PETA is hoping that Nickelodeon adds a few changes to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ popular diet when the series “Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” hits the network this fall. In an open letter to the network, PETA Senior Vice President Lisa Lange is asking that the turtles go vegan this time around, hoping to inspire some children in making the switch as well. The goal of the letter isn’t to change the lovable Ninja Turtles, but only to have them eat dairy-free pizza form now on.

The letter points out that people are going vegan at a higher rates than ever, and that vegan pizza is becoming more and more popular here in New York City (home of the Turtles). You can grab vegan pizza from many of our popular pizzerias, including Two Boots, Screamer’s Pizzeria, Paulie Gee’s, Bodega Pizza, and others.

“Modern kids are embracing vegan food, so why shouldn’t modern Ninja Turtles?” asks PETA Senior Vice President Lisa Lange. “Vegan pizza is popular, and it’s healthier and far kinder to animals than old-fashioned dairy cheese pizza. PETA thinks that’s something the ‘Heroes in a Half Shell’ would support.”

The letter reads:

Dear Ms. Zarghami,

I’m writing on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and our more than 6.5 million members and supporters worldwide—a bunch of them dyed-in-the-half-shell fans of Mikey, Leo, Raph, and Donnie—to say, “Bodacious!”

That was the reaction around here when word got out about Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. What really got PETA buzzing, though, was the “different direction” that you spelled out for the new series. More laughs? Mystic ninja powers? Gnarly!

But every fan worth his or her nunchucks knows that wherever the show leads the Turtles, they’ll be fueling up with pizza. It’s practically their raison d’être, right? That’s another reason why I’m getting in touch: to ask that their pies and slices be vegan, because compassionate eating is the direction that TMNT fans, their siblings, and their parents are taking.

Check this out: Generation Z already scarfs down 57 percent more tofu and chugs 550 percent more nondairy milk than millennials do. Meanwhile, 70 percent of U.S. college campuses offer daily vegan options—that’s an awesome 42 percent jump from just four years ago—and one in five even have an all-vegan dining station. Twenty-six percent of all consumers say that they’ve cut back on eating meat in the last 12 months, and 58 percent of adults drink nondairy milk.

What’s that mean for reptilian—and human—pizza connoisseurs? More than 40 restaurant chains across the country, including Two Boots, &pizza, and Pizza Studio in the Turtles’ New York City stomping grounds, have taken note and added vegan cheese to their menus, and many of them now offer cruelty-free toppings like mock meats, seasoned tempeh, and tofu.

Putting vegan pizza on the Fab Four’s plates is sure to inspire fans to try it themselves, and that would be great news for cows. The dairy industry isn’t kind to these gentle, intelligent beings—they often spend their lives standing on concrete floors, separated from their babies and tethered to machines until their milk production wanes. Their misery ends at the slaughterhouse.

I’ve got to believe that the Turtles would be willing to help save other animals’ lives.

Thanks for your time and for considering this important issue. I’m looking forward to discussing it with you.


Lauren Thomasson


Whether or not you agree with PETA, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to add another nutritious example to our children’s television shows. If we are facing facts, America isn’t exactly the healthiest country in the world, and it would actually make sense for at least one of the turtles to enjoy Vegan food over traditional pizza (looking at you Donatello). With any suggested change to a popular icon, there will most likely be a ton of opinions on the matter, ranging from outrage to indifference. No word yet from Nickelodeon on the matter.