Will Tampa Fight COVID-19 by Going Vegan?

PETA Sends Mayor a Box of Vegan Chocolates, Asks for Help Encouraging Residents to Choose Healthy, Humane, Meat-Free Meals

For Immediate Release:
July 16, 2020

Brooke Rossi 202-483-7382

Tampa, Fla.

As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise in Tampa, PETA sent a letter this morning asking the city’s mayor, Jane Castor, to encourage all residents to help prevent future pandemics, safeguard their own health, and save animals’ lives by going vegan.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat” and which opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview—is also sending the mayor a box of delicious vegan chocolates shaped like chickens, frogs, and bats, noting that these “animals” can be eaten without risking the next pandemic.

“The next SARS, swine flu, bird flu, or COVID-19 will be just around the corner as long as people keep eating animals,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “PETA stands ready with free starter kits and mentors to help the residents of Tampa boost their immune system and help prevent future pandemics through delicious, humane, vegan meals.”

Luckily, going vegan has never been easier. Several popular Tampa eateries, such as Pure Kitchen, Farmacy Vegan Kitchen & Bakery, and Loving Hut, serve tasty vegan fare. For more information, please visit PETA.org.

PETA’s letter to Castor follows.

July 16, 2020

The Honorable Jane Castor
Mayor of Tampa

Dear Mayor Castor,

Greetings from PETA. As cases of COVID-19 continue to spike in Tampa, putting public health at risk, I’m writing with a lifesaving suggestion: Encourage all residents to eat vegan. PETA stands ready to help them make the switch by providing them with resources such as our free vegan starter kits, our free vegan mentor services, and more. We’ll also be sending you a box of dairy-free chocolates in the shapes of chickens, frogs, and bats—the only kind of “animals” that can be eaten without contributing to the next pandemic.

COVID-19, swine flu, avian flu, mad cow disease, SARS, Ebola, and AIDS are all linked to meat production or consumption, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that approximately 75% of recently emerged infectious diseases affecting humans originated in other animals. As long as we continue breeding animals, confining them in their own filth, and slaughtering them, it’s not a matter of if another pandemic will occur but when.

Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and other wholesome vegan foods are cholesterol-free, generally low in saturated fat, and high in fiber and other nutrients, and they can even prevent—and in some cases, reverse—life-threatening diseases as well as boost immunity. In fact, Corinne Bush, science director of the American Nutrition Association and a representative of the Personalized Nutrition & COVID-19 Task Force, advises people to eat plenty of produce in order to boost their immune system and ward off COVID-19 and other health problems. Dr. Mehmet Oz agrees, pointing out that fruits and vegetables “enhance your immune response,” and he shared antioxidant-rich smoothie recipes on TODAY.

We’re ready to help Tampa residents turn over a healthy new vegan leaf, so please let us know how we can be of assistance. We look forward to hearing from you.


Tracy Reiman
Executive Vice President
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

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