PETA Calls On New Zealand Government To Ban Meat

As the New Zealand government moves forward with plans to phase out tobacco sales, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has written to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, asking her also to phase out carcinogenic meat products.

The World Health Organization (WHO) classifies processed meats – which include hot dogs, ham, bacon, sausages, corned beef, biltong, beef jerky, canned meat, and meat-based preparations and sauces – as IARC Group 1, “carcinogenic to humans” – placing them in the same category as tobacco. This classification is based on sufficient evidence from epidemiological studies that eating processed meat causes colorectal cancer.

Meanwhile, red meats, such as beef, veal, pork, lamb, mutton, and goat, have been labelled IARC Group 2A, “probably carcinogenic to humans”. WHO noted that the “strongest, but still limited, evidence for an association with eating red meat is for colorectal cancer. There is also evidence of links with pancreatic cancer and prostate cancer”.

“Of course,” PETA writes, “meat is a death sentence for some 22 million sensitive New Zealand animals annually, who – after enduring miserable lives much shorter than is natural – are crammed into trucks and taken to blood-soaked slaughterhouses where they will be shot with captive-bolt guns before their throats are slit and they are dismembered. In the ways that matter, these animals are no different from those with whom many of us share our homes, yet a sense of human supremacy allows people to pay to have them treated in ways that would be illegal were they cats or dogs.”

The group goes on to point out that New Zealand’s rising emissions problem could also be addressed by phasing out animal agriculture, noting that farmed animals are responsible for almost three-quarters of New Zealand’s agricultural emissions.

PETA – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat” – opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit

PETA’s letter to Prime Minister Ardern is available here.

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