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PETA targets Space Needle in effort to slim down tourists

SpaceNeedle
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, is suggesting the Space Needle's restaurant "go vegan" after a staffer recently noticed overweight passengers on the landmark's elevator. (MyNorthwest.com/Riley Elliott) | Zoom
Does every restaurant need to have vegan options?

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, is requesting the Space Needle's restaurant "go vegan" after a staffer recently noticed overweight passengers on the landmark's elevator.

PETA, whose motto is "animals are not ours to eat," said in its news release, "(A) staffer who recently visited Seattle's Space Needle spent the journey worrying that the elevator might plummet from the weight of his fellow passengers."

So to combat obesity, PETA has made an "unusual request:" introduce vegan options on the SkyCity restaurant menu and display a new ad in the elevator that reads, "Take Your Health to New Heights. Go Vegan!"

"We definitely think that the Space Needle executives will benefit from adding these options to their menu so they won't be turning away families that do include vegetarians and vegans," PETA spokesperson Alicia Woempner told KIRO Radio on Thursday.

The idea doesn't sit well with KIRO Radio's Jason Rantz.

"They can make their suggestion all they want, but the smartest business move by the restaurant is to provide food that appeals to the vast majority," he said. "And let's stop pretending vegans are the epitome of health. Studies have shown them to be deficient in some of the most important vitamins and minerals to the human body. They tend to lack healthy levels of B12, D, calcium, protein, zinc, and iron. They look skinnier because they're underweight from lack of a balanced diet."

In its letter, PETA pointed out to the Space Needle's president that, "vegans are, on average, 18 percent thinner and less prone to developing obesity, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes than meat-eaters are."

A vegan is someone who chooses to not only avoid animal flesh, but also dairy and eggs, according to Vegan.org.

Listed on the SkyCity restaurant menu is a lovely baby greens salad - but a vegan might want to pass on the blue cheese dressing. There's also a chop chop salad, but they'd want to hold the hot coppa, ciliegine, and speck.

"Encouraging visitors to go vegan and offering them healthy plant-based meals can help lighten the load on the Space Needle's elevator and on the passengers themselves," PETA President Ingrid Newkirk, said in the release. "PETA's vegan menu suggestions would keep visitors coming back for more delicious meals while sparing the lives of chickens, cows, fish, and pigs as well as generating even more attention for one of Seattle's most iconic attractions."

The Space Needle issued the following statement:

"The Space Needle works hard to give every one of our guests a great experience. We serve vegetarian dishes in SkyCity restaurant and, unlike many other towers around the country, we do not have advertising in our elevators."

The Space Needle claims to host over 1 million annual visitors and is the #1 tourist attraction in the Northwest.

Stephanie Klein, MyNorthwest.com Editor
Stephanie joined the MyNorthwest.com team in February 2008. She has built the site into a two-time National Edward R. Murrow Award winner (Best Radio Website 2010, 2012).
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