PETA Appeals to Sheriff: No Meat Please for Prisoner Who Killed a Man Over a Piece of Chicken

Studies Show That Eating Plant-Based Foods Can Help Control Violent Outbursts

For Immediate Release:
November 5, 2015

Catie Cryar 202-483-7382

Last week, a squabble over a piece of chicken reportedly prompted Houston resident Reinaldo Cardoso Rivera to stab a man to death. He is now locked up in the Harris County Jail—and this morning, PETA wrote to Sheriff Ron Hickman to suggest a vegan-meal policy for Cardoso Rivera.

As PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat”—notes, several correctional facilities have seen vegetarian diets improve inmate behavior when used as part of a violence-reduction program. Vegan meals also spare chickens and other smart, sensitive animals daily suffering and a terrifying death in today’s industrialized meat industry. And, as the group points out in its letter, vegan meals are also healthy and cost-efficient.

“A vegan diet is a nonviolent diet, starting with the animals who escape the butcher’s knife—and if feeding violent prisoners vegan meals stops other forms of violence, all the better,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “PETA would gladly help the Harris County Jail develop a menu that is healthy, humane, and cost-effective and combats aggression.”

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PETA’s letter to Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman follows.

November 5, 2015

Ron Hickman
Harris County Sheriff’s Office

Dear Sheriff Hickman,

On behalf of PETA and our more than 3 million members and supporters, including thousands across Texas, I am writing to suggest, with all due respect, that you impose a “meat-free meals” policy for Reinaldo Cardoso Rivera, who was recently accused of fatally stabbing a man for eating the last piece of chicken at dinner and is incarcerated in your facility. Vegan meals are healthy and easy to prepare, can be less expensive than meat-based dishes, and would supply all the nutrients that Cardoso Rivera needs.

Some prison operators—including those at Alabama’s highest-security prison, the William E. Donaldson Correctional Facility—have found that giving inmates vegetarian meals can be a successful part of a violence-reduction program. If Cardoso Rivera did, in fact, murder his companion over a chicken dinner, vegan foods could diminish that thirst for blood and might even help protect staff and neighboring inmates. In fact, a meat-free meal plan could benefit all your inmates, and we hope you’ll explore this idea.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona, estimated that he’ll save his county $200,000 by eliminating meat from prison menus and providing inmates with healthier and cheaper plant-protein, all-vegetarian meals instead. PETA would be happy to help you design the perfect cruelty-free meal plan for the Harris County prison system.

Every vegan meal served at your facility would also save animals from coming to a gruesome end. Pigs used for bacon, cows used for burgers, and chickens used for their flesh all have their throats slit, often while they’re still conscious, and their bodies are then cut into pieces.

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


Ingrid E. Newkirk

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