June 27, 2002
Give Peas a Chance
World leaders can't seem to arrive at a solution to violence in the Middle East, but just maybe because they didn't use a larger-than-life-sized corn on the cob. Kernel Corn, mascot for the vegetarian organization, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), has set off on his Middle East tour, marking the launch of PETA's campaign, "Give Peas a Chance."
PETA believes that there is a connection between peace and vegetarianism. "If you're sitting down to dinner and contributing to the violence against animals, you're contributing to violence in the world," said Dan Shannon, PETA's Vegan Campaign coordinator. "Many social movements in the world have recognized the link between the violence toward animals and people," Shannon said
This is not the first of Kernel Corn's journeys, but it is his first international tour. To date in the Middle East, Kernel Corn has visited Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Cairo, and plans to stop next in Haifa. The program is aimed at both Israeli and Palestinian children. "It's a very serious time ... [Kernel Corn] will be handing out vegetarian food and talking to children to try to liven things up a bit," Shannon said.
PETA hopes the campaign will show children that there are small steps that they can take toward peace. For example, they can control what they put into their mouths. In addition, Kernel Corn hopes to comfort children who feel alone, showing them that there are others around the world who care about them. "It's one step that everyone can take toward a nonviolent world," Shannon said.