The mayor of Chevigny-Saint-Sauveur has announced his intention to ban alternative meals that do not contain pork in schools in a hope to promote secularism.
L’Express reports that mayor Michel Rotger, who is a member of the Republican party in France, said the move would not only promote secularism but also save the government money as alternative meals lead to a lot of wastage.
“We are putting an operation in place so the children eat everything and their diets are balanced. There is too much waste so we will teach them to eat meat, be it poultry or pork,” said the mayor.
A letter was sent to parents of the children that attend schools in the town (of which the population is roughly 10,000) to inform them of the proposal. The letter states that menus with pork products included would promote “ideas of secularism” and the only people who may opt out are those with medical allergies.
“Today, we are talking about secularism in a generally anti-Muslim way,” argued Paul Garrigue who is president of a group that contains associations such as Amnesty International and the League of Human Rights according to L’Express.
“We see secularism as a tool of tolerance and living together and not exclusion,” he said, adding that pupils that refuse to eat pork should feel “at ease.”
According to L’Express Rotger is following the recommendations of the Association of Mayors of France (AMF) which, in 2015, called for elected officials to promote values of secularism and dismiss “denominational menus.”
According to Breitbart, the issue of pork in schools has been debated for years in France and other European countries. French mayor of Sargé-lès-Le-Mans said in 2014 that menus in schools should feature “pork or nothing.”
On the other side of the debate, Breitbart reports that a school in Islington, UK, has banned pork from its lunch menu since 2011.
The ban was initiated due to the large Muslim population in the area but came under fire in 2015 when critics said students should have a choice.