Here’s Part 2 with answers to questions from baby boomer Karen Taggart, spokeswoman for PETA Prime.
Rita: There are many vegetarian Web sites. Why did PETA create PETA Prime and what are its goals?
Karen: We created PETA Prime in response to feedback we received from our members and staff. PETA has had a very successful program for young people, called peta2, and they’re amazing. They’re always busy with conferences, touring with bands, gathering petition signatures, promoting online actions, and many other great things all to help young people understand the importance of animal rights.
Some PETA members and staff suggested we try and do the same for people in the “prime” of life. I thought it was a fantastic idea, because if there is anyone out there who understands the importance of compassionate and healthy living it’s baby boomers. So, we created PETA Prime to help bring together and support everyone… who’s thinking about animal issues and is part of the Dylan/Springsteen generation.
Rita: I see you have a dozen or more writers, and the Web site features blog articles rather than recipes. What was the thinking behind this format? Are your writers paid or are they volunteers? What's the response been to PETA Prime so far?
Karen: PETA has a very successful Web site called VegCooking.com that is full of wonderful recipes, so we didn’t feel the need to reinvent the wheel. We frequently link to recipes from this site on PETA Prime. We do have one blogger in particular, Laura Frisk, who shares her cooking tips, cookbook reviews, and party planning ideas.
The idea behind the site is to create a place where PETA Primers could really come together and share their ideas, tips, insights, concerns, and questions. We wanted to create educated and accessible articles that would be useful to a range of people; from our vegan grandmother Michelle Rivera, who has been vegan for 20-plus years to someone like my own mother, who’s not even vegetarian yet, but is always educating herself more and more on these important issues. We wanted to really concentrate on five main topic areas: Health, Family & Friends (including companion animals), Travel, Home and Garden, and Money.
All of our writers are volunteers. Some of our writers work for PETA or the PETA Foundation, but the blog writing isn’t part of their official jobs. I consider them volunteers as well. The rest of our writers are PETA members and let me tell you they are incredible.
We have a well-informed group of writers including Dr. Barry Kipperman, a vegetarian emergency vet; Elizabeth Bublitz, an animal-friendly gardening expert; Lisa Towell, a writer with a background in environmental and animal shelter issues; and the Anderlik Family, a vegan family of two 50-plus daughters and their parents who organize a local animal rights group in their community.
The writers come up with the majority of the article ideas. So far, PETA Prime has been well received. We have received a lot of great feedback, and the community continues to grow every day.
Rita: What's the Vegetarian Starter Kit? How does it help people switch to a vegetarian diet?
Karen: PETA’s Vegetarian Starter Kit is a free resource that you can order online and have it sent to your home. It’s a 20-plus-page booklet that’s full of facts about the benefits of a vegetarian diet along with tips about getting started. It has great recipes for everything from Shepherd’s Pie to Chocolate Mousse.
It also has some quotes from famous vegetarians and vegetarian celebrities, and a guide to some great vegetarian products that are now available including soy milks, veggie burgers, and vegan ice cream. I can tell you, having been vegan for a while, that vegan ice cream has come a long way. Even my non-vegan friends enjoy eating the yummy flavors and brands that are available now.
Rita: Is there anything else we should know about PETA Prime?
Karen: First, I’m so thankful for the opportunity to do this interview with your site – The Survive and Thrive Boomer Guide. I remember stumbling across your site and immediately getting excited because of all the great tips you provide boomers on living happier, healthier lives. I think we have a lot in common!
At PETA Prime, we want people to really celebrate all the ways that they can make big differences in their lives, and the lives of animals, by making simple, every day choices in a compassionate and caring way. I expect to see many boomers doing many great things for many years to come, and I hope that PETA Prime can be part of the change they bring about.
Rita: Thank you for the interview. It's been helpful to learn more about vegetarianism. I'll be ordering a Vegetarian Starter Kit.