PETA ‘Yams’ It Up with Name Change Proposal for Ham Lake

For Immediate Release:
May 24, 2021

Tapi Mbundure 202-483-7382

Ham Lake, Minn.

Today, PETA sent a letter to Ham Lake Mayor Mike Van Kirk asking that he change the city’s name to the pig-positive “Yam Lake.” Along with a promise to deliver candied yams for the town to enjoy if he agrees, PETA included a photo showing that the town’s namesake lake—which early settlers thought looked like a ham—more closely resembles a tuber.

“Pigs are smart, sensitive, wonderful individuals, so if we have a heart, we’ll leave their legs alone and choose yams over hams,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “PETA envisions a new ‘Yam Lake’ that promotes kindness and healthy eating.”

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 Van Kirk follows. 

May 24, 2021

The Honorable Mike Van Kirk

Mayor of Ham Lake

Dear Mayor Van Kirk:

I’m writing on behalf of PETA and our more than 6.5 million members and supporters worldwide, including many across Minnesota, with a suggestion: Since so many people are turning to a meat-free diet these days because of the COVID-19 pandemic, health issues like heart disease and diabetes, the environmental havoc caused by meat production, a desire to stop cruelty to animals, and even the Lone Star tick, would you consider changing the name of Ham Lake to Yam Lake? We would be happy to contribute to the cost of new signage and will send delicious candied yams for the whole town to enjoy if you agree. Everyone at PETA is rooting for you!

As you likely know, pigs are extremely good-natured. They’re playful, affectionate, and sensitive, just like the dogs and cats who share our homes. But pigs killed for food spend their lives confined on filthy factory farms and are denied everything that’s natural and important to them, such as nurturing their young and rooting in the earth. Pigs’ tails are chopped off, their teeth are cut with pliers, and males are castrated, all without painkillers. Sows are kept in “iron maidens”—named after medieval torture devices—and chew endlessly at the metal bars just inches in front of their faces. They cannot turn around or take even two steps in any direction. At slaughterhouses, pigs are hung upside down and bled to death, often while still conscious.

Eating pigs poses a serious threat to human health, too. The World Health Organization reports that processed meats like ham and bacon cause cancer and that diabetes, strokes, high blood pressure, and impotence are all linked to meat eating. And, of course, eating meat is an antiquated, dirty, and completely unnecessary habit.

When you think about it, Ham Lake looks more like a yam anyway, and yams are super-healthy foods high in fiber, potassium, manganese, and antioxidants—definitely something worth promoting! They also can boost brain health, reduce inflammation, and improve blood sugar control. They’re extremely versatile, easy to prepare, and great to eat alone or include in both sweet and savory dishes.

By renaming the town, you would seize a great opportunity to demonstrate how easy it is to change with the times. Thank you for your consideration. I yam looking forward to hearing from you.

Very truly yours,

Ingrid Newkirk


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