PETA Wants Soybean Named Illinois State Bean

Group Asks Gov. Pritzker to Celebrate a Versatile Crop That Saves Animals, Keeps Diners Healthy, and Helps Prevent Future Pandemics

For Immediate Release:
October 12, 2020

Megan Wiltsie 202-483-7382

Springfield, Ill.

Illinois is number one when it comes to producing more soybeans than any other state—and in a letter sent to Gov. J.B. Pritzker this morning, PETA suggests that he name the soybean the top crop and declare it the official state bean.

Since the COVID-19 outbreak—which originated in a live-animal market—sales of vegan foods, including those made with soy, have risen 265%. Soybeans are packed with protein and fiber and are 100% cholesterol-free—and tofu production is clean and safe, unlike that of meat, which comes from filthy factory farms and slaughterhouses where dangerous pathogens flourish.

“Illinois has an official state snack, fruit, and grain, all of which are good-tasting and good for you, and since soy also has both those attributes, why not add it as the official state bean?” asks PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “Soy sales will keep skyrocketing as more and more Americans go vegan, and PETA urges Illinois to celebrate the joy of soy.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, visit

PETA’s letter to Gov. Pritzker follows.

October 12, 2020

The Honorable Jay Robert Pritzker
Governor of Illinois

Dear Gov. Pritzker,

I’m writing on behalf of PETA and our more than 6.5 million members and supporters worldwide with a suggestion. To honor your state’s status as the nation’s top soybean producer, there’s never bean a better time to designate the soybean as the official Illinois state bean. Will you, please? It would be a wonderful way to promote this versatile crop, while encouraging everyone to eat healthy plant-based foods grown in Illinois.

The hale and hearty foods made from soybeans, like soy milks and cheeses as well as the extremely versatile tofu, which can be used for everything from savories to sweets, are gaining in popularity not only among the general public but also with sports stars like Cam Newton who credit vegan eating with helping them recover faster from injuries. Since the COVID-19 outbreak, which originated at a live-animal market and has so far killed more than 8,000 Illinoisans, Americans are eating more plant-based foods, including those made from soy. In fact, sales rose 265% by March compared with the same period last year. Before the pandemic, vegan food choices were already seeing an average growth of 11% a year.

Promoting the glorious protein-rich soybean and foods made from it will help farmers and boost public health. A ¾ cup of delicious soybeans packs 27 grams of complete, high-quality protein, and unlike meat, eggs, and dairy products, it’s full of fiber and 100% cholesterol-free. Eating soy foods has been shown to reduce bad cholesterol as well as the risk of developing various kinds of cancer.

Tofu production is clean and safe. Dangerous pathogens flourish on factory farms and in slaughterhouses, and animal agriculture is a major contributor to climate change. A University of Oxford study found that eliminating animal products can reduce a person’s food carbon footprint by 73% and that if everyone went vegan, global land use could be cut by 75%.

In the midst of a global pandemic and growing awareness of inequality, we are all examining our personal impact on society and considering how we can be more responsible and empathetic. By making soybeans the official state bean, you would honor this important contributor to the Illinois economy and highlight the many benefits of choosing soybeans, including supporting human health, combatting climate change, and saving animals’ lives. Thank you for your consideration. We look forward to hearing from you.

Very truly yours,

Ingrid E. Newkirk


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