'LIVERPOOL schools and businesses could go meat free once a week under radical new plans.
The council is to consider having an official city-wide "meat free day" in a collective bid to protect the environment.
Under the proposals, organisations ranging from schools to meals on wheels services would voluntarily agree to only serve vegetarian options on a day of their choosing every week.
If it wins full council backing it could be launched later this year, complementing the city's Year of the Environment which hopes to make Liverpool more green and sustainable.
The meat-free campaign would see free vegetarian recipe ideas and nutrition advice given to the city schools and other outlets signing up.
The proposal comes on the back of a three-year Greenpeace study which claims western demand for beef and leather and an increase in cattle ranching is leading to intensified deforestation of the rainforests.
The plan is the brainchild of the council's former education boss and staunch vegetarian, Cllr Paul Clein.
He told the ECHO: "I believe climate change is one of the biggest challenges we face.
"This is about changing the mindset and showing you can make a difference in the long term."
He added: "People might actually find they enjoy the vegetarian option and it's win, win as if people don't want to then they won't do it."
Britain imports an estimated 50,000 tonnes of processed Brazilian beef every year.
Today health chiefs gave the plan the thumbs-up.
Dr Paula Grey, Director of Public Health for Liverpool, said it was important people could chose what they eat.
But the scheme, she said, would support the primary care trust's efforts to encourage people to eat more fruit and vegetables and cut down on red meat which increases saturated fat intake.
She said: "Having a meat-free day when you substituted vegetables for beef for instance would be something Liverpool PCT would welcome.
"The PCT also has a number of suggested vegetarian and non-vegetarian recipes, put together by our dieticians and nutritionists."
But meat industry chiefs are appalled at the motion which goes before the council's sustainable communities select committee on June 23.
Paul Brereton, a director of Old Swan and Huyton based Bexleys, which was named the Meat Traders Journal's Butcher's Shop of the Year.
He said: "This is a concern and it would have an impact.
"Where do you draw the line?
"A lot of fruit and vegetables in this country are imported too." '
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