‘Tofu Never Caused a Pandemic’: The Story Behind PETA’s New Campaign

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Tofu With a Message

A little white cube of tofu with rosy cheeks and big smile has become the lad of PETA’s latest campaign, carrying a slogan: ‘’Tofu Never Caused a Pandemic’’. The campaign aims to educate people on the ramifications of eating meat and spark interest in veganism.

As well as billboards nation-wide in the US, an activist dressed as a tofu cube was spotted dancing in London’s Borough Market on the 1st of June. 

‘’As some non-essential businesses reopened on 1 June, we knew that more people would have the opportunity to come across our dancing ‘’tofu’’ and learn more about animal agriculture’s contribution to cruelty, environmental destruction, and pandemics,’’ PETA Director, Elisa Allen, tells The Vegan Review.

PETA’s Message

PETA’s message is ‘’urging shoppers to spare animals, protect the planet, and prevent the spread of animal-borne pathogens by eating vegan.’’ 

Tofu Never Caused a Pandemic
Image: www.peta.org.uk

It also highlights that coronavirus was most likely sparked in wet markets in Wuhan because of the demand for meat.

‘’Eating animals and slaughtering them in filthy “wet markets” and on factory farms gave us this pandemic and lots of other viruses, including avian flu, swine flu, MERS, and SARS,’’ says PETA’s website.

Investigations to determine the exact cause of the coronavirus are still ongoing. Some scientists say it passed between an animal and a human.

‘’In response, PETA has created this new slogan pointing out that vegan foods like tofu have never caused a pandemic,’’ says Elisa.

How did this activism start?

It started with a series of billboards carrying the same message in the USA: “Tofu Never Caused a Pandemic. Try It Today!”

PETA launched this campaign all across the United States ‘’to remind people that the meat industry breeds killer diseases and that everyone can help prevent the next viral outbreak by living vegan now’’.

They focused on places with high numbers of coronavirus cases like Black Hawk County in Iowa, where about 90% tested positive for COVID-19. 

Another one was placed in Edison in New Jersey with more than 140,000 people testing positive.

Peta Tofu Mascot vegan activism

This comes after their activism lobbying for the closure of slaughterhouses in America. According to PETA, the targeted areas, where billboards were placed are closely linked to the slaughterhouses.

‘’Over 5,000 slaughterhouse workers have reportedly been infected with the novel coronavirus, and more than a dozen have died,’’ says their website.

Does this activism work?

Elisa says: ‘’What reaches one person may not reach another, so we try various ideas.

‘’The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive – it’s a fun way to get the message out.’’ 

However, the billboards have also received some backlash as Americans on Twitter labelled the billboards ‘’disrespectful’’, saying it’s too soon for this form of activism as many people are still fighting the virus.

The billboards and the activist dressed as tofu are not the only ones carrying the little symbol. Peta is also selling face masks carrying the very slogan.

‘’PETA also urged Royal Mail to create a special-edition stamp to help convey the same message,’’ said Elisa.

Why Tofu?

Elisa tells The Vegan Review: ‘’Why not use tofu? Not only is it cheaper than meat, it also is more versatile, packed with protein, and contains zero cholesterol.

‘’Choosing tofu over animal flesh can lower your risk of suffering from heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and numerous other life-threatening health issues.’’

Tofu is one of the most popular vegan substitutes that originated in China made from soy condensed milk.

Today you can easily opt to non-genetically modified tofu and enjoy the benefits of all the essential amino acids, good fats, carbs, and vitamins and minerals, according to the Healthline.

‘’Plus, it won’t cause a pandemic that brings society to its knees,’’ says PETA.

Diana Buntajova
Diana Buntajova
Diana is always looking for the environmental aspect of every story. She is interested in health and lifestyle, hoping to point to issues that are often overseen. Diana has explored topics including B-12 deficiency in the vegan diet, fears about exotic skin farms sparking another pandemic, and the Oreo controversy. Currently studying Journalism at City University of London, she enjoys everything to do with visuals especially photography. Creative and detail-oriented in both her visual and written work. On a mission to find the best vegan cheese and can't resist beyond meat burgers.