Pope Francis: PETA’S 2015 Person of the Year

For Immediate Release:

1 December 2015


Jennifer White +44 (0) 20 7837 6327, ext 222; [email protected]


His Holiness’ Calls for Humanity to View Animals as God’s Creation, Worthy of Protection and Respect Not Subject to Domination and More Made Choice Common Sense

London – He is the first pope to have taken the name of St Francis of Assisi, patron saint of animals, who said, “Not to hurt our humble brethren is our first duty to them, but to stop there is not enough. We have a higher mission – to be of service to them wherever they require it.” And now he is also the first pope  to be picked as PETA’s Person of the Year. Pope Francis was chosen for asking the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics and all other citizens of the world to reject domination over God’s creation, treat animals with kindness and respect the environment – something PETA views as a call to turn towards a simple, plant-based diet, given the now well-established role of animal agriculture in climate change.

In his 2015 treatise, Laudato Si’, Pope Francis stressed the importance of treating animals with kindness, writing, “Every act of cruelty towards any creature is ‘contrary to human dignity'” and “We are not God. … [W]e must forcefully reject the notion that our being created in God’s image and given dominion over the Earth justifies absolute domination over other creatures”.

Pope Francis is also known for his focus on environmental stewardship – a concern that PETA shares through its vegan advocacy as, according to the United Nations, a global shift towards vegan eating is necessary in slowing the most dangerous effects of climate change, including the extinction of wildlife.

“With more than a billion Catholics worldwide, Pope Francis’ animal-friendly teachings have a massive audience”, says PETA Managing Director Ingrid Newkirk, an atheist. “His Holiness is PETA’s Person of the Year for spreading the message of kindness to all, regardless of their religion or species.”

Among those whom PETA – whose motto reads, “Animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, use for entertainment, or abuse in any other way” – has selected as its Person of the Year in the past are Morrissey,Brian May, Tony Benn, and Ricky Gervais.

For more information, please visit PETA.org.uk