A billboard has appeared in Rome, close to St Peter's Square in Vatican City, featuring a pig's face next to the text: 'I'm Someone, Not Something. This Lent, Choose Vegan.' The campaign was launched by PETA (People for Ethical Treatment of Animals) to inspire everyone to pledge to help animals, protect the environment, and get healthy by going vegan for Lent.
"Pigs, cows, sheep, and chickens are no different from human beings when it comes to feeling pain and fear and valuing their lives," says PETA Director of International Programmes Mimi Bekhechi. "PETA is encouraging everyone to show compassion to animals by skipping meaty meals and choosing humane and healthy vegan fare this Lent."
PETA - whose motto reads, in part, that 'animals are not ours to eat' - notes that Jesus would likely be appalled by today's meat, egg, dairy, and fishing industries, in which animals are routinely abused and denied respect and compassion. The throats of chickens and turkeys are often slit while they're still conscious, fish are cut open while they're still alive or left to suffocate on the decks of fishing boats, and calves are taken away from their mothers within hours of birth so that the milk nature intended for them can be consumed by humans instead. As well as supporting the cruelty inherent in raising animals for food, the consumption of meat and other animal-derived foods has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, strokes, obesity, diabetes, and some forms of cancer.
PETA offers a vegan Lent pledge through which those interested in eating plant-based foods for 40 days can receive resources, tips, and advice about what to eat (including treats and chocolate), so it needn't feel like a sacrifice at all.
In 2015 PETA named Pope Francis Person of the Year, after the publication of Laudato Si.
For more information, please visit: www.peta.org.uk