Commuters on London’s tube network couldn’t believe their bleary eyes this morning as a dozen giant ‘animals’ – ‘pigs’, ‘chickens’, ‘ducks’, ‘cows’ and ‘sheep’ – holding signs which said, “Love me, don’t eat me”, descended on King’s Cross to kick off a new campaign by animal rights organisation People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) challenging people to think critically about their meat consumption from the perspective of the animals who are raised and killed for food and encouraging everyone to ‘try vegan’.
The first in a series of new ads to be rolled out across the London underground network is currently being displayed in 25 stations, including six of the highest-traffic tube stations in the city – King’s Cross, Waterloo, Earls Court, Baker Street, Hyde Park Corner and Charing Cross – and features a piglet alongside the caption, ‘You can live without those ribs. I can’t!’
“Our new campaign will give people food for thought,” said PETA associate director Mimi Bekhechi. “We want everyone to consider that what they choose to eat can mean a sad life and a horrifying death for wonderful animals – and instead try vegan.”
Sales of meat-free foods in the UK have risen by more than 20% in the last five years and topped £625m in 2013. According to Google Trends, public interest in a vegan diet is higher than ever. Everyone from former US President Bill Clinton and Twitter co-founder Biz Stone to actor Russell Brand and Hollywood stars Natalie Portman and Anne Hathaway (just to name a few) is singing the praises of plant-based eating.
PETA claims more and more people adopting vegan diets because animal agriculture is destroying the planet. It’s the reason why former US vice president and renowned environmentalist Al Gore recently went vegan and why the United Nations is warning that a global shift towards a vegan diet is necessary to combat the worst effects of climate change, said PETA.
And then there’s the fact that many of the western world’s top killers – heart attacks, strokes, diabetes and cancer – are linked to a meat-based diet, the organisation says.
But most importantly, adopting a vegan diet is the only way to stop billions of animals from suffering and dying on filthy, severely crowded factory farms at the hands of the meat, dairy and egg industries, PETA said.
PETA’s free vegan starter kit is downloadable from its website, where people can also sign a 30-day vegan pledge and receive helpful tips and advice on switching to a healthier, more humane and more environmentally friendly diet.