D.C.’s Statehood Bid Prompts Proposal to Create First Vegan Capital

Mayor Bowser Urged to Safeguard Residents’ Health, Protect Animals in Douglass Commonwealth, and PETA Will Help Pay

For Immediate Release:
July 1, 2020

Moira Colley 202-483-7382


Following the House’s landmark vote to grant statehood to Washington, D.C., where PETA owns property on a site where cattle were once slaughtered, the group’s president has sent a letter to Mayor Muriel Bowser urging her to make it the first all-vegan state—by removing meat and dairy from every local government-funded facility.

To help facilitate the healthy and humane switch, PETA is offering to arrange vegan lunches catered by local Black-owned vegan businesses during council members’ first week back in their offices and to supply the services of vegan mentors to residents, host health lectures, and set up a stand containing its free vegan starter kits at Old City Hall, because “D.C. is our city, and we’re proud of it.”

“During this infectious disease crisis, as D.C. looks to achieve statehood, it’s the perfect time for the nation’s capital to take the lead on healthy, eco- and animal-friendly eating,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “PETA stands ready to help serve the District by serving up its first official vegan meals.”

Just last year, PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat” and which opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview—named Washington, D.C., one of the country’s most vegan-friendly cities.

For more information, please visit PETA.org.

PETA’s letter to Bowser follows.

July 1, 2020

The Honorable Muriel Bowser

Mayor of the District of Columbia

Dear Mayor Bowser,

I’m writing on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and our thousands of members and supporters in the District, where our Dupont Circle office is located. We have a suggestion: As D.C. looks to earn statehood, we hope you’ll consider making it the first all-vegan state so as to protect animals, residents’ health, and the environment. To demonstrate how easy it is to go vegan, we’d like to offer daily vegan lunches catered by local businesses, including Ben’s Chili Bowl, NuVegan Café, HipCityVeg, and others, during the first week that you and the council are back in your offices.

As you no doubt realize, the public-health risks associated with the consumption of animals are serious. COVID-19, which has killed more than 500 D.C. residents and disproportionately affected Black residents, originated at a live-animal market in China, where vendors sell animals for human consumption. In addition, pathogens flourish on filthy factory farms and in slaughterhouses in this country, making such places perfect breeding grounds for dangerous bacteria and viruses. Deadly outbreaks of swine flu (which originated on U.S. pig farms), avian flu, mad cow disease, SARS, and other zoonotic diseases have resulted from using animals for food, and the next pandemic is not a matter of if but when.

In addition to carrying a high risk of contamination from pathogens—including E. coli, campylobacter, and salmonella—meat contains no fiber and is packed with artery-clogging saturated fat and cholesterol. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, vegans are less prone to suffer from heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and certain types of cancer than meat-eaters are.

Animal agriculture is also a major contributor to climate change. A recent analysis by international scientists found that massive reductions in meat and dairy consumption are essential to mitigate climate change, including cutting consumption of beef by 90% and of dairy by 60%. A University of Oxford study found that eliminating animal products can reduce a person’s food carbon footprint by 73% and that if everyone went vegan, global land use could be cut by 75%.

We hope you’ll pave the way for D.C. to become a dietary leader by passing a resolution now that would take all meat and dairy products out of programs and facilities funded by the District. To help, we’d offer the services of a vegan mentor to residents, host health lectures, and set up a stand for our free vegan starter kits at Old City Hall. Thank you for your consideration. We look forward to hearing from you.

Very truly yours,

Ingrid E. Newkirk


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