Meatless Monday—began working together last February to assure hospital patients across the United States are provided with plant-based meal options to help combat illness such as diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.