People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals wants Sesame Street’s Cookie Monster to go vegan,
October 14, 2019
Jeffrey D. Dunn
President and CEO
Dear Mr. Dunn,
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, in response to reports that Sesame Street has introduced a new character named Karli whose mother is battling addiction. We applaud you for tackling difficult topics by creating characters to whom children can relate and who discuss important issues facing modern society, as you have in the past with characters such as Kami and Julia. Please, will you consider introducing a vegan character so that kids who don’t eat meat for ethical, environmental, health, or religious reasons can also see themselves reflected in popular culture and so that those who still do will learn why others choose not to? Allow me to elaborate.
On today’s factory farms, there are no sunny days for animals. The throats of chickens and turkeys are cut while they’re still conscious, piglets often aren’t given painkillers before their tails and testicles are cut off, fish are suffocated or cut open while they’re still alive on the decks of fishing boats, and calves are taken away from their mothers within hours of birth.
Our young people are facing a future in which they’ll be living with the devastating effects of climate change, and as the mother of a toddler, this issue is particularly important to me. Sesame Street can discuss the impact of climate change by creating storylines in which a vegan Muppet is working to mitigate animal agriculture’s deleterious impact on the environment, which has been extensively documented. A recent analysis by a team of international scientists found that massive reductions in meat consumption are essential to avoid dangerous climate change, including cutting beef consumption by 90% and dairy milk consumption by 60% in Western countries. Globally, the average person will need to eat 75% less beef, 90% less pork, and half the number of eggs. In fact, meat production has such a devastating effect that the Union of Concerned Scientists lists meat-eating as the second-biggest environmental hazard facing the Earth.
Additionally, eating animal products is bad for human health and has been linked to heart disease, cancer, obesity, and diabetes. Considering that nearly 75% of the world’s population is lactose intolerant and that milk is the most common allergen affecting young children, a character who doesn’t consume dairy is more than relatable. Even Cookie Monster knows that he must eat his fruits and veggies, and since he included a recipe for vegan cookies in his cookbook, he might even find that he prefers plant-based, cruelty-free cookies!
A vegan Muppet could provide an opportunity for you to teach children about all these important issues and would show them a world that’s tuned into compassion. We look forward to hearing from you.
Very truly yours,
Senior Director, Youth Programs