WBEZ | PETA http://www.wbez.org/tags/peta Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Vegan author urges McDonald's to offer fake meat burger? http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/vegan-author-urges-mcdonalds-offer-fake-meat-burger-109592 <p><p>A couple of weeks ago, animal activists sparked heated debates around an anti-meat billboard erected <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/peta-urges-publican-serve-fake-meat-109537">near the Publican restaurant</a> in Chicago&rsquo;s meatpacking district.&nbsp;</p><p>By the end of the kerfuffle, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) was asking the restaurant to add a fake meat dish to the menu&mdash;a request that the Publican politely declined, noting that it already featured non-meat dishes, but not specifically faux flesh.</p><p>A new <a href="http://www.change.org/petitions/mcdonald-s-it-s-time-for-a-healthy-meatless-option%20%20">Change.org petition</a> urges Oak Brook based McDonald&rsquo;s to do essentially the same thing&mdash;although the words &ldquo;faux meat&rdquo; are replaced by &ldquo;plant-based protein&rdquo; and &ldquo;meat substitute.&rdquo;</p><p>In six days the petition has already gained the support of Ellen Degeneres, food writer Mark Bittman, Def Jam founder Russell Simmons, actress Alicia Silverstone and about 73,000 others. It was filed by Los Angeles-based, bestselling author, vegan and wellness activist <a href="http://www.change.org/petitions/mcdonald-s-it-s-time-for-a-healthy-meatless-option%20%20">Kathy Freston</a> who says salads just aren&rsquo;t enough.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;We want something protein-centric,&rdquo; she told WBEZ Tuesday. &ldquo;They have things like salads and a McVeggie wrap but Americans grew up with the tradition of burgers and we love burgers. So it&rsquo;s not necessarily that we want some extra vegetables. We want the traditional stuff we grew up loving. We just want a better version of it.&rdquo;</p><p>While Freston has heard from many supporters, others (including vegetarians) strongly oppose faux meat. They argue that much of it is just highly processed, genetically modified corn and soy packed with variations of MSG to flavor it. They ask why animal rights groups would insist on such products rather than freshly prepared, whole foods that don&rsquo;t attempt to mimic meat at all.</p><p>&ldquo;Yes, there are a lot of purist who say they don&rsquo;t want to eat processed foods and they want whole foods cooked at home,&rdquo; Freston says. &ldquo;We could say that we don&rsquo;t want anything GMO or with gluten but I believe in progress and not perfection. Any incremental move we can make toward health and more humane options is a good one. And I understand that a lot of people are further along the spectrum in their health personally, but I travel a lot. I&rsquo;m in airports, I&rsquo;m on the road a lot and McDonalds would be great [option] if I could stop in and get a veggie burger.&rdquo;</p><p>So far, Freston says she has heard nothing but &ldquo;crickets&rdquo; back from McDonald&rsquo;s. The fast food chain, however, did respond to WBEZ Tuesday, saying in a statement:</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/freston.JPG" style="height: 331px; width: 200px; float: right;" title="Vegan author Kathy Freston is urging McDonald’s to offer a faux meat burger. But some argue that that fake meat is not the best vegetarian option. (Image courtesy of Kathy Freston)" />&ldquo;At this time, we have many menu items that can be customized without meat like our Premium McWraps and Salads, as well as many breakfast options that are available to order without meat and still provide a source of protein.In our experience, menu items at McDonald&rsquo;s are most successful when enough customers choose to select them. It allows us to ensure freshness of ingredients and overall quality of the food item. We&rsquo;ll continue to evolve our menu to meet the changing preferences of our customers.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p><p>So are McDonald&rsquo;s current meat-free options enough?</p><p>As Freston&rsquo;s petition continues to gain steam, the question of whether meat substitutes should/do constitute an improvement over meat or other vegetarian fare will likely linger. What do you think? &nbsp;</p><p><em>Monica Eng is a WBEZ producer and co-host of the Chewing The Fat podcast. Follow her at <a href="https://twitter.com/monicaeng">@monicaeng</a> or write to her at <a href="mailto:meng@wbez.org">meng@wbez.org</a></em></p></p> Tue, 28 Jan 2014 16:48:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/vegan-author-urges-mcdonalds-offer-fake-meat-burger-109592 PETA urges Publican to serve fake meat http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/peta-urges-publican-serve-fake-meat-109537 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Screen Shot 2014-01-18 at 9.39.39 AM.png" alt="" /><p><p>The recent skirmish between PETA and the Publican (and Publican Quality Meats) took a new turn Friday when the animal rights group called on the restaurant and butcher to serve fake meat.</p><p>Earlier in the week the Publican team wrote a thoughtful online response to PETAs anti-meat billboard that went up across the street. And Friday the group sent an official response back.</p><blockquote><p><strong>Related: <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/do-vegans-and-peta-hurt-their-cause-when-they-attack-sustainable-butchers-and">Do vegans hurt their cause when they target sustainable butchers? &nbsp;</a></strong></p></blockquote><p>PETA president Ingrid E. Newkirk said the Publican team &ldquo;opened the door for a respectful conversation about what we eat, and now PETA is hoping it&#39;ll open the door of its restaurant to Chicago&#39;s many vegetarians and vegans.&quot;&nbsp; Specifically, the letter asks the restaurant to add a &ldquo;vegan, faux-meat dish to the menu.&rdquo;</p><p>The Publican responded Friday afternoon by saying: &quot;As an organization it is our priority to be inclusive to all. Publican Quality Meats&#39; menu always features a variety of vegetarian and vegan options featuring high quality ingredients and thoughtful execution...One favorite on Publican Quality Meats&#39; current menu is the Squash Tartine with roasted squash, squash and goat cheese puree, kale, sunflower seeds and pomegranate dressing. We look forward to a continued positive relationship.&quot;<br /><br /><em>Monica Eng is a WBEZ producer and co-host of the Chewing the Fat podcast. Follow her on Twitter at <a href="http://twitter.com/monicaeng" target="_blank">@monicaeng</a> or email her at meng@wbez.org</em><br />&nbsp;</p></p> Sat, 18 Jan 2014 09:34:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/peta-urges-publican-serve-fake-meat-109537 Global Activism: Karen Menczer, animal welfare advocate, takes her mission to the world http://www.wbez.org/series/global-activism/global-activism-karen-menczer-animal-welfare-advocate-takes-her-mission-world <p><p>Karen Menczer loves animals. While traveling abroad as part of her work in international development, she was distressed by the situation for animals. She was also heartened by animal welfare advocates in poor countries doing heroic work on shoestring budgets. Upon returning to the U.S., Karen started <a href="http://www.animal-kind.org/">Animal Kind International</a> (AKI). AKI raises awareness and funds. The group also collects supplies for animal welfare advocates in poor countries. For <em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/global-activism">Global Activism</a></em>, Menczer shares the passion for her work.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F91473029" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>Karen shares about her work and why she feels the organization is needed:</p><p style="margin-left:1.0in;">&quot;I have worked with so many amazing animal welfare advocates while living and working overseas, in developing countries, since 1991. The <a href="http://www.animal-kind.org/supporters.html">animal welfare organizations</a> in the countries where I&rsquo;ve worked get such little financial support (nothing from government), yet they help so many animals. I started Animal-Kind International to get their stories out; to help them raise funds and get supplies so they can focus on helping animals&mdash;and not constantly worry about fundraising. I knew that if people in the U.S. and elsewhere, who care about animals, could donate&mdash;with confidence that their support was going directly towards helping animals&mdash;they would be happy to support such worthwhile efforts.</p><p style="margin-left:1.0in;">Animal-Kind International now supports existing animal welfare organizations in 10 countries: Uganda, Namibia, Tanzania, Malawi, Ghana, South Sudan, Armenia, Bosnia, Jamaica, and Honduras. Most of the organizations in these countries were started by local people, and they are run by local people, all of whom sincerely care about animals.&nbsp; AKI&rsquo;s support covers everything from rent to construction and repair of kennels, salaries, dog and</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" height="166" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/aki%202.JPG" style="float: right;" title="Tanzania Animal Welfare Society (TAWESO) teaches donkey owners how to make and use these humane harnesses, and they also raise awareness about how to care for their donkeys (water, food, not to over-work them, etc). (Photo courtesy of Animal Kind International)" width="222" /></div><p style="margin-left:1.0in;">cat food, vet care, spay/neuter, and humane education initiatives. We have a due diligence process which ensures that all donations are used to support animal welfare; we connect donors to the animal welfare advocates so people can see just what their donations are achieving; donors can choose which organization they would like to support; and we send 100% of all donations to our partner organizations&mdash;we have no overhead.</p><p style="margin-left:1.0in;">Working to improve the lives of animals, especially in Africa and Latin America, is all about working with the people who care for them (or who don&rsquo;t care about them). The most gratifying thing about this kind of work is to see how quickly people come around to understanding that animals have feelings, that it&rsquo;s fun to be kind to animals and to care for them, and that animals bring more joy to life.&quot;</p></p> Thu, 09 May 2013 09:33:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/global-activism/global-activism-karen-menczer-animal-welfare-advocate-takes-her-mission-world