When I first heard about this, I had to double-check just to make sure today wasn’t April Fools, but sure enough, there it was on the PETA website. The group, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, has suggested to San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee that the city rename its famously seedy Tenderloin District to the Tempeh District.
Though the organization has rarely been accused of having a sense of humor, the timing of the letter from PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman still makes me suspicious. But who can tell what is parody these days? Judge for yourself from this excerpt:
“By discarding an outdated moniker that evokes the horrors of the meat trade, you'll be sending a strong message to progressive businesses and health-conscious residents that this neighborhood is ready for a fresh start.
“Tempeh, a protein-packed food made from soybeans, is a healthy, cruelty-free meat substitute. In contrast, tenderloin comes from real suffering. In today's intensive meat production industry, piglets have their tails and testicles cut off without being given any painkillers and breeding sows are confined for life to metal crates so small they can't even turn around or take two steps. Cattle are burned with hot irons, their horns are cut or burned off, and males are castrated — all without painkillers.
“It's true that the Tenderloin echoes vice and corruption and that slaughterhouses are constantly found to be in violation of the law and more. But now's the perfect time to put the city's past in the deep freeze. San Francisco is now renowned for some of the best vegan cuisine in the world, and the city deserves a neighborhood named after a delicious cruelty-free food instead of the flesh of an abused animal. If Tempeh doesn't excite you, how about Granola Flats or Seitan's Lair? You could even run a contest to choose a veggie moniker.”
Now, tell me, what do you think?
-- Russ Parsons
Photo: The Tenderloin District. Credit: Bryan Chan / Los Angeles Times