For Immediate Release:
May 8, 2023
Moira Colley 202-483-7382
Indianapolis – PETA sent a letter today to Indianapolis Motor Speedway President J. Douglas Boles pledging to match or exceed the $10,000 that the American Dairy Association Indiana Inc. pays the Indy 500 winner to drink cow’s milk if Boles puts the brakes on that plan and instead agrees to switch gears to sustainable, animal-friendly, vegan milk. This year, race cars are providing drivers with better protection through the addition of stronger rear-wheel tethers and higher padded headrests, and a move away from dairy would add protection for their health, the environment, and cows.
“In the dairy industry, mother cows are forcibly impregnated over and over, and their calves are taken away from them within hours of birth,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “Instead of promoting a high-cholesterol, cruelly obtained product that’s responsible for greenhouse gas emissions galore, it’s time the winner chugged a glass of vegan milk in the victory lane, or even orange juice, as Emerson Fittipaldi did.”
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat or abuse in any other way”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org, listen to The PETA Podcast, or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.
PETA’s letter to Boles follows.
May 8, 2023
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Dear Mr. Boles:
Greetings! I’m writing on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals—PETA entities have more than 9 million members and supporters globally, including many thousands in Indiana—with an exciting offer we hope will help fuel the shift toward an ever-growing demand for vegan milks. We will match or exceed the $10,000 that the American Dairy Association Indiana Inc. pays the winner of the Indianapolis 500 to drink cow’s milk in Victory Lane if you agree to replace it with some of the many delicious varieties of plant-based milks widely available. We’d even supply these tasty vegan milks for the teams!
As you know, ahead of the race the drivers are asked whether they prefer fat-free, 2%, or whole milk, but dairy-free options are not included—and that’s not right. We want everyone, including race car drivers, to consider that they now have choices and may want to avoid consuming cow’s milk for ethical, environmental, health, religious, or other reasons—perhaps they are lactose intolerant or perhaps they might simply want to try plant-based milks. Our sponsorship would allow them to do so, while paying homage to a legend like Emerson Fittipaldi, who preferred orange juice.
A most compelling reason to encourage Indy 500 drivers (and fans) to leave dairy in the dust is that like all mammals, cows produce milk to feed their babies. In the dairy industry, mother cows are forcibly impregnated over and over and their deeply loved calves are taken away from them within hours of birth so that humans can sell their milk. This milk actually leaches the calcium out of human bones, increases the risk of prostate cancer, and is among the top sources of saturated fat in the American diet. When you consider that the production of plant-based milks emits less greenhouse gases and uses less land and water than dairy farms do and that dairy milk consumption recently hit an all-time low, while vegan milks are now a staple for 48% of Americans, it’s clearly time to put the brakes on this old-style dairy promotion.
We’d love to work with you to drive a cruelty-free vegan milk onto the podium at the largest single-day sporting event in the world. Thank you for your consideration. We look forward to hearing from you.
Very truly yours,