Mayor Johnson: Make Chicago Truly Green This St. Patrick’s Day by Going Vegan—and PETA Will Throw You an Irish Feast

For Immediate Release:
February 27, 2024

Sara Groves 202-483-7382


Ahead of St. Patrick’s Day, PETA has a shamrockin’ idea for Mayor Brandon Johnson and other city officials: Make the entire month of March green by going vegan and encouraging other Chicagoans to do the same. In exchange, PETA is offering to host a delicious vegan St. Patrick’s feast complete with meat-free corned “beef” and lentil shepherd’s pie.

Johnson is clearly concerned about the climate catastrophe—as evidenced by the city’s recent lawsuit against five major oil companies—and PETA points out that animal agriculture is responsible for nearly 15% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Going vegan would help make Chicago as green as its river, as well as sparing millions of animals a miserable life and a terrifying death. And since meat consumption is linked to cancer and heart disease—by far the two leading causes of death in the Windy City—vegan eating is the simplest way for residents to improve their health.

“Chicagoans don’t need the luck of the Irish to make this St. Patrick’s Day a happy and healthy one for themselves, other animals, and the planet. They just need to go vegan,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “PETA is ready with free vegan starter kits to help everyone make the switch.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat”—points out that Every Animal Is Someone and offers free Empathy Kits for people who need a lesson in kindness. For more information, please visit or follow the group on X (formerly Twitter), Facebook, or Instagram.


PETA’s letter to Johnson follows.

February 27, 2024

The Honorable Brandon Johnson
Mayor of Chicago

Dear Mayor Johnson:

I’m writing on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals—PETA entities have more than 9 million members and supporters globally, including thousands in Chicago—with a charming suggestion ahead of the annual tradition of dyeing the Chicago River: Would you and fellow city officials commemorate St. Patrick’s Day and go green, too, by eating vegan for the entire month of March? Would you also pass a resolution to encourage Chicagoans to go vegan as well? Please allow me to elaborate.

We commend your commitment to minimizing the impact of climate change, as evidenced by Chicago’s recent lawsuit against five major oil companies and initiatives such as the Residential Decarbonization and Retrofit Program, and we urge you to take it a step further before we reach the pint of no return. The link between climate change and animal agriculture is undeniable: Animal farming generates almost 15% of total global greenhouse gas emissions—by some estimates, greater than all transportation emissions combined; produces 65% of total nitrous oxide emissions, which has a global heating impact 295 times that of carbon dioxide; and uses nearly 70% of all agricultural land, contributing greatly to biodiversity loss, deforestation, and water pollution.

A plant-based diet would bolster not only the city’s climate efforts but also your constituents’ health. Like the water in the Chicago River, blood flows more smoothly when there are no blockages, including artery-clogging plaque buildup typically caused by diets heavy in meat, eggs, and dairy. Good health isn’t about luck. Studies link meat consumption to increased rates of heart disease—the leading cause of death among Chicagoans.

Beyond its positive environmental and health benefits, a vegan diet spares cows, chickens, pigs, turkeys, and other sentient beings—all capable of experiencing pain, joy, fear, and affection—suffering, exploitation, and slaughter.

With countless vegan options to choose from—including cruelty-free meats, eggs, milks, and cheeses—it would shamrock if you and your fellow city leaders would go vegan for the month and encourage your constituents to do so as well. If you agree, we’d be happy to host a vegan St. Patrick’s feast with pots o’ corned “beef” and cabbage and lentil shepherd’s pies.

Thank you for your consideration. We look forward to hearing from you.

Very truly yours,

Ingrid Newkirk

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