Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Freezing for the animals

PETA offers hot cups of soy cocoa on street

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IF there's a way to make vegetables more appealing, PETA has found it.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals' spokeswoman Emily Lavender braved the -12 C weather Monday wearing nothing but a bikini made out of fake lettuce.

The advocate of all things vegan stood on the corner of River Avenue and Osborne Street for an hour handing out hot soy cocoa to passersby.

"The easiest way to get healthy, help the environment and stop cruelty to animals in the new year is to simply eat delicious vegan food," the lettuce lady said.

PETA's main objective is to inform people about the toll meat-eating has on people's health and the environment -- not to mention the effect it has on animals.

"When people stop and ask and they find out that chickens have their throats slit while they're still fully conscious, pigs have their teeth, tails and testicles removed without any painkillers and that cows are often skinned alive at the slaughterhouse, they're happy to take some delicious soy cocoa," Lavender said.

Also available were copies of PETA's vegetarian/vegan starter kit, which helps make becoming a vegan or vegetarian an easy transition. The starter kit is also available online.

Lavender says there's a reason why the campaign is being done in a bikini, besides the fact it draws attention. "It's just a fun, upbeat demo and a way of getting people informed about a very serious issue," Lavender said while graciously accepting catcalls from onlookers.

Winnipeg was the last stop on a promotional tour that also hit Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon and Regina. According to Lavender, Winnipeg is the coldest city yet.

"It's freezing out here but it's nothing compared to what the animals go through," Lavender said with noticeable goosebumps. "I'm happy to freeze to speak up for animals because they don't have a voice."

sean.angus@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 11, 2011 A2

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