Baby, Don’t Herd Me: Giant PETA ‘Calf’ Brings Message to Merle Hay Holiday Shoppers

For Immediate Release:
November 27, 2023

Sara Groves 202-483-7382

Des Moines, Iowa – An appealing little calf has brought a can’t-miss message to Des Moines’ bustling Merle Hay neighborhood as she grazes the rooftops near McAlister’s Deli, other eateries, and shops, urging everyone to see her as the feeling individual she is.

Billboard featuring a photo of a cow with her calf. Text reads I am not a jacket, a pair of boots, or a steak. I am a living being-just like you

“Cows are smart, sensitive beings who yearn for the same things humans do, such as escaping harm and finding joy in life, yet they’re violently slaughtered for meat and leather that no one needs in this day and age,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “PETA urges everyone to put cruelty out to pasture by leaving animals off their plates and feet and opting for vegan everything.”

Cattle ranching is an environmental disaster, as the land used for and greenhouse gas emissions that come from raising and killing cows and other animals to produce meat and leather clothing and accessories are accelerating the climate catastrophe. The vast majority of the millions of cows killed every year in the U.S. are forced to endure confinement amid their own feces, castration, branding, tail-docking, and dehorning, in which their horns are burned or cut out. Then, after a miserable life, they’re shipped to slaughterhouses, where they’re hung up by one leg and their throats are slit before they’re skinned and dismembered—sometimes while they’re still alive.

Each person who goes vegan spares about 200 animals each year and improves their own health, since vegans are less prone to heart disease—the leading cause of death in Iowa—as well as cancer, diabetes, and strokes. Those looking to make the switch can use PETA’s free vegan starter kit.

The billboard is located across the street from Target and Merle Hay Mall at 6000 Douglas Ave. in Des Moines and can be seen through the end of the month.

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


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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