PETA Goes to Bat for Vegetarian Inmate—Again

Buddhist Prisoner Being Served Meat in Violation of His Religious Beliefs

For Immediate Release:
November 18, 2015

David Perle 202-483-7382

Cheshire, Conn. – This morning, PETA’s lawyers advised Scott Erfe, warden of the Cheshire Correctional Institution, that the prison must stop serving meat to Buddhist inmate Howard Cosby—a vegetarian—in violation of his request for meat-free meals.

This is the second time PETA has submitted such a request on Cosby’s behalf. In 2013, after PETA sent a letter to Erfe at the Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional Center—where he was warden and Cosby was being held at the time—the prison stopped serving Cosby nonvegetarian meals.

“Buddhists believe in living a nonviolent lifestyle, and that includes nonviolence toward animals,” says general counsel to PETA Jeff Kerr. “The meat industry is extremely violent, killing billions of animals every year, in addition to polluting the planet and harming people’s health. Mr. Cosby has a right not to have his religious beliefs infringed upon, a right that this country was founded on.”

PETA cites numerous precedents that unless a prison can prove that serving an inmate vegetarian meals presents an undue burden to governmental interests, it must comply with the prisoner’s wishes. Under the federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, the Cheshire Correctional Institution is required to avoid imposing substantial burdens on inmates’ religious exercise.

PETA’s letter to Warden Erfe is available upon request. For more information, please visit

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