UC-Berkeley Told It’s High Time to Run Vegan Ad on Campus Clock Tower

PETA Says We Must Face the Facts: Pandemic Prevention Starts When We See Other Species as Fellows, Not Food

For Immediate Release:
April 21, 2020

Megan Wiltsie 202-483-7382

Berkeley, Calif. – As the University of California–Berkeley works to expand the availability of COVID-19 testing, PETA sent a letter this morning asking for the school’s permission to place a banner underneath the Sather Tower clock that proclaims, “It’s High Time We Went Vegan. PETA.”

“The clock is ticking on our next pandemic, because as long as animals are confined in their own filth at meat markets, we risk another SARS, MERS, avian flu, or swine flu outbreak,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “We can’t turn back the clock, but PETA’s banner will encourage each of us to take personal responsibility and help prevent the next global pandemic by going vegan.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat” and which opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview—notes that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 75% of recent infectious diseases affecting humans began in animals.

For more information, please visit PETA.org.

PETA’s letter to UC-Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ follows.

April 21, 2020

Carol T. Christ, Ph.D.


University of California–Berkeley

Via e-mail: [email protected]

Dear Dr. Christ,

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 of thousands in California, in response to the news that UC–Berkeley will be partnering with the city of Berkeley to expand the availability of COVID-19 testing with a timely request: We’d like to pay to place an eye-catching temporary banner underneath the famous Sather Tower clock that reads, “It’s High Time We Went Vegan. PETA,” now, or if that’s not possible, when the campus reopens.

It’s time to face the facts: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 75% of recently emerged infectious diseases in humans came from other species. SARS, which originated in bats, claimed 774 lives. Swine flu, or H1N1—which originated in pigs—killed as many as 575,400 people. And the COVID-19 death toll has already surpassed 150,000.

Zoonotic diseases aren’t limited to a single country or to wet markets—wherever animals are bred, intensively confined in their own filth, and slaughtered, humans risk creating another pandemic. In a paper published in 2018, Belgian spatial epidemiologist Marius Gilbert found that more “conversion events” for bird flu—in which a not very pathogenic strain of the virus becomes more dangerous—had occurred in the U.S., Europe, and Australia than in China, where it originated.

We can’t turn back the clock, but anyone worried about the COVID-19 outbreak can adopt a vegan lifestyle to help prevent the next global pandemic. Consuming meat, eggs, and dairy has long been known to be unhealthy and completely unnecessary, and the current coronavirus crisis is just one more reason that we, as a society, need to ring the alarm. We look forward to hearing from you. Thank you for your consideration.

Very truly yours,

Ingrid E. Newkirk


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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