11-Year-Old San Jose Resident Eshiana Coleman Uses Coronavirus Quarantine to Ask Toymaker to Withdraw Elephant-Riding and Dog-Breeding Dolls
For Immediate Release:
March 18, 2020
Nicole Meyer 202-483-7382
San Jose, Calif. – As schools close across the country in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, elite-level gymnast and PETA’s reigning Cutest Vegan Kid Eshiana Coleman has put her downtime to good use: She sent a letter to Mattel asking that it stop having Barbie promote activities that involve cruelty to animals. And she encourages other kids to stick up for animals while they’re stuck at home, too.
As she points out, Barbie clearly loves animals—she volunteers in an animal rescue center, works as a veterinarian, and doesn’t wear fur—yet Barbie Newborn Pups Doll & Pets promotes breeding dogs at a time when millions of them are literally dying for a lack of good homes. Eshiana is also upset that the Dreamtopia Chelsea Doll and Elephant features a seat atop the animal—as elephants who are used for rides are separated from their mothers when they’re babies and beaten into submission for the tourism industry.
“Barbie has so much influence on kids everywhere,” writes Eshiana. “[H]aving her represent kindness to all—no matter their species—could set a wonderful example for her audience and pave the way for a brighter, kinder future.”
PETA’s motto reads, “Animals are not ours to experiment on, eat, wear, use for entertainment, or abuse in any other way,” and the group opposes speciesism: the damaging belief that—despite their extraordinary talents, abilities, and intelligence—all other animal species are inferior to humans.
Eshiana’s letter to Mattel follows.
My name is Eshiana Coleman, and I’m an 11-year-old from San Jose, California. As a young girl myself, I know Barbie is a big role model for young people around the world. I also know that she is a huge animal lover—she even has an animal rescue center, and I’ve never seen her wear fur. However, your company is still selling some products that promote cruelty to animals, and that’s not OK!
My generation is dedicated to doing what is right, and Barbie could help lead young people in that direction by being compassionate toward animals and ditching any activities that promote speciesism and cruelty to animals—including breeding dogs and riding elephants. Barbie Newborn Pups promotes something totally not animal-friendly: dog breeding. There is a big companion animal overpopulation problem, so the right (and cool) thing to do is adopt, not buy from a breeder. Puppy mills are notorious for housing pups in poor, dirty conditions without proper medical care. Do we really think Barbie would want to support something that cruel? We’ve all seen Barbie’s glam house and her compassion, so I’m pretty sure we all can assume the answer is NO!
Barbie Dreamtopia Chelsea Doll and Elephant makes it looks like riding an elephant is fun and harmless. But elephants go through torturous taming as babies—in which their spirits are broken. This is the exact opposite of what Barbie has always done, which is lift our spirits!
It would be so awesome if you were to make Barbie kind to all animals, as we know you’re starting to include dolls with different body types, varying skin colors, and even disabilities—and Barbie clearly loves animals dearly. Discontinuing these products would make Barbie even more inclusive and show love and kindness. Barbie has so much influence on kids everywhere, and having her represent kindness to all—no matter their species—could set a wonderful example for her audience and pave the way for a brighter, kinder future.
Thank you for taking the time to read this letter. I hope Barbie continues to be the inspiring, powerful role model we all know she is. I’m looking forward to seeing her evolve into her best self—and this only happens when we become aware of what we have been doing wrong and take steps to do better!