Photos: PETA UK Delivers Vegan Ham to the Pope

His Holiness Asked to Set an Example of Peace and Mercy by Celebrating a Cruelty-Free Vegan Christmas

For Immediate Release:
December 24, 2014

David Perle 202-483-7382

Vatican City

On Tuesday morning, a group of PETA UK supporters—wearing Santa hats and other festive apparel—delivered a unique Christmas gift to the Vatican: a delicious vegan ham for His Holiness Pope Francis I to enjoy, along with a letter from PETA US asking him to send a message of peace and mercy by celebrating a vegan Christmas. After delivering the basket, the PETA UK supporters headed to St. Peter's Square, where they distributed free faux-ham slices to the gathered holiday crowds. Photos of Tuesday's event are available here. "PETA can't think of a better way to celebrate Jesus' birth and hope for all creation than with a meal that no one had to suffer and die for," says PETA Director of Christian Outreach and Engagement Sarah Withrow King. "By celebrating a cruelty-free Christmas, His Holiness can send a loving message to Christ's followers around the world about our role as faithful and merciful stewards of God's creatures." As PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that "animals are not ours to eat"—notes in its letter to the pope (available here), animals in today's meat, egg, and dairy industries suffer immensely. Animals raised for food may be castrated, branded with hot irons, have their beaks and tails cut off, or their horns gouged out or burned off—all without any painkillers. At slaughterhouses, animals are shackled and their throats are cut, often while they're still conscious. For more information about PETA's Christian outreach program and how to celebrate a vegan Christmas, please visit  

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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