Yves Jégo, an MP for the centre-right Union of Democrats and Independents (UDI), on Friday launched the petition, which calls for “an obligatory vegetarian alternative in school canteens”, Le Figaro reported.
Jégo has also announced that he will be proposing a bill to this effect at the beginning of the French school term.
The day after his announcement, Cécile Duflot, an MP for the Green party and former Minister of Housing in the Ayrault government of the Hollande presidency, expressed her support for the petition. Duflot said that “an alternative vegetarian menu in canteens would be ideal” and said that she would happily give her support to such a bill should it be proposed.
Mayor Gilles Platret announced in March that pupils in his town of Chalon-sur-Saone near Dijon in eastern France would no longer be guaranteed a non-pork option at lunchtime from the start of the next school year in September.
The decision sparked outrage across France, including within his Republican party, led by former president Nicolas Sarkozy.
This isn’t the first time that vegetarian menus have been proposed in French schools.
Jégo thinks that the menu will allow “those who do not want meat or fish, for whatever reason, to feed themselves in a balanced way.”
He added: “There are many numerous culinary possibilities to ensure that the necessary dose of proteins for each meal is included in vegetarian menus which respect health, taste and family practices.”
By midday on Monday the petition had 11,652 signatures, just a few thousand short of its target of 15,000.