PETA Asks David Tomassoni to Make Kinder Choices Available to Inmates
For Immediate Release:
March 19, 2015
Alexis Sadoti 202-483-7382
Minneapolis, Minn. – On Monday, Sen. David Tomassoni introduced a bill that could allow for inmates at the Northeast Regional Corrections Center to earn a butcher’s license, and PETA, whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat,” was hot on its heels with a letter bound for the senator’s desk. PETA’s request? That Tomassoni take heed of the link between violence against animals and violence against human beings—which psychologists and law-enforcement officials attest to—by withdrawing or revising his bill to allow inmates to receive a license for a nonviolent profession instead.
“Prison programs should be about teaching inmates to have compassion and empathy for others,” says PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk. “Violence is violence, no matter who the victim is, and PETA is calling on the senator to take this opportunity to encourage kindness rather than cruelty in those who need it most.”
PETA’s letter to Sen. David Tomassoni follows.
March 19, 2015
The Honorable David J. Tomassoni
The Senate of Minnesota
Dear Senator Tomassoni,
On behalf of PETA and our more than 3 million members and supporters, including thousands across Minnesota, I’m writing to suggest, with all due respect, that you reconsider the bill you proposed this week to allow prisoners at Northeast Regional Corrections Center to obtain butcher’s licenses and instead propose a pilot licensing program in a nonviolent trade. If some inmates are already comfortable with death, they may do well in positions such as mortuary embalmer or funeral director. If, on the other hand, you wish to steer them away from death and teach them to respect life, please consider programs that would train them in vegetable gardening, nursing, or flower arranging.
As you know, many people try not to face the facts about the beef industry, such as that cattle are trucked off to slaughter at a fraction of their natural life spans, that they frequently collapse during the frightening ride to the slaughterhouse and are prodded or dragged off the trucks as their weary legs give out, and that, kicking and screaming, they are strung up and have their throats slit, some while still conscious. The bloody process of slaughtering, cutting up, and packaging the corpses of these once-living, once-sentient individuals could encourage inmates to participate in violence and deadly activities, when they should be rehabilitated to re-enter society with a life-enhancing outlook and a peaceful career.
Psychologists and law-enforcement officials know that cruelty to animals—and being inured to it—can be a predictor of violence against human beings. Violence is violence, no matter who the victim is, and anyone who abuses an animal is likely to abuse a fellow human. Shouldn’t we teach inmates to respect others and make prison programs about relating to those others and becoming more compassionate and nonviolent?
We ask that you either withdraw your current bill or revise it to allow inmates to receive a license for a caring profession rather than a violent one. Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.
Ingrid E. Newkirk