Letter To PETA And Their Response

A little over a month ago, I happened upon a web site affiliated with PETA (they have multiple sites) containing an article detailing the many benefits of living a vegetarian/vegan lifestyle. I left a comment discussing why vegetarian and vegan diets can be damaging both to the planet and our health. Karen Dickerson, Correspondence Assistant for PETA, personally sent me a response and I wanted to share it with my readers.

I’d like to point out that I fully supported each argument against vegetarian/vegan diets, and some of the responses that were given make it seem as though I had not provided a logical explanation behind the argument.  For instance, I stated that those who eat humanely-raised, sustainable meat will consume less meat because their nutritional requirements would be met from eating real, healthy meat replete with nutrients. Her response was that realistically, this is just not possible with our current meat consumption rates – overlooking completely my statement about the fact that meat consumption would decrease if we were all eating sustainable meat.

Another point that came up is the “free range” phrase that gets thrown around a lot in packaging and marketing of food. I actually never used the term “free range” in my commentary to PETA, and here’s the reason why:  “Free range” is a marketing term used to lead the consumer to believe the animals or birds of whose meat or eggs you are consuming have been living a humane existence, and are able to roam around freely most of the time. In reality, “free range” might only mean the animals or birds receive access to outside installments for as little as 5 minutes a day!

It is also interesting to note that at least twice I mention the environmental destruction occurring due to the pesticides, chemicals, and genetically-modified seeds used in growing many legumes, grains, and vegetables that vegetarians eat. But nary a response to this argument can be found in Karen’s reply! One of the most aggravating points about vegetarian and vegan foods that seems to rarely sink in to those who consume them is the fact that all these soy, fake “meat”, and processed grain products (just to name a few) are some of the most unhealthy, incredibly environmentally-unfriendly items you can purchase and eat!

Please take a few minutes to read my commentary and the response that follows. Then leave your own comment at the bottom and let your voice be heard about this important issue!

I’d like to pose a slightly different view of sustainable living, which is that eating meat is not only perfectly acceptable, but a healthy part of being human – but only as long as you are eating organically-produced, sustainable meats from healthy animals where the farmers are treating them humanely.

As long as people support industrial farming, on any level (and that includes conventional farming of fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains, and nuts eaten by vegans and vegetarians), we will never get the message across about sustainability on our planet. If you are purchasing vegetarian and vegan products, a great deal of these are not produced in accordance with safety nor sustainability. Just consider many of the packaged, processed products marketed toward vegetarians and vegans – they are produced with pesticides, chemicals, and genetically-modified materials.

Until we educate and inform by pulling together to support truly sustainable, clean, ethical, humane farming, we will not make a drop of difference in our habits, health, nor future on planet earth.

Humane, sustainable animal farming uses less resources and maintains the principles of stewardship toward the land (some people argue that grains and vegetable farming uses less water and other resources than animal farming). By its very nature, sustainable animal farming helps to complete the circle of life – animals graze on grass instead of being fed corn, soy, or wheat which requires a great amount of resources to maintain and is usually grown with artificial methods. The land is tended to from the animals grazing on and living as nature intended, and there is no need for chemicals, fertilizers, or pesticides (just ask Joel Salatin, well-known farmer living in Virginia who runs sustainable Polyface farm).

People who consume sustainable meats eat less meat because the meat is in balance with nature and provides the body the proper nutrients and nutrition – unlike factory farmed meat which is unhealthy all around. Those eating industrial meat (or any other industrially-produced product for that matter) are getting an imbalance of nutrients (not intended by nature) and are receiving toxic substances in the body as well. Please visit Agriculture Society for more information on truly sustainable living. Find out how you can make a difference!

Raine Saunders

The response:

Dear Raine,

Thank you for your comment posted on PETA Living regarding animal products that are considered “free range” or “humane.” While we understand your argument for compassionate, sustainable farming, we do not believe that it is realistic.

It is impossible to humanely raise and kill the billions of animals slaughtered each year in the U.S. to satisfy this country’s enormous appetite for food from animals. Even if workers on factory farms were willing to give each individual animal the time and attention necessary to promote humane conditions―and concern for animals’ wants and needs on factory farms is notoriously rare―they could not possibly attend to the countless animals who are enslaved and exploited to feed our current meat habit. As for animals’ chances for a peaceful death, euthanasia by painless injection―the only true form of humane killing―is impracticable in the case of animals raised for food because it renders their flesh inedible.

Unfortunately, animals raised on many “organic” or “free-range” farms suffer the same conditions that characterize factory farms. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), which defines “free-range” and “free-roaming” for labeling purposes, relies “upon producer testimonials to support the accuracy of these claims,” which are, needless to say, highly biased and, for that reason, unreliable. Most eggs labeled “free range” come from hens who are raised in dark, overcrowded sheds, much like those used to confine “broiler” chickens. Even on “humane” farms, male chicks—of no use in egg “production”—are killed upon hatching, often by suffocation or being ground up alive. When they have outlived their “usefulness,” hens are killed since farmers’ need for high profits prevents them from continuing to feed and care for animals who no longer contribute to the bottom line.

Conditions on small dairy farms are similarly cruel. Male calves, considered useless because they can’t produce milk, are usually sold to the veal industry or to larger dairy farms and eventually slaughtered. Pigs, steers, and other animals raised for meat on “humane” farms are butchered in the same terrifying slaughterhouses as animals raised on factory farms. The intense fear and pain suffered by farmed animals are among the many reasons why we at PETA advocate a vegan diet. For more information on “free range” animal products, please visit

Not only do we not need to eat animals’ flesh; we’re healthier if we don’t. We can help ourselves as well as animals by switching to a vegan diet. By eliminating animal products, we can also help reduce our risk of countless diseases and other health problems, including strokes, osteoporosis, kidney stones, many cancers, diabetes, hypoglycemia, kidney disease, peptic ulcers, hernias, obesity, gallstones, hypertension, and asthma, among many others.

We have so many choices as consumers today that there’s simply no reason―or excuse―to continue to raise and slaughter animals for food. The only truly humane alternative to making animals suffer is to stop buying and consuming animal products―and it’s not as hard as you may think. For a free vegetarian starter kit packed with nutrition information, shopping tips, and recipes, please visit

Thanks again for your inquiry.


Karen Dickerson

Correspondence Assistant

The PETA Foundation

I’ve said it many times, and I’ll say it again:

It is much cheaper putting forth the effort to prevent disease in the first place than spending your money to pay to “find a cure”.

I’d love to hear everyone’s comments, thoughts, and rebuttals.

For a great article on the finer points of the unhealthy aspects of vegetarian and vegan diets, visit Nourished Kitchen’s “49 Reasons to be a Vegetarian – A Rebuttal“.

It is also important to note that the commentary I left on the PETA Living web site was not included in the list with other comments –  it was removed. Please visit the PETA Living web site and read some of their posts, including the one linked above (incidentally, there is another article which talks about support from the American Dietetic Association. And we all know how healthy their viewpoints are!).

This article is part of Food Renegade’s Fight Back Fridays Carnival. Please visit this site and read the other real food articles listed there.

28 replies on “Letter To PETA And Their Response”

Wow, it’s almost like they did not even read your comment at all. Certainly not past the first paragraph. And not a drop of research or a citation in sight within PETA’s response (except, of course, to send you to their sites). Somehow I don’t think you’ll be ordering a veg starter kit. Well written Raine. I wish everyone would read “The Vegetarian Myth” already. I have many vegan friends (some of whom are no longer my friends b/c I have a hard time keeping my moth shut as they shovel tons of soy into theirs), and I fear for their long term health.
I have been following your blog for a while, but I’m a lazy commenter. thank you for the info.

Yes, it really did seem as though she neither read my treatment of vegetarian diets thoroughly enough, nor did she acknowledge any of the valid points I made…especially with regard to the achieving goals we’d like to see as far as sustainable meats not being “realistic”. She says it’s “impossible” to attain this goal. I pose that it may be difficult, but certainly not impossible. There are already people doing it. If the model works, why not try to spread the methods of truly sustainable farming everywhere? Boy, people give up way too easily. And, all at the expense of our health and environment. Yes, I have had various people who think I’m crazy and probably lost friends over this topic. But it’s really just sad that people refuse to listen to reason and logic instead of just swallowing a mantra that a bunch of others are blindly following. Sometimes I feel like I’m talking to a wall!

In the case of PETA, it is apparant that you are talking to a wall (made of brick). She didn’t respond to your valid points AT ALL! Everything she mentioned is in regard to factory farms, and that includes the industrial “organic” farms and the marketing terms they use. Duh… you argued against that too! My guess is that she didn’t even bother to glance at anything about Joel Salatin, or Polyface farms. Her entire “response” sounds like the usual PETA propaganda. It’s sad, because there really isn’t much of gap in the ideals (regarding animal treatment) between PETA and real foodies. It’s simple… respect the animals and the earth, and you will be nourished well.

I know my toddler thrives on his raw milk, pastured chicken and eggs, raw butter, grass fed beef, etc. purchased from local farms. I feel so sorry for all the vegetarian/vegan children being fed a constant diet or industrial waste (processed, pastuerized, GM soy).

One thing I’ve noticed about extremists and those who are unknowledge-able about the sustainable model of living is that the whole “local” concept becomes lost and muddled. I know where just about all of my food comes from – my meat and raw milk come from a certified organic farm that only grass feeds their animals, and treat them humanely. My vegetables and many fruits are local in the spring and summer months (and some off-season due to local greenhouses), our chicken and eggs come from a local farm that pasture-raises their chickens. So it is possible to control your food sources with a little effort (and that effort is so worth it!). If more people did this, there would be more food growers producing food in this manner and we’d have enough food for everyone. It is sad thinking about all the innocent children who cannot affect where their food comes from who are forced to eat toxic garbage for their meals and are taught that it is healthy. I know for myself, one of the lowest points in my life health-wise was when I was a vegetarian. I was always tired, had heart palpitations, and felt sick to my stomach daily. It wasn’t until I awoke from my delusional fog of thinking I was healthy and really started eating that I began to realize good health.

Her response was bad enough, but then they REMOVED your COMMENT??? My jaw is on the floor. It makes me think of a quote from the “Vegetarian Myth” book that talks about how “moral” vegetarians can only stay that way by NOT taking in any more information. (My paraphrase is way off, but you get the meaning.)


Kelly – If you think about why my comment was removed, it makes perfect sense. My philosophy and reasoning doesn’t jive with theirs, and it would be unthinkable to have anyone who contradicts or goes against their viewpoint on their site, because – oh no, someone might read my comment and actually decide the PETA organization’s stance is wrong. Although, you would think they would want some lively debate and jump at the opportunity to refute the opposition (me). But perhaps they don’t want anyone having the chance to think for themselves? Who knows. Whatever the reason, it’s pretty unprofessional.

PETA’s tone-deaf, extreme agenda is tactically little different from that of Monsanto or ConAgra, whose interests they serve very well.

Yes, isn’t it ironic that PETA might outwardly state how they abhor corporate interests such as Cargill, Nestle, Monsanto, ConAgra…but their practices speak otherwise.

ugh PETA cannot be reasoned with at all, they choose to defy logic in thier ideology.

this makes me laugh “euthanasia by painless injection” for animalsthat we eat? what a joke, even if it didn’t render the meat inedible.

Hello everyone, I am an “evil” farmer producing eggs, milk, beef, veal, and some cash crops in all the traditionally “bad” ways. I have been selling and eating my own product since the day I was born and am one of the most healthy people I know. The only ones who are concerned about “humane” farming are those who are most ignorant about farming itself. We are raising food not pets but believe me, no one is more concerned about animal welfare than the people making money from them. Food safety is a huge concern for any farmer because if someone gets sick or dies from the food it will of course be bad news for us all. The best way to make food safe is to care for the animals producing the food! Makes sense right? That is why anyone like PETA or other animal activists are thought of like school children who just need to be taught reality. I live in Canada so pasture fed anything during the winter is impossible. Our feed is tested, measured, and mixed to be the best feed possible for the animals. in fact I bet my animals have a better diet than any of us. I could go on and on about how silly and wrong these anti-farmer ideas are but I’m sure people’s emotions are going to prevent them from listening anyway.

Tom – when you say in all the “traditionally” bad ways, I can only assume you mean with chemicals, unnatural feeds like grain, corn, and soy, and in crowded, unnatural conditions where the animals are standing around shoulder to shoulder in waste lagoons. My article talks about how PETA supporters don’t stop and think about sustainable farming as a real solution, they just say it’s impossible and dismiss it right off the bat.

Anyone who is a thinking individual can discern between factory farming being bad for our health and the environment, and humane and sustainable farming being the opposite. You can use all the “science” you want to test, measure, and mix feed, and it can still be nutritionally bankrupt and not what the animals need to produce healthy meat and dairy products.

Factory farms do not feed nutritionally dense feed to their herds – and not only is the feed nutritionally-empty, but it’s full of pesticides, chemicals, antibiotics, hormones, and many other toxic substances that affect the health of the animal and ultimately the meat or milk that people eat.

I’m definitely not anti-farmer, in fact, I’m pro farming as long as sustainable, pasture-raised, natural, traditional methods are adhered to – just to make that clear.

When you say you live in Canada and pasture-fed anything in the winter is impossible, it makes me think of the local farm from where I get my milk and meat. It’s cold here during the winter, and many times it gets below freezing and we get snow. But this farm feeds their cattle alfalfa hay all winter long and lets their herd out on pasture anyway, weather permitting. They do have barns for shelter, but the herd is not relegated to these barns and only these barns without relief and opportunity to roam about in the pasture and benefits from the effects of natural Vitamin D in the winter time.

I just want to make certain that we are absolutely clear about what’s being discussed here – that humane, sustainable farming is without a doubt the only healthy way to raise animals and food – and the proof is in thousands of years of indigenous people eating their own locally-produced foods grown in traditional ways. They have robust health and little disease or illness. The same definitely cannot be reported about citizens in developed countries such as the United States, Canada, and Britain. PETA’s stance is that all animal farming is harmful (although they completely leave out mention of vegetable and plant farming that uses pesticides, GMOs, and chemicals), and I’ve explained why this isn’t true. You have stated, quite emphatically I think, that conventional farming is just fine and that you’ve eaten your own food for years with no ill effects. But I simply can’t agree with that logic given the amount of rampant degenerative diseases people in developed countries experience. The only thing I can guess about your situation is that you must either have really great luck in that your health hasn’t suffered from the ill effects of an industrial diet, or that you actually do have health problems of which you are unaware.

It seems you have a very different definition of traditional farming and I don’t know where you would possibly come up with the idea that milking cows or any other for that matter would be standing shoulder to shoulder in waste lagoons. That’s crazy! you make it sound like they wade around belly deep in their own manure! lol I have never seen or even heard of a farm like that but if one does exist I would agree that it’s bad. Our milking cows live in a free stall barn where they are free to get up, lie down, eat, drink, and do whatever they want with tons of space to walk around. The barn is cleaned out every day and new bedding on the stalls daily as well. In the summer they are allowed to roam around outside in a pasture and some bush with a creek and everything. If any milking cows where allowed to get as dirty and treated as badly as you make it sound like, they wouldn’t be milking very much because they would all have mastitis and hoof problems so I can’t imagine any dairy farmer that would treat their cows like that.
I know of an organic farmer around here that recently had to sell his farm because he was losing money at it. That was probably his own fault though, you can make a living at it and there are others that do, but the person who bought the farm and cows from him bought some hay from me to feed his new cows and he went on and on about how malnourished these cows are and they didn’t give half the milk they should be. Feeding only hay is not enough though and the last farmer tried to grow some organic grain and corn for his cows but he could never get enough because he didn’t fertilize the land properly. So I know from experience that you can’t make assumptions like all organic farmers are better and are going to treat the animals any nicer.
As far as sustainable farming, it sounds like you have a very different idea there too. You say it can only be done by growing grass? Other things grow naturally too and obviously if we can continue to do it for generations and hundreds of years, it must be pretty sustainable.

You say it must be done in a humane way but what is your definition of humane? The bottom line for PETA and yourself to remember is that animals are not humans and they do not have the same thoughts, feelings, emotions, or rights as human beings do. I think that is the main problem with all animal activists. Animals are different than us and although we shouldn’t beat or mistreat them we also shouldn’t try to treat them like family members.

If it is impossible to test feed for nutrition then how do you know what your eating is good or bad? I know it’s true that in the States food quality isn’t up to par with here and we are fortunate to have supply management systems in place like quota which makes it possible to make a living on smaller farms but if you can test your food to see if it’s good for you then you can do the same thing for your animals. Another myth is that all farms use tons of chemicals and hormones and all that to grow crops or animals but that is simply not reality and even if they did it wouldn’t be for long because in the long run those things don’t work out for you. Those are short term things for people looking for a short cut and something that we never do.
You say people in developed countries are less healthy? The only reason people in “developed” countries have bad health is because they choose to eat tons of greasy, fatty foods that are over processed and that has nothing to do with we as farmers. You can be unhealthy as a vegetarian just as easily as a carnivore, the secret is to simply eat in moderation a well balanced diet with exercise. Are you claiming to know more about my health than me? or maybe your claiming to know more than the doctors and vets? As I said, there is no luck or mystery to being healthy, just eat right and exercise. I would say you sound overly paranoid about chemicals on your food and that you don’t need to worry so much about it because it’s not as bad as you think. Farms are not as evil as you think and our bodies have many amazing filtration devices to take care of any toxins coming in as long as it’s within reason. Eating farm fresh or even food from the grocery store is pretty safe overall and there are many levels of grading to ensure you of that.
I can’t help but wonder if this is just another new fad diet for you like your vegetarian kick and that maybe next week you will change your mind again.
Anyway….if you have any actual questions or concerns about farming I’m sure I can help you there but you shouldn’t make wild accusations and assumptions about farming like cows standing side by side in liquid manure or being pumped full of chemicals because that is just not reality.

Tom, I’m glad to hear that in Canada things are done differently in farming. In the U.S., I can assure you that a common type of farming is done in the factory-farm style method, and many small farms simply don’t feed their animals the right types of food or allow them access to pasture. I’ve seen plenty of 20 – 50 acre operations that have their livestock on dirt feedlots, and the animals are eating grains and sometimes getting very little sunlight. It’s totally unnatural, and from what you say about your farming methods, I’d say you would probably be in agreement. The majority of the meat in the U.S. that you will find in grocery stores and restaurants is this variety, and you have to go out of your way to find real, sustainable meat.

Yes, without a doubt, people in developed countries are generally less healthy because they eat a lot of processed foods as opposed to real, traditional foods which have been eaten by traditional cultures around the world for thousands and thousands of years. Check out Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Dr. Weston A. Price for detailed research on this subject. If that doesn’t go on where you live, I’m impressed and Bravo. Maybe those people could help teach Americans some lessons in health.

As far as testing feed goes, I’m talking about the testing that occurs in factory farms. Sure, they “test” their feed, but then why are people still getting sick again and again from eating factory farmed meats and dairy products, not to mention the produce that gets contaminated from runoff from these facilities that people eat? It’s been in the news so much recently, I’m surprised you haven’t seen at least one of these reports. I guess I just don’t trust big agriculture and business to test the feed and deliver a healthy end meat product since they have failed so many times. Call me kooky.

I’m certainly not advocating that we do what PETA does, in fact, that’s the whole point of my post about my letter to PETA (if you read it, I think you misunderstood what I was saying there). PETA believes all meat is wrong to eat, even if it’s sustainable. That’s basically the main point of the letter I wrote to PETA (see above). I made it clear that there is nothing wrong with eating meat as long as it is raised sustainably and fed a traditional diet. PETA refuted me and said that it’s not really possible to achieve this with all communities eating sustainable meat. Then I went into explicit detail as to how this actually is possible.

So I’m definitely not on any sort of fad or vegetarian diet – quite the opposite. My philosophy and web site is in complete advocacy of eating traditionally grown and raised foods – that includes meats, vegetables, fruits, grains, legumes, nuts, and fats and oils. If this was somehow unclear, I would encourage you to re-read my article, because I almost feel like we are having two different conversations here and I don’t want to do that until we are clear about what is being stated.

I’m sorry you think I made wild accusations about your health. When you said you used all the “traditionally” bad methods of farming and eat your own food, I got the impression that you were farming with conventional, factory farming methods, and therefore would have developed health issues. My mistake. If someone were eating that type of food with no ill health effects, it would be surprising, indeed.

Tom – just to prove to you that I’m not making this up, here’s the report from The Wall Street Journal that came out on February 18th from 2008 about the largest meat recall in history – 143 million pounds, complete with video footage of a factory farm. And this was only one recall, there’s been hundreds of others. What were you describing – mastitis and hoof problems? Yeah, that was probably the least of these cattle’s worries from this facility.

It’s also a well-known fact that many dairy cattle regularly develop mastitis due to being pumped full of hormones to produce more milk. Their bodies cannot take the artificial increase in milk production and it causes all types of medical problems – including mastitis. As a result of the mastitis these animals develop from use of growth hormones and also antibiotics, many conventional milks sold to grocery stores contain pus. Sounds tasty, huh?

Here’s a better link to the video, which according to both The Wall Street Journal and CNN (where this link is from) was being done not in secret by the pen manager and his assistant, out in the open.

This meat is typical of what gets sold to grocery stores, hospitals, and schools for children to eat for lunch (and even after the recall, some of it still got consumed by many children anyway). You can read about all of this in the article.

And the information just keeps coming…here’s an article published by one of my fellow food activists, Kimberly Hartke about mastitis in the farming environment and what a problem it’s becoming…!%29

Make no mistake, Kimberly is not a vegetarian either. She’s a bona-fide traditional foodist who writes great articles about real, sustainable food – and is the publicist for the Weston A. Price Foundation – an organization dedicated to the education of and activism about sustainable and traditional foods and farming.

It’s simple. PETA pretends that Joel Salatin and Polyface Farm don’t exist. Because Palatin and Polyface Farm would completely invalidate and debunk their baseless argument that “there is no such thing as humane meat and humane eggs”, they must pretend that Salatin and Polyface Farm don’t exist.

Sometimes I wonder if PETA is paid by Cargill, Nestle, Monsanto, and ConAgra to discredit legitimate animal welfare groups. Just think…purposely act like a bunch of raving lunatics and be propped up by the mainstream media as the “champions of animal rights/welfare” just so the average TV watching schmuck will say “well I guess since PETA is a bunch of raving lunatics, that must mean all animal welfare groups are a bunch of raving lunatics”.

COINTELPRO is alive and well in 2014.

I live in argentina which is a country famous for the beef and steak. However, since Monsanto was authorize to sell round up seeds, cattle has sufferred a reduction of 10 millon cows and deforestarion of 3 millon of acres was done to produce soy bean. Nearly 200 hundred animal species are endangered.
Farms with aninal help to preserve the natural habital in some regions such known as humid pampa.
I don’t undestand why peta promotes agriculture, which is responsible for extintion of species and loss of wildlife.

You know what, wvoutlaw2009? You were right about me all along. I do work for PETA, and we are indeed paid by Big Agra and the CIA to act crazy, retarded, and hateful in order to discredit legitimate animal welfare groups such as HSUS.

And yes I also infiltrated HSUS and posed as an animal rights activist on Facebook to spy on people like you. You may recall the names I used on Facebook. Do the names “Preston G. Davis” and “Gregory Davis” ring a bell.

Yup! You were right about me all along! I am David Martosko, and when I was busy provoking assholes like you and John Doppler Schiff on Facebook, my former boss Rick Berman and Ingrid Newkirk were laughing at you all while chowing down on double beef burgers along with our other CIA cohort Alex Jones. (Remember, his wife worked for PETA.)

Great job Raine! I love how you raise an awareness to prevent the problems about animals and meat in agriculture. It’s totally agreeable that we should put an effort to prevent further diseases than spending a lot of money in finding a cure. Kudos to you and to your outstanding efforts!

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