From ‘Top Dog’ to ‘Not Dog’? PETA Seeks to Veganize Route 66 Landmark

For Immediate Release:
April 14, 2023

Moira Colley 202-483-7382

New Haven, Conn.

Andrea and Alan Spaulding, owners of the landmark Top Dog hot dog stand, have announced that they plan to retire at the end of the summer, prompting PETA to send them a letter this morning to explore purchasing the eye-catching trailer and transforming it into a Not Dog stand that would serve tasty vegan hot dogs.

PETA notes that eating vegan hot dogs not only spares animals the misery of the meat industry but—since studies show that eating just one meat hot dog can take 36 minutes off a human life—also could help keep Top Dog’s customers in top shape for years to come. The switch could also increase the beloved business’s longevity: The global market for vegan hot dogs grew by 20% last year, and more than half of all U.S. households now seek out vegan food products.

“After 43 years, the time is ripe for Top Dog to say goodbye to unhealthy, processed meat made from cow and pig parts and hello to the delicious veggie dogs that today’s diners are eating right up,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “PETA would relish the opportunity to give Top Dog a second life as part of the booming vegan food market.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat” and which opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview—offers free vegan starter kits to help anyone make the switch. For more information, please visit, listen to The PETA Podcast, or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

PETA’s letter to the Spauldings follows.

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Spalding,

I’m writing on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals U.S.—PETA entities have more than 9 million members and supporters globally, including many thousands across Connecticut, and PETA U.S. is the largest animal rights organization in the world—following reports you’ll be selling your business after 43 years, with an offer you could really sink your teeth into. Will you please consider offering your Top Dog stand to us at a reasonable price, so we can transform it into a vegan Not Dog stand?

Here’s why we are interested: Eating hot dogs can put consumers of all ages in the fast lane to ill health. Eating just one meaty hot dog can take 36 minutes off a human life. The World Health Organization reports that processed meat—including hot dogs—causes cancer, while studies show that consuming vegan foods like protein-rich, cholesterol-free tofu supports a top bill of health and reduces the risk of suffering from certain types of cancer, heart disease, and strokes.

And there’s another excellent reason to choose vegan hot dogs. Pigs, cows, and other animals commonly used for hot dogs are intelligent, sensitive individuals who feel pain and form strong bonds with others. Yet the millions of these animals who are killed in the U.S. every year are raised on filthy factory farms and endure stressful crowding as well as routine mutilation, such as castration and tail-docking—without any pain relief—before they are sent on a terrifying journey to the slaughterhouse, where they undergo a violent death. By comparison, veggie dogs spare living, feeling beings this miserable fate and win you a place in all compassionate hearts.

The number of vegans is skyrocketing—there’s been a 500% increase in the U.S. since 2014, and more than half of all U.S. households now buy vegan food products. The global market for plant-based hot dogs grew by a whopping 20% last year and is projected to reach a market value of $1.99 billion by 2032. Several major brands—including Portillo’s, Lightlife, Field Roast, and Wienerschnitzel—are even currently selling their own vegan hot dogs.

Frankly, we want everyone to consider that they now have options, whether they’re vegan for ethical, environmental, health, religious, or other reasons or they just want to try a vegan hot dog. Since Americans’ appetite for cruelty-free foods is only growing, we hope you’ll relish this opportunity to ketchup with the trend by selling your hot dog stand to us. Thank you for your consideration. We look forward to hearing from you.

Very truly yours,

Ingrid Newkirk


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