Everyone’s friendliest neighbor—the late Fred Rogers—is a cultural icon of kindness, and now folks can learn all about his legacy of compassion toward humans and animals in the new film A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, starring Tom Hanks.
Whether you grew up watching Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood or just know Rogers from viral memes as a representation of good, honest ethics, it should be no surprise that the nicest guy ever to rock a cardigan ate animal-free decades before going vegetarian or vegan hit the mainstream.
“I don’t want to eat anything that has a mother,” Rogers often said. He quit eating flesh in the 1970s after learning how animal agriculture was destroying the planet. But as a minister, he also felt that saving animals from the dinner plate was a great way to spread God’s love and peace—an uncommon opinion among members of the cloth at that time.
Can you say “coolest neighbor ever”? I knew you could.
Rogers never showed people eating animals on his show, and he often used his platform to encourage kids to treat animals with kindness. He sang songs asking them to consider how animals feel, and he taught us all about the joys of soy.
During a segment from a 1985 episode of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood (airing three days before Thanksgiving), Chef Brockett introduces Rogers to a “new line of health foods,” including tofu and other soy products. Makes you grateful for all the delicious vegan options that we have in the 21st century, doesn’t it?
Everyone should follow Mister Rogers’ example! pic.twitter.com/Ib0Mf7qILO
— PETA (@peta) November 25, 2019
The devout vegetarian also took Burger King to task for parodying him in a commercial. After he criticized the ads for being “very confusing for children,” the fast-food chain apologized, stating, “Mister Rogers is one guy you don’t want to mess with, as beloved as he is,” and pulled the commercial.
Won’t you go vegan today?
Rogers showed everyone that even when the world seems filled with cruelty and hopelessness, love and compassion will save our global neighborhood. The easiest way to practice kindness every day and honor his legacy is by going vegan right now. You’ll save nearly 200 animals a year from a painful, horrific death. And saving animals is such a good feeling!