According to a new survey from the animal protection group Mercy for Animals (MFA), the majority of US military members want vegan ready-to-eat meals. The study, involving 226 service members from across both rank and military branches of the US army, shows that 81% believe the military should provide more plant-based options, 69 % said there needed to be plant-based MREs (ready-to-eat meals), and more than 50% said that they would choose plant-based MREs over animal-based ones if given the option.

Of the 226 surveyed, 58.4% were omnivores; 23.5% were reducetarians (those who called themselves omnivores trying to reduce consumption of one or more animal products), 5.3 % were flexitarian, 7.5% were vegetarian, 3.5 % identified as vegans, and 1.8 % as pescatarians. 52% indicated that plant-based foods are healthier and 51% said that plant-based foods raise energy levels better than animal-based foods. It is interesting to see that there are more vegans than pescatarians in the sample, which is a good sign (although the sample is small). 

Dr Courtney Dillard, MFA’s social change researcher, said: “Our research suggests service members are aware of the nutritional and environmental impact of their food choices. As the US military continues to seek ways to best support the overall health and diverse needs of its loyal service members, we’re calling on lawmakers to require all branches of the military to provide plant-based MRE options.”

Currently, only 17% of MREs provided to the army are vegetarian, while no vegan MREs are available. Therefore, ethical vegans who work in the USA army have been discriminated against, as they would not be able to eat any of the MRE meals. Mercy For Animals is calling on authorities to support the creation of plant-based options for MREs through the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) process. The public can also join them via a petition

“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.