If you didn't know by the title, Chevigny-Saint-Sauveur has a conservative mayor. The French mayor bans pork-free school lunches, which has many Muslims up in arms.
Mayor Michel Rotger, a member of the conservative Republican party, stands behind his decision. He claims the move is to promote "secularism." Additional to that, he claims that 'alternative menus' were leading to too much waste.
“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,” Rotger said.
French Mayor Bans Pork-Free School Lunches
The town has a population of around 10,000. Parents of the students who attend school in this town were informed of the mayor's proposal by a letter. In the letter he claims that the pork menu promotes the "ideas of secularism." The only people who will be able to opt out of this menu are those with medical allergies.
Many people are on the attack when it comes to the mayor's plans.
Some have spoken out against the mayor’s plans including Paul Garrigue, president of a group of associations which includes Amnesty International and the League of Human Rights. Garrigue said: “Today, we are talking about secularism in a generally anti-Muslim way.”
“We see secularism as a tool of tolerance and living together and not exclusion,” he said adding that pupils who refuse to eat pork should feel “at ease”.
Mayor Rotger defended his proposal noting he is following the recommendations of the Association of Mayors of France (AMF) who dismissed the idea of “denominational menus” in French schools in November of 2015.
The debate over pork on school menus or in government canteens has been raging in France and elsewhere in Europe for years. As far back as 2014, the French mayor of Sargé-lès-Le-Mans said that school menus would feature “pork or nothing”.
Calls for pork to be mandatory have also been made in Germany where senior officials in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government have said it should be in schools and government canteens.
In the UK, there has been a very different approach. One school in Islington completely banned pork from the menu back in 2011. This was a result of the very high percentage of the student population being Muslim. There have been calls for the ban to be lifted by people who argue that the students should at least have the option of eating pork.