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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Eye On Boise

Idaho prisons have the best veggie food?

PETA, the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals, has given a surprising first-place ranking to Idaho, a state that few would consider an animal-rights state given its distinction as one of just two where dog fighting still isn’t a felony. But in this case, it’s vegetarian food behind bars that’s winning Idaho praise. “PETA researched which states are doing the best job meeting their prison inmates’ hunger for meatless meals, and the results are in,” the group announced today. In naming Idaho tops in the nation, PETA said the state had the most “vegetarian-friendly state prison system.”

Not that Idaho’s prison system has been getting lots of rave reviews for its cuisine. “I haven’t heard any compliments, and I would think there’s probably not a lot of compliments going around about prison food,” said Idaho prisons spokesman Jeff Ray. “When the meals cost 90 cents each, you can’t do much with that.” A typical lunch at an Idaho prison, Ray noted, is a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or a baloney sandwich, a piece of fruit and a cookie; Idaho’s prisons eliminated hot lunches nearly a decade ago as a cost-saving move. But what won Idaho praise from PETA was the choice of menu options, including pork-free, ovo-lacto vegetarian, vegan and other choices. Inmates can sign up each month for a special diet choice, whether it’s for religious or medical reasons or just their preference. You can read my full story here at

Eye On Boise

News, happenings and more from the Idaho Legislature and the state capital.