PETA Spotlight: Five Female Icons You Never Knew Were Veg!

For Immediate Release:
March 2, 2021

Moira Colley 202-483-7382

Norfolk, Va.

In honor of Women’s History Month (March), PETA (a woman-founded and women-led organization) has chosen five female trailblazers to celebrate—and the millions who look up to them as role models may be surprised to learn that their work for social justice includes animal protection.

  • Educator and prison reform advocate Angela Davis explained her decision to go vegan by saying, “I think there is a connection between … the way we treat animals and the way we treat people who are at the bottom of the hierarchy.”
  • Coretta Scott King, who advocated for racial, environmental, and economic justice (and beyond), went vegan in 1995 and believed that pushing for animal rights was a natural extension of her and her husband Martin Luther King Jr.’s philosophy of nonviolence.
  • Labor activist Dolores Huerta, who fought to overhaul food production systems and protect agricultural workers, said, “Every moment is an organizing opportunity, every person a potential activist, every minute a chance to change the world”—and she put those words into action by keeping animals off the table.
  • Cicely Tyson, the first Black actor to star in a television drama series and the first Black woman to receive an honorary Oscar, credited meat-free eating with keeping her healthy in her final interview, conducted on the eve of her death at age 96.
  • The “world’s most famous feminist,” Gloria Steinem, joined PETA in opposing cruel experiments on animals, addressed animal rights in her bestselling book Revolution From Within, and even helped create a cruelty-free lip balm benefiting incarcerated women in the U.S.

“These visionary women conveyed that everyone—whatever the skin they are in, and whether in fur, fins, or feathers—deserves to live free from exploitation, suffering, and discrimination,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “PETA encourages everyone to honor their legacy by showing solidarity across species lines and condemning the subjugation of any living being.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat”—notes that sexual exploitation is rampant in the meat, egg, and dairy industries because of speciesism, the human-supremacist mentality that all other animal species are inferior to our own. Female cows are artificially inseminated (raped by inserting an arm into the rectum and a metal rod into the vagina), hens are shipped to slaughter once their bodies wear out, and mother pigs spend their entire adult lives confined to cramped metal crates.

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