Man Destroys Just-Installed PETA Exhibit on National Mall

For Immediate Release:
June 1, 2021

Brooke Rossi 202-483-7382

Washington – A brand-new PETA art installation in front of the Washington Monument was supposed to run from Memorial Day through Labor Day—but the plan is off after a vandal destroyed the display early Monday morning, leaving the group heartbroken and out thousands of dollars.

The display would have been the centerpiece of PETA’s summer outreach program—its first since the pandemic began—alerting tourists to the link between the meat, dairy, and leather industries and the destruction of the Amazon rainforest. In addition to wasting the thousands that PETA paid for the custom-made statue—plus more for its backdrop, transportation, installation, and accompanying educational materials—the vandalism has eliminated the summer jobs that PETA created for the program’s newly hired staff, including 24/7 security.

“PETA was so excited to show the tourists returning to the National Mall how every bite of beef takes a bite out of the Amazon,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “Our summer plans may be changing, but we’ll find new ways to empower people to save the rainforest and the rest of the planet by going vegan.”

The display would have explained that the devastating fires that have ripped through the Amazon rainforest and killed millions of animals weren’t wildfires: They were deliberately set, primarily by cattle ranchers. More than 80% of the Amazon rainforest that’s been cleared since 1970 is now used either for grazing or for growing food for cattle, including those in the U.S. market. Scientists warn that once the Amazon is destroyed, it will be impossible to control climate change.

In addition to combating deforestation and climate change, going vegan saves the lives of nearly 200 animals a year and helps prevent future pandemics. Confining and killing animals for food has been linked to SARS, swine flu, bird flu, and COVID-19.

The statue—which PETA plans to have repaired, a costly and time-consuming process—was based on images by marketing agency fischerAppelt in Berlin. According to the on-site security guard, the vandal kicked down the statue at 5:30 a.m. on Monday, May 31, and ran off. A police report has been filed.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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