PETA to Bentleyville Tour of Lights: ‘Let Tofu Shine!’

Tofu Has Never Caused a Pandemic—So It's Perfect for the COVID-Era Drive-Through

For Immediate Release:
November 12, 2020

Megan Wiltsie 202-483-7382

Duluth, Minn. – This morning, PETA sent a letter to Nathan Bentley, executive director of the Bentleyville Tour of Lights, offering to help offset the costs associated with changing the format of the event—which will be a drive-through with an entry fee this year as a result of COVID-19—by paying for a tofu-themed light display. PETA proposes a jolly block of tofu wearing a Santa hat and holding a candy cane next to the words “Tofu Never Caused a Pandemic”—and if its offer is adopted, the group will donate vegan hot cocoa and marshmallows, too.

“It’s the perfect time to try versatile vegan foods, now that we all know animal markets and factory farms can breed diseases that come back to bite us,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “PETA is eager to help Bentleyville celebrate tofu—which has been around for centuries, is healthier than hamburger, and makes for a delicious protein-packed holiday roast—with recipes, tips, and more.”

PETA offers a variety of scrumptious tofu-based recipes on its website, including General Tso’s Tofu and Buffalo Tofu-Scramble Breakfast Tacos, plus resources such as a vegan starter kit and a list of vegan-friendly restaurant chains. Previous influenza viruses have originated in pigs and chickens—but never in vegan foods like tofu, which contains zero cholesterol and can lower one’s risk of suffering from heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and many other life-threatening health issues.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, visit or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

PETA’s letter to Bentley follows.

November 12, 2020

Nathan Bentley
Executive Director
Bentleyville Tour of Lights

Dear Mr. Bentley,

I’m writing on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and our more than 6.5 million members and supporters worldwide, including hundreds across Minnesota, in response to reports that your Tour of Lights will be a drive-through event with an entry fee for the first time ever because of COVID-19. To help offset new costs associated with changing the format of this event, we’d like to pay to place an eye-catching tofu-themed light display featuring a jolly block of tofu wearing a Santa hat and holding a candy cane next to the words “Tofu Never Caused a Pandemic.” It’d be a lighthearted way to remind visitors that while the meat industry breeds killer pathogens like the novel coronavirus, tofu production is always safe and healthy.

As many of us are adjusting to socially distant holiday celebrations, we should take time to reflect on how we got here. The public-health risks associated with consuming animals are serious. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 75% of recently emerged infectious diseases in humans began in other animals. In addition to COVID-19, deadly outbreaks of swine flu (which originated on U.S. pig farms), avian flu, mad cow disease, SARS, and other zoonotic diseases have resulted from using animals for food, and the next pandemic is not a matter of “if” but “when.”

Consuming meat, eggs, and dairy has also been linked to an increased risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, and obesity—and the World Health Organization reports that processed meats cause cancer. Tofu—a versatile wonder food that’s older than Christmas—is packed with protein, contains zero cholesterol, and can lower the risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, cancer, obesity, and other life-threatening health problems.

We hope you’ll agree that it’s time for tofu to shine! If you agree to let us erect our tofu-themed display, we’d be happy to donate vegan hot cocoa and marshmallows for all your visitors. Thank you for your consideration. We look forward to hearing from you.

Very truly yours,

Ingrid E. Newkirk


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