Students in Oral Roberts University’s Fitness Program Urged to Go Vegan for Christ’s Sake (and for Optimal Health)

PETA Asks Faculty to Consider ‘What Would Jesus Eat?’ Get Fit the Compassionate—and Healthy—Way

For Immediate Release:
February 8, 2016

Catie Cryar 202-483-7382

Incoming students at Oral Roberts University (ORU) are now required to meet a minimum step count every day tracked by a Fitbit, so PETA sent a letter to Provost Dr. Kathaleen Reid-Martinez with a suggestion for school administrators eager to help students boost their health: get students to leave meat and dairy foods off their plates. As PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat”—notes in its letter, vegans and vegetarians are fitter, are far less likely to suffer from cancer and high blood pressure, and live seven years longer than meat and dairy consumers do on average.

“If ORU wants to take their students’ fitness to new heights while showing compassion for all of God’s creation, going vegan would be a real blessing,” says PETA Assistant Manager of College Campaigns Kenneth Montville. “PETA is ready to help with recipes, tips, and mentorship to help make vegan eating as easy as pie.”

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PETA’s letter to Chief Academic Officer Dr. Kathaleen Reid-Martinez follows.

February 8, 2016

Kathaleen Reid-Martinez, Ph.D.
Provost and Chief Academic Officer
Oral Roberts University

Dear Dr. Reid-Martinez,

I am writing on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and our more than 3 million members and supporters worldwide, including the many in Jesus People for Animals, our Christian outreach division. First, I would like to congratulate you on the fitness program that you’ve instituted at Oral Roberts University (ORU) and, second, to suggest a simple way to convey God’s biblical plan for the world and the compassionate teachings of Christ while also further encouraging the health of students enrolled in the fitness course at ORU: Require students to go vegan in addition to wearing Fitbit trackers.

Many ORU students will now rely on their daily step counts to keep them in shape, but of course, exercise is only part of the health equation. If ORU wants to take their students’ health and fitness to new heights, studies show that going vegan is the most important step to take. Those who retain meat, eggs, and dairy foods in their diet face an uphill battle, since consuming animal-derived products contributes to some of our nation’s top killers, including heart disease, strokes, and diabetes. Vegetarians are less likely to develop cancer and high blood pressure and live, on average, seven years longer than meat and dairy consumers.

Helping students embrace a plant-based menu would not only benefit their health but also show true compassion for all of God’s creatures. The Bible tells us over and over again to care for God’s Earth and all its inhabitants. Vegan meals are a sustainable, easy way to foster a world “on earth as it is in heaven.” One of the best-kept secrets about Genesis is that 1:29–31 prescribes humanity a vegetarian diet. It states that the Earth’s seed-bearing plants and fruit from trees “will be yours for food.” Animals are not included in this human diet. In fact, God’s concern for animals’ well-being is made clear in this same passage, which states that animals are to be given “every green plant for food.”

The Bible is clear: A vegan diet is a Kingdom diet. Will you please consider committing to recommending plant-based meals so as to honor God’s command to be good stewards of His creation? We will gladly help in any way we can, working with the school’s chefs and catering staff, providing free guides to going vegan to the students, and offering mentorship if you would like.

In grace and in peace,

Kenneth M. Montville
Assistant Manager of College Campaigns

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