For Immediate Release:
February 2, 2024
Nicole Perreira 202-483-7382
Oklahoma City, Okla. – Rep. Jim Olsen has introduced a bill in the Oklahoma House of Representatives that would require that the Ten Commandments be displayed in all Oklahoma public school classrooms, so today PETA sent him a letter proposing that he file similar legislation to request that public schools display the group’s Ten Vegan Commandments, which encourage people to lead moral, principled lives and practice nonviolence by ditching meat, eggs, and dairy and otherwise refraining from exploiting or mistreating individuals of any species.
“The unnecessary violence inflicted on the billions of animals tormented and slaughtered every year in archaic experiments and for food, clothing, and entertainment depends on a simple lack of empathy for others who may appear different from us but nonetheless share humans’ interest in enjoying life without experiencing undue fear, pain, or violence,” writes PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “Displaying PETA’s Ten Vegan Commandments in public schools would be a simple way to promote peace, understanding, empathy, and compassion.”
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—points out that Every Animal Is Someone and offers free Empathy Kits for people who need a lesson in kindness. For more information, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on X (formerly Twitter), Facebook, or Instagram.
PETA’s letter to Olsen follows.
February 2, 2024
The Honorable Jim Olsen
Oklahoma House of Representatives
Dear Mr. Olsen:
I’m writing on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals—PETA entities have more than 9 million members and supporters globally, including thousands in Oklahoma—with a request: Having filed House Bill 2962, would you also consider filing a bill to request that all public schools display the “Ten Vegan Commandments,” an ethical set of principles designed to encourage individuals from all backgrounds to practice nonviolence and lead moral, principled lives? Please allow me to elaborate.
While many of us were raised to believe that slaughtering animals for food or clothing is somehow acceptable, when we reflect, we can come to the realization that none of this violence is necessary and that all killing is reprehensible. Genesis 1:29 teaches us that Eden was vegan and that humans flourished in harmony with animals. Surely, God created us to be caretakers, not killers. As you have said, “None of us would like to be killed,” and we believe that extends to all species—sentient individuals who experience pleasure, loneliness, grief, and fear yet are subjected to horrific abuse and slaughter at human hands.
The Ten Vegan Commandments—which include principles such as “Thou shalt always come to the aid of an animal in need”—would instill good values in today’s students. At a time when Oklahoma ranks 50th out of 50 in a study of state school systems, partially based on an assessment of the rate of violence or disciplinary actions, fostering empathy in young people for all those we share the planet with would really pay off as they grow up in a diverse society. The unnecessary violence inflicted on the billions of animals tormented and slaughtered every year for food, clothing, and entertainment depends on a simple lack of empathy for others who may appear different from us but nonetheless share our interest in enjoying life without experiencing undue fear, pain, or violence.
Prominently displaying these principles in all public schools would be a simple way to promote peace, understanding, empathy, and compassion. We’d love to work with you to make this happen. Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.
Very truly yours,