Media Centre

Dame Tessa Jowell Joins Group Of Mps In Going Vegan For Gandhi's Birthday

For Immediate Release:

1 October 2013

Contact:

Ben Williamson +44 (0) 20 7837 6327, ext 229; BenW@peta.org.uk

London – The former Olympics Minister, Dame Tessa Jowell MP, has become the latest Parliamentarian to agree to go vegan for Mahatma Gandhi's birthday, 2 October, in honour of International Day of Non-Violence. Gandhi, who was himself a strict vegetarian and wrote the book The Moral Basis of Vegetarianism, famously said, "The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated".

"By promoting animal-free foods, these politicians are sending a powerful message to their constituents about the importance of non-violence towards all living beings – humans and other species alike", says PETA Associate Director Mimi Bekhechi. "If Gandhi were alive today, we're sure that he'd be encouraged by the greatness of these public servants' compassionate action."

Indian politician Maneka Gandhi, who is backing PETA's efforts, says, "The best way for individuals, government offices and businesses to honour Mahatma Gandhi's birthday is by not eating meat or dairy on the International Day of Non-Violence. Mahatma Gandhi's legacy of peace and compassion for all living beings is not just a message of ahimsa but an economic and ecological necessity".

Besides Dame Tessa, the representative for Dulwich and West Norwood, those who will be leaving animals off their plates on 2 October include Adrian Sanders MP, Torbay; the Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Commons, Angela Smith MP, Penistone and Stocksbridge; the Chair of the Parliamentary Labour Party, Dave Watts MP, St Helens North; Frank Doran MP, Aberdeen North; Grahame Morris MP, Easington; Martin Horwood MP, Cheltenham; Nic Dakin MP, Scunthorpe; the Parliamentary Under-Secretary for the Department of Transport, Norman Baker MP, Lewes; Teresa Pearce MP, Erith and Thamesmead; and the Shadow International Development Minister, Tony Cunningham MP, Workington. A number of parliamentarians responded to PETA's request by saying that they are already vegan. These include the Shadow Economic Secretary, Cathy Jamieson MP, Kilmarnock and Loudoun; the Shadow Minister for Communities and Local Government, Chris Williamson MP, Derby North; and the Shadow Foreign Office Minister, Kerry McCarthy MP, Bristol East.

The meat and dairy industries are among the leading causes of climate change, according to the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which met last week in Stockholm. In addition to being bad for the health of the planet, meat and dairy products have also been linked to obesity, heart disease, diabetes and cancer, which is just one of the reasons why celebrities such as former US President Bill Clinton, Natalie Portman, Anne Hathaway, Joaquin Phoenix, Leona Lewis and Alicia Silverstone have chosen to remove animal products from their diets. Vegans don't just help save their own lives – they also save many animals a year from immeasurable suffering on factory farms, in abattoirs and on the decks of fishing boats.

For more information, please visit PETA.org.uk.

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