People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India on Thursday said it will honour Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan after he directed officials not to include boiled eggs or egg curry in meals for tribal children at anganwadi centres in three districts of the state last week.
"Thanks to Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, anganwadi meals will continue to be served in the state without cruel and cholesterol-laden eggs – a compassionate and healthy choice that's earned the chief minister a Pragatisheel award from (PETA) India," the animal rights organisation said in a statement.
It mentioned that the award is being given "for taking a progressive stand on anganwadi mid-day meals by keeping them egg-free" adding that the chief minister's "compassion for animals and concern for public health will serve as an inspiration for others". "PETA encourages compassionate and health-conscious people everywhere to follow the chief minister's example by taking eggs off the menu," it said.
Earlier, the Jain community also announced that it will felicitate Chouhan for respecting their sentiments by not allowing eggs in anganwadi centres. "Egg consumption condemns chickens to a lifetime of miserable confinement while also putting human health at risk," said PETA India nutritionist Bhuvaneshwari Gupta.
PETA said that an egg has only 6 grams of protein according to the American Egg Board. According to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a half cup of tofu contains 19.9 grams of protein, 1 cup of boiled lentils contains 17.9 grams, 1 cup of boiled black beans contains 15.2 grams and 1 cup of boiled chickpeas contains 14.5 grams.
Mid-day meals in Madhya Pradesh include a mix of vegetables, including, potatoes and greens, as well as lentils, chickpeas and soya.
The PETA quoted a 2010 study in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology which said that people who consume the most eggs have a 19% increased risk of developing cardiovascular problems. Similarly, those who consumed the most eggs also increased their risk of developing diabetes by 68% as per a review of 14 studies published in the journal Atherosclerosis.
Activists had criticised Chouhan's decision saying the introduction of eggs in meals is a way of ensuring children get protein-rich food, especially in tribal areas where malnutrition is a concern.