Friday, August 28, 2009

PETA emailed me (about the FAT campaign)

It starts off as a thinly veiled apology "form letter" and ends with them offering me their Vegetarian starter kit.

PETA, screw off.

Below is their email and below that is my reply.

ignore my typos. (oops)

Dear Friend,

Thank you for your recent blog comment and for sharing your thoughts on PETA’s “Save the Whales, Lose the Blubber” billboard. We apologize for any offense we may have caused; that was not our intent. Please read on to learn how we are moving forward.

The original billboard is being replaced with one that says “GONE. Just Like All the Pounds Lost by People Who Go Vegetarian.” It has no provocative artwork, and it stands as a tribute to the people who contacted us after seeing the first billboard and have taken our 30-day Pledge to Be Veg ( or are trying a meat- and dairy-free diet in their own way. As one woman wrote, “I have tried Atkins, Fatkins and everything else in the book, but no one ever suggested a vegetarian diet. Now that I’ve seen the research, count me in!”

We agree that a world where self-esteem is unrelated to body size would be a wonderful place, but we also know that most people feel depressed and embarrassed about their weight and often need some tough love. Our aim was not to insult people who are overweight but to get people talking—and then persuade them to make a simple, positive change for their health. We have heard from people who were offended by our message, and we have been yelled at on talk shows, but we have also heard from overweight people who expressed support for our tactics, including some women whose vegetarian weight-loss journeys we plan to chronicle on our Web site.

While this billboard has caused some people to “shoot the messenger,” it has also created a great debate about the message: that people are eating themselves to death. Americans now eat more than 1 million animals an hour—animals who are raised and killed in appallingly cruel conditions. Something drastic must be done to shake up society’s complacent acceptance of the national obesity epidemic, and we want people to know that they have options: Pills and procedures are not the solution. The human illnesses and animal suffering that a meat-heavy diet causes are completely unnecessary: a pure vegetarian diet is the optimum diet.

We take obesity very seriously indeed, which is why we think it would be cruel not to tell people about how, by going vegetarian, they can help themselves, animals, and the Earth. If change is going to come, someone must stir things up. PETA won’t shy away from doing so. Unless they are truly among the few with an irreversible medical condition, there is no reason for people to be carrying around extra weight. By encouraging people who want to lose weight to go vegetarian instead of resorting to unhealthy fad diets, we hope to offer them a choice that the multimillion-dollar diet industry won’t give them: a long-term strategy for maintaining a healthy weight.

Research has shown that higher body mass index is associated with a greater risk of premature death from all causes. For example, according to the American Heart Association, obesity contributes to heart disease, America’s number one cause of death. The American Dietetic Association says that vegetarians have lower rates of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and obesity than meat-eaters do. Reputable studies have shown that fad “weight loss” diets don’t work long-term—but going vegetarian does. Studies published in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition and the New England Journal of Medicine have found that vegetarians are far less likely to be overweight than meat eaters are. Obesity is an epidemic, not something that children should grow up accepting as perfectly normal. We want a healthy, humane world, and we think everyone else does too.

All this said, certainly not every single vegetarian is at a healthy weight, as some have suggested our billboard implies. However, there are many more meat-eaters who are obese and unhealthy. For most people, eating low-fat vegetarian meals is an effective way to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. But weight loss isn’t the only reason to try a vegetarian diet; we also promote going vegetarian as a great way to lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of the top killer diseases. For most people, a low-fat vegetarian diet is an effective prevention strategy.

PETA promotes healthy vegetarian living in many ways, including distributing free copies of our “Vegetarian Starter Kit,” hosting free public food tastings, offering meal plans and thousands of meat-free recipes at, and educating people about the meat industry’s disregard for animal welfare ( and its devastating effect on the environment (

To read more about how obesity can be addressed by going vegetarian, please go to To read vegetarian weight-loss success stories, please visit You can order a free “Vegetarian Starter Kit” for yourself or a friend at to learn even more.

Thank you again for sharing your thoughts and for giving us the opportunity to share ours. Not everyone can agree on everything in this world, and, again, if you were offended, we regret that.


Jennifer Cierlitsky

PETA Foundation

Dear Jennifer,

I am speechless.

You ad campaign was not only hurtful to a group of people but it is mis-information.

Where shall I begin?

First off, people will not loose weight simply by becoming "Vegetarian". Vegetarian's can eat cheese. Vegetarian's can also have all kinds of dairy if they choose. These things cause people to be fat. Cheese is often times a "substitue" for meat in resturaunts and in vegetarian friendly recipes. Over the course of time, all the cheese will pack on the pounds. I should know, I am a vegetarian and I am fat!

Second off, how is your ad any different from racism? you single out a group of people and publically, on a billboard no less, called them a derogitory name. If you had called a black person a "N_ _ _ _ _" it would not have been tolerated, so why should fat hate?

Offense was not your intent? you are lying. Your organization has stated in multiple places that that WAS the intent.

"mock shock over a billboard pointing out that the majority of fat people need to have some discipline and remember that being fat means being a bad role model to our children"

That quote was taken off your blog. Teaching your children hate towards a group of people is okay though, right?

Up until I saw this billboard, I listened to PETA when PETA members approached me. I love animals. But no more, your organization has proven that you will resort to ANYTHING in order to get your point across. Did you know that PETA has FAT supporters? Way to support those that back your cause.

And you have the NERVE to offer me a vegetarian pack. So you did not really right me to apoligize. You just wanted to further promote your cause in a thinly veiled apology. nice. reall classy. i will be sure to pass this info along to everyone who has been following me disagreeing with you.

Maybe your "New" billboard should be changed to say VEGAN. Or oose weight by being a Vegetarian who eats no cheese.

YES, America is fat. No one will dispute that. But your tatctics on changing America are absurd.

attached is my protest image to your billboard. I am proud to show off my back fat and i will keep eating cheese and being a fat America Vegetarian.

Creepy Gothic Dolls


CreepyGirl5778 said...

Good for you Christie!
I support what you are doing!
I have never really like PETA before or their tactics.
I use to be a Veggie when I was a dancer.
For my height I was till considered fat 135 at 5foot tall. Yet it was all muscle. It was the only way I could keep my weight down due to my slow metabolism. By society standards I was still too big. Anyhow I am bigger now, I dont dance anymore due to my handicap. I am obese now by standards but my cholesterol and blood pressure are maintained due to my borderline diabetes! Ahh my great genes, you can still be semi healthy and heavy. I am glad your argument was well researched and thought out. PETA just makes me shake my head.

eclipse said...

They STILL don't get it.
There are fat vegetarians.
There are thin meat-eaters.
Overweight is caused by consuming more calories than you burn. FULL STOP.

Of course now they are saying it has to be a low-fat vegetarian diet with no dairy. Which is rather more restrictive than just going vegetarian. Well DUH yes you will lose weight on a low fat veggie diet, but you would also lose weight on a low-fat diet that included lean meat! So what is even being proved?

PETA is supposed to be about stopping animal cruelty, so IF someone decides to go veg shouldn't it be to save the animals, not for the selfish and vain reason of their own appearance?

Why choose this campaign which alienates all the people who already ARE vegetarian, and are also fat? Fat veggies were on your side until you pulled this shit!

< vegetarian all my life and a size 16