Ad Places Blame on Meat-Eaters for Lake Erie’s Toxic Algae

PETA Points to Pollution's Cause: Fertilizer and Manure Runoff From Meat Industry

For Immediate Release:
February 25, 2020

Brooke Rossi 202-483-7382

Toledo, Ohio – On the heels of Gov. DeWine’s $172 million plan to clean up the toxic algae blooms in Lake Erie, PETA plans to hit the Great Lake’s shore with a billboard that urges Ohioans to take personal responsibility for the pollution by going vegan.

The Ohio Lake Erie Commission reports that 85% of the lake’s nutrient pollution comes from farm fertilizer and manure runoff, which leads to blooms of algae, or cyanobacteria, that release toxins into the water. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Office of Coastal Management states that record-high rainfall, driven by climate change, is to blame for the increasingly harmful levels of algae blooms—and the United Nations states that animal agriculture is responsible for nearly a fifth of human-induced greenhouse-gas emissions.

“Nearby farms are poisoning Lake Erie—and farms around the world are spewing out contaminants that are heating up our planet, making the Great Lake’s algae problem even worse,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “PETA’s message is that no amount of money will fix this—we must all take personal responsibility and go vegan.”

According to the United Nations, a global shift to vegan eating is vital to combat the worst effects of climate change. In addition to decreasing their carbon footprint and sparing the lives of nearly 200 animals per year, each person who goes vegan reduces their risk of suffering from heart disease, diabetes, cancer, obesity, and other health conditions.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat”—opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind