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SAN DIEGO – A group of San Diego elected officials has pledged to maintain a vegetarian diet this week, as the so-called VegWeek begins Monday nationwide.

The Washington, D.C.-based animal rights group Compassion Over Killing launched the annual project in 2009 to coincide with Earth Day. VegWeek urges meat eaters to switch to a vegetarian or vegan diet for the week of April 17- 23.

“VegWeek is a free, fun, and flavorful way to explore the many benefits of vegan eating,” said Erica Meier, executive director of Compassion Over Killing.

“Our dietary choices have far-reaching impacts on our health, the planet, and animals, and every time we choose plant-based foods, we are helping to build a better world.”

The San Diego officials who have taken the pledge include California Assembly members Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, D-Chula Vista and Todd Gloria, D-San Diego; State Senator Toni Atkins, D-San Diego; San Diego City Council members Georgette Gomez, Chris Ward and David Alvarez; San Diego City Attorney Mara Elliot; and San Diego Unified School District Board Members Kevin Beiser and John Lee Evans.

In addition, Rep. Scott Peters, D-San Diego, issued a proclamation honoring those who are participating “for the significant contribution that their participation will have on reducing cruelty and increasing sustainability among our community’s food sources.”

San Diegan’s who make the pledge to eat a plant-based diet for the week can find deals, discounts, recipes, tips and restaurant and grocery store recommendations at .