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PETA Warns Mexican-U.S. Border Crossers

Written by PETA | August 12, 2008

No matter what your stance is on the highly controversial U.S.-Mexican border fence project, everyone can agree that those who decide to come to the U.S. should be warned about the downside of our nation’s meat and milk consumption habits. PETA is warning immigrants that there’s much more to worry about than proper documentation.

We’ve written a letter to the commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection asking to buy space at each of the nine southwest border sectors for our new ad. Those considering entry will then read this message: “If the border patrol doesn’t get you, the chicken and burgers will. Go vegan” (or, in Spanish, “Si no te agarra la migra, te atraparan el pollo y las hamburguesas. Sé vegano”).


Spanish version
Mexican Border Ad


English version
Mexican Border Ad


By leaving behind a far healthier staple diet of vegetables and grains—like rice, beans, corn, peppers, and tortillas—Mexicans and other immigrants will likely find themselves fattening up on the fiberless, fatty, cholesterol-laden U.S. diet, which is linked to heart disease, various types of cancer, and strokes (our nation’s three biggest killers) as well as impotence (internationally recognized killer of the mood).

PETA’s placement of these colorful ads would certainly offset some of the tax dollars that fund the fence. It’s a winning solution for the folks at U.S. Customs and Border Protection, immigrants, and farmed animals alike!

Written by Sean Conner

Commenting is closed.
  • Katerina Koscova says:

    Ok I don’t want to be rood because PETA does a lot of good things for animals but what the heck is this? I mean are we really talking about Mexican diets here? Does anyone care? Especially the Mexicans crossing the border? I mean lets see we have a person or a group of people literally risking their lives to get out of their country and into America as fast as they can. They probably have very little to no money and the last thing they are worried about is whether they will have a vegan dinner or not. Not to mention that a vegan diet is not exactly cheap nowadays and these people will for the most part be living in poverty in other words they will buy the cheapest and more caloric foods because that is hte best choice in their situation. So I ask PETA will Mexican immigrant really be thinking about their possible vegan dinner or will they more likely and logically be thinking about whether or not they will have dinner at all and on what side of the fence? To me this is a really poor and sad publicity stunt by PETA and unfortunately its working because its so bizzare.

  • Mikayla says:

    Oh stop complaining!!!The best mexican and Vegeterian food!! Corona and guacamole…tequila anyone?

  • Simone says:

    It would have been more effective to focus on the exploitation of Mexican immigrants working in slaughter houses. Mexican food is not generally recognised as healthy.

  • Jeremy Storly says:

    Hi I likewise live in the upper Midwest and I’m vegan. Believe me though my family is educated and therefore understands there’s a lot of hostility toward veganism around here. I also lived in AZ for 3 years and I noticed that Mexican food is much easier to make vegan than American food. So isn’t it safe to say that whether or not all people in Mexico eat healthy it’s easier to make Mexican food that is healthy rather than American food? I mean drive into the “heartland” of this country and try to eat at one of our diners. They put lard in the pie crust beef tallow in the fries which are cooked along with the chicken anyway bacon on the salad and good luck finding so much as a veggie burger. I like the sign although I don’t like the fence. Isn’t PETA known for spreading the truth in unique unexpected and controversial ways? The sign might be more effective than we think.

  • vegvon says:

    well maybe mexican r not as healthy as they should but at least they have plenty of grains and beans in their diets wich is better than white bread fatty burgers milshakes n the shit the americans put in their plates day in day out just thinking about it makes me sick!…. we have to educate people!!!

  • Claudia says:

    I have to say something about our diets and our eating habits. I eat a variety of traditional Mexican dishes. I have never used lard in my dishes that’s really nasty! Mexicans eat a great variety of fruits and vegetables we use them in almost all our dishes. Yes we eat menudo but not everyone likes that. I can’t even smell the traditional dish! I think that our “pan” or pastries and tortillas is what makes us so fat and unhealthy. We eat 510 tortillas a day and after dinner we have our pan con cafe pastry bread with coffee. We know how unhealthy this is but we can’t help it. Not all of us Mexicans eat lard or pigs feet or mix our foods the way few Mexicans do…..just letting you guys know. Secondly My feelings are split about the border fence? It’s such a hard issue to talk about in my family. Regardless of the outcome I hope that we can all come together as one world and start eating less and less meats. Just look at the animals and appreciate their beauty. I changed my life one day when I saw a Peta add in a magazine a few months ago. I began doing research and I’m happy to say that I don’t eat pork or red meats or chicken. I am almost a vegetarian and that means a lot to me. I’m cooking healthier for my girls and now they are only drinking soy milk. Posting these signs will wake up some people to realize that they need to change the way they eat. It’s a great thing………..GO PETA

  • sandra says:

    i dont think it could bee the most unhealthy food i dont know where you guys have eat but you should know that the food in other countries that they are not the originals everything change . we have natural vegetables and without a lot of conservatives as that they could use in north america . Of course i agree that people who think that bad of our food should travel to mexico with a real family and enjoy and know lot more things so their experiance can let them talk we should be aware of protecting animals and of course about the people that we travel and live in other countries take care of our health eating all the north american style !! that it just blow us!!! so we should be proud of what nature give us!! sorry for the people that the weather in their countries dont help at all to enjoy natural food!!!

  • roger says:

    most of the mexican food has meatdairy products

  • Melanie says:

    Ok I just commented but then I read mexie’s comment and well duh. Idk what you ate man! Mexico is 2nd place in the overweight whatever thing and meat and chicken is used in almost every dish! But yeah one thing americans need to understand. TACO BELL IS NOT MEXICAN FOOD!

  • Melanie says:

    LOL I’m Mexican and I don’t think mexican food is healthy at all! Tortillas are so so fattening. I’m a vegetarian soon to be vegan and I’m actually getting fitter so it’s great that you’re putting up this ad. I still don’t think mexicans should cross the border though But I think the ad is a good idea because even if mexicans don’t have healthy eating habits they could change and go vegan. The ad is great the spanish version is great it’s very mexican but “vegano” is not commonly used so maybe if you used vegan they’d understand but whatever. Great idea!

  • Antigone1000 says:

    Mexie I have not met ONE vegan or vegetarian person of Mexican descent in Las Vegas. Not one. I have met people of Indian descent and Iranian descent here who are vegetarian. I am vegan and have not changed from that diet since moving to Las Vegas. Sodespite what you say I find it incredibly hard to believe that not one single veg Mexican maintained their veg diet since coming to the US. More than likely their diets were not very good in Mexico. I don’t mind blaming the US when it is at fault but I absolutely will not blame the US for the bad eating habits of people from other countries.

  • Sexy Vegan Man says:

    Thank You PETA for doing the right thing. While what you do is often unpopular by the sleeping masses it is necessary to wake people up. Indeed it’s a lot easier to be asleep but if people want to live extraordinary lives they must be willing to wake up … which also means waking up to the reality of their food their clothing and their lifestyle choices. I grew up in the Midwest eating meat potatoes and a token vegetable every day. Now I am a vegan buy vegan products or at least those that don’t test on animals and I’ll never buy fur or leather. Even for shoes! Thank you for providing leadership and a way forward in our world. God Bless!

  • Maya, CVT says:

    You’re right Mike. In fact health experts are now warning us about things like high fructose corn syrup and wheat which are included in almost every packaged item. Spelt is really not so bad if it’s eaten in moderation. What I worry about is GMOs Frankenfoods that is causing all these allergies. Companies are not forced to be honest about it. This is relevant to our discussion because it’s not just about how the animal is treated. It’s also about the honesty of those people who make our food. Meat and many ways of raising crops can be harmful to animals and the environment a great example is apiaries. The introduced invasive species of honeybee from Europe has killed off many of our native bees in the U.S. Now the invasive bee is spreading diseases to our local bees and if the bees die off so do we and all animals that depend on fruit. That’s a lot of animals!! Knowledge is power.

  • Jorge says:

    Mexicans are going to U. S. in order to get a better life. Vegetarian life is a better life. Thanks peta for help us

  • mexie says:

    I think there’s some people wrong here hehehe like Kristen and Antigone. First of all I invite you guys to work on next summer and then go to mexico there please check what is the real food people eat. I lived 4 years in Mexico city and believe me I ate so good. I think it depends how much you can spend. That’s make sense to me why step mom’s Kristen eats that. And Antigone my friend those are not really Mexican restaurants people all over the world try to imitate their food but they make great messes in the attempt like the cheese on the guacamole that never happen in Mexico.And is true beans are made just on water with a piece of onion lard is never usedlard is used sometimes in specific meals. But go there with money to spend in good restaurants check their Cuisine which is pretty extensive. After that we can talk about diet in US and in Mexico. Where US has the 1st place with overwieght people in the world. So please dont do despective comments about something you dont know. About the ad I dont get the message.

  • Liz says:

    Interesting idea but not a great place to have the sign. Better to have it at the health department or in MexicanAmerican neighborhoods.

  • S Guevara says:

    I live in a spanishenglish household and my husband doesn’t use lard to cook his food. He actually eats tons of rice and beans cooked in water. I was shocked at first that he didnt eat sweets or potato chips. But in El Salvador where he is from they eat mostly fish fruitsveggies and rice. His favorite food is Avacados. Just remeber real Spanich food isn’t Taco Bell. BTW spending money to “build a fence” between two countries is so unreal. When so many could use the money for so much better. People are going to come to this country NO MATTER WHAT. If not from Mexico from Europe Japan where ever. Are they going to build a fence around the whole country?

  • mia says:

    By the way I have to kindly disagree with some of you on the consumption of mexican food. We have only been subjected to the mexican food found in the U.S. Yes many mexican dishes can be greasy but I lived in Mexico for 6 years and ended up losing a ton of weight 20 lbs because the food was always fresh and had less preservatives. Also many mexicans eat their dinner in between 2pm and 4pm. Which is great for the diet. I rarely saw obese people when I lived in Mexico. Most of the people were generally small and thin. The only overweight latinos I have ever seen has been here in the U.S.. The mexican food in the U.S. is very different than the mexican food in Mexico. They don’t even eat burritos in Mexico. That is more like a mexicanamerican dish. I made a fool of myself asking for bean burritos when i went down there. Lol

  • mia says:

    i absolutely love the add! its witty and funnyi am so glad i get these Peta Newletters!

  • Aida Cantu says:


  • Cesar Gonzalez Ramirez says:

    Hey man what’s up with all these negative complaints to Mexican food. Yeah I know that Mexican food is unhealthy but so is every food. American food is probably one of the worst. Hot dogs cheeseburgers New York Steaks. So stop accusing Mexican food and focus on what is the real unhealthy thing here..MEAT. Oh and by the way I am proud to say that I’m a vegetarian and also Mexican.

  • Donna says:

    Yeah I’m mexican and I live on the U.S mexican border. Unless I make it myself theres hardly any mexican food I can eat because it’s all made with lard. Most of my family critizizes me because I’m vegan. The sign is a good idea though. I think it will make people pay attention.

  • Antigone1000 says:

    I don’t think the ads are insulting but even if they areso what?? Diets high in animal products ARE bad for youthat’s a FACT like it or not. Animals are tortured and slaughtered by the hundreds of thousands and fed to humansthat’s a FACT like it or not. Just because people are poor that does not excuse their eating of animals. They bear the same guilt as those who are wealthy and eat animals.

  • Antigone1000 says:

    Elaine ThanksI’ll check out your website.

  • Kat says:

    We are all talking too much about the Mexican diet and arguing over pros and cons and less about the real factor here meat. It’s disgusting and I’ve noticed some disturbing things in our family…my father eats meat all the time and has digestive issues. I stopped eating meat and those issues went away. My mother wonders why she forgets stuff al the time. Let’s see…she eats fish almost every night!!! I am the only veggie in the house and they are trying to get me to eat meat and I won’t do it. I’m healthy and still have a brain that is in decent shape. Anybody have a similar story? And remember…the issue here is meat not Mexico or the SUPPOSEDLY Mexican food you can find in Nevada. It’s all processed junk anyway.

  • alicia says:

    This idea is so cool! hehe yeah ive been vegeterian for like 4 months now. im 17 years old about to be 18 and when i was starting i thought it was going to be hard. but it’s not and im feeling great i also learned a lot about nutritions and what i should eat more etc.. i eat healthier now. i never liked chicken it was hard for me to eat chicken at dinner etc..

  • Mike Quinoa says:

    Hi Maya I’m going to have to pay a bit more attention to that list myself. As far as I know I’m not glutensensitive but wheat does seem a bit omnipresent and I’d like to focus on other grains as well. I have bought spelt in the past but now I find out it’s basically wheat anywaydoh!

  • Maya, CVT says:

    Hi Mike! Thanks for your response. I agree however for those of us who lead very busy lives AND are not natural cooks those ingredients can be both very hard to find while travelling and take too much time. I used to throw together mostly vegan sandwiches pasta dishes or crackers and soup for work or field studies. But wheat free bread often has to be frozen and gluten free pasta can be horrible to cook with. It makes a lousy pasta salad. Anyway I was not trying to dis the vegan diet rather I was trying to say that unlike what many people are saying here a Mexican diet can be a life saver for people like me. Anyway I thank you for that list because I had forgotten about a few of those items I’ll have to put them on my grocery list!! Peace!

  • Elaine Vigneault says:

    Antigone1000 I live in Vegas too. In fact I set up a website to help vegetarians and vegans find food in Vegas Indeed there is a strong Mexican influence here hence the name LAS VEGAS but that’s not why the cuisine is so meat and dairy centric. Vegas is as American as baseball and apple pie. We just take the American concept of overconsumption a little further than some other cities Anyway I think the PETA border fence sign idea is funny but many people are seriously offended by it. And I can see why. I spent a week vacation building houses for needy families in Tijuana a very poor city right on the border. The people who are willing to risk their lives to cross the border are not the same ones referred to in these ads. They aren’t the ones eating “healthy diets of rice beans corn peppers and tortillas.” They’re eating drinking and living in terrible polluted conditions and extreme poverty. The ads are insulting to them because the ads don’t really acknowledge the everyday dangers of living in extreme poverty. To people willing to cross the border working plumbing and the chance to earn enough to buy a car or home is likely worth the risk of heart disease or cancer. Moreover many are offended by the idea that the PETA sign would help finance the fence. Count me in that group.

  • Sandy Gray says:

    Excellente !

  • Mike Quinoa says:

    Maya There our still many grains a vegan can eat and thrive on that are glutenfree brown rice quinoa millet amaranth oats buckwheat etc. I have a friend with a 4year old autistic son and an improvement in his condition was obtained by eliminating glutencontaining foods and all dairy.

  • vegancoin says:

    S vegano.

  • Analisa Kuk says:

    When crossing the border the last thing people think is about eating right. At that moment they are hungry and thristy as hell. It is not the adecuate place to hang that ad. I think it is a waste of money. It should be placed somewhere else. Oh and the vegano word should be replaced by vegetariano or no comas carne. Not everyone knows what vegan means. I just learned it a year ago. When people are crossing the border a burger and a coke are an oasis in the desert. I think the campaign should target people already living here. They are not going to change their decision of coming here because maybe they are going to gain pounds by eating burgers and chicken wings.

  • Roxxan says:

    I come from a very traditional Mexican family and yes i’ve seen the food my grandma makes and it can be very unhealthy however I think the idea of these ads is a great one. My grandma grew up in Mexico where they had to kill their animals in a very old fashioned way there were no meat markets back then some old school farmers still carry on this way. Everyone in most part needs to be educated whether it comes to eating right or protesting against animal cruelty and slaughter houses. As for you very naive and ignorant racist people this is NOT a debate on putting the fence up it’s about protecting animals and warning immagrants about America’s poor diet consumption!

  • dIANA says:

    I think its a great warning to all who decide to cross the border. The american diet of fast food has affected many people including our children. The last thing we want is to spread this disease to other countries. I am Mexican but know very well what is good for me and what is not. Now its up to educating all others to know the same…Even if they are coming from other countries and are use to other customs. Its NEVER too late to better yourself.

  • Soliel says:

    I think we have to differentiate between regions. Traditional Mexican diets are more healthy because of the focus on rice beans tortillas. I would say though from accounts from my Latino friend that when they come to the US they adopt a high meat diet. My friend says carnitas is a huge hit as well as menudo and other meats. If they can afford it they eat it. Of course there are always those who eschew such foods for reasons we do like my sweet friend. So I do think it’s a good sign because of the diet change that happens to many once they get here.

  • Maya, CVT says:

    Thank you Eric. And I should point out most of the time when I eat vegan as opposed to my more often vegetarian I eat Mexican because I’m allergic to wheat. Most vegan and vegetarian meals come with some wheat or gluten bread pasta crackers cookies whatever. With the rise in food allergy incidences diagnoses you’re going to see more and more people unable to sustain a vegan diet. Mexican food was a huge blessing for me because I could replace wheat with corn quinona okay that’s Peru but still rice etc. And by the way I’m 112 pounds because of it. As others have pointed out it’s all in how the food is prepared.

  • carol Joy says:

    Me and my husband both being in our early fiftys although were not mexican can testify what I feel ameat diet has done to us Ive already had breast cancer five years ago doest run family but Ive foung out all the growth hormones used in animal meat is a large condribution to cancer many drs are admitting and researchers and now my husband has heart trouble due high cherostol in being big meat consumer and were considered the average American diet in middle America Im convinced the big meat and dairy industry doest want this information out We didnt know about the horrid factoy meat farms in our country and all its cruelty and the unhealthyness of it to But now were swithing to a mostly veg diet and wish we knew this years ago so to those of you w2ho getr this information save your health go veg for yourself and animals

  • Antigone1000 says:

    Anali I’m sure there ARE vegansvegetarians in Mexico as there are in the US. I was just making the point that I find the MX diet to be no better than that of the US especially since most of the beans in the “Mexican” restaurants in Las Vegas are not vegetarian the rice is cooked in chicken broth and one place puts cheese in its guacamole!!! With such a strong MX influence in NV it would seem that we would have HEALTHIER food here not less healthy if they really ate so much better in MX…….

  • Anali says:

    Kristen Antigonealthough not all Mexicans have the best of diets we must realize that the basis if the Mexican diet does rely on grains and legumesthe post did say “staples” remember?. Most of the less economically advanced do thrive on that kind of diet whether you’ve seen it or not. As a Mexican myself and having relatives who live all over Mexico I can assure you that meat can be a treat for some and not a daily occurence. Either way I know plenty of vegans and vegetarians living in Mexico and this ad will give people something to talk about specially on those extremely long and slow lines they make to get through immigration.

  • Eva says:

    I want to share some first hand Mexican knowledge. Mexicans at home do have healthy diets. We “yes me” mostly eat beans rice corn tortillas and many other healthy foods. You guys are thinking of commercial foods. But the people that live in ranches and little villages hardly ever eat bad stuff. Yes they use oil and some people still use lard but they grow most of the food they eat. Life is a lot different in the noncity villages and ranches. I am Mexican and I have been a vegetarian my entire life and as a child my parents never tried to impose meat on me.

  • Mayra Perez says:

    Wow. I don’t see how such a positive ad could elicit such negative responses. We are not discussing the dietary habits of Mexican folk but advocating for animal welfare and public health.

  • Mike Quinoa says:

    Good points Eric. Many people coming in are forced to take jobs that the rest of us would never dolike slaving away in a slaughterhouse which has an extremely high rate of injury. That too is all part of the elaborate veil which allows us to pretend our meat just magically appears in the grocery store and nobody is the worst for it.

  • Soliel says:

    PeTA you are always a suprise and that is one reason I adore you. Thank you for the cute sign…it’s a nice chuckle on such a serious issue. Made me smile. Let’s not forget…the taxpayers would have to pay for all the wonderful diseases these people get to inherit for us.

  • Kurt K says:

    We need that fence! It is not a advertising billboard.

  • Ricardo Guarez says:

    PETA knows the fence is a wildlife disaster but this is a good idea. The incidence of diabetes and obesity in people coming into the US from So. America skyrockets when they start eating fast food and ribs and whathaveyou. In my home beans and rice was the staple. The beans were not cooked in lard but in water! And we had fresh fruits every day not fruit tarts in a refined flour greasy casing. Our corn was ground fresh. Meat was like a condiment not a main course. Mortality drops like a stone when you move from Mexico especially from the countryside to a US city.

  • Eric Silberstein says:

    Let’s not forget about the fact that many people who cross the border will eventually be exploited by factory farm and slaughterhouseworkers and for very little pay. I do agree with the fences keeping wildlife from migrating to and fro. Its not fair to them. I personally think its obnoxious to put up fences to divide up the land that never belonged to us in the first place. I believe in the native saying that says we dont own the land were borrowing it for out children. I also believe that the land belongs to nature and should not have been infested by human greed. Living in harmony with nature and each other should be our goal.

  • Antigone1000 says:

    Kristen LOLI was actually thinking the same thing about the typical Mexican diet. I live in Las Vegas which has a strong Mexican influence and good luck finding anything healthy to eat at a restaurant!! I was in Mexico itself too long ago and thought exactly the same thing about their diet being horrible. Not worse than that of the US of course but definitely not better.

  • Maya, CVT says:

    The fence itself actually harms animals because it prevents wildlife from migrating to find food which will kill thousands of animals in the long run.

  • Kristen says:

    My Step Mom and her family are Mexican and they are probably the most unhealthy eaters I have ever seen and I’m talking about Mexican food. It is some of the worst! They use lard in about everything…also not forgetting Cow Stomach Soup aka Menudo pigs feet in beans liver etc. etc. I don’t think this ad will really work considering they don’t have a nutritious diet in the first place…