Leonardo da … ‘Veggie’!

PETA Unveils Campaign at Eataly Marketplace for 500th Anniversary of Vegetarian Icon's Death

For Immediate Release:
April 22, 2019

Audrey Shircliff 202-483-7382

Milan – In advance of the 500th anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci’s death, PETA has just launched an international ad campaign titled “Leonardo da Veggie: Eat Like a Genius” urging his admirers to follow his example by going meat-free. The blitz—which features da Vinci’s self-portrait—was unveiled outside Eataly, where the lunchtime crowd received leaflets with the new ad encouraging them to pass on the pork, boycott the beef, and give poultry a pass.

Da Vinci, who died on May 2, 1519, was the first major historical figure to put forward the idea of speciesism: He asserted, as PETA does, that humans are animals, too, without any special God-given right to deny the autonomy of other living beings who share our capacity for love, joy, pain, and loneliness and our desire to stay alive. He rejected meat and animal-derived products, writing, “If you are, as you have described yourself, the king of the animals, why do you help other animals only so that they may be able to give you their young in order to gratify your palate?” He was also said to wear linen clothes, as opposed to fur or leather, and to purchase and set free caged birds who were sold as pets.

“Leonardo da Vinci voiced vegan ideals hundreds of years before the word ‘vegan’ was coined,” says PETA Senior Vice President Dan Mathews. “As the world marks the 500th anniversary of da Vinci’s passing, PETA is honoring his legacy by encouraging his admirers to respect animals and stop eating them.”

PETA previously honored da Vinci in its “Vegetarian Icons” U.S. postal stamp collection, which celebrated famous animal advocates ranging from Pythagoras to Tolstoy to Paul McCartney.

PETA—whose motto reads, “Animals are not ours to experiment on, eat, wear, use for entertainment, or abuse in any other way”—opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org.

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