His Holiness’ Call for Humanity to View Animals as God’s Creation, Worthy of Protection and Respect, Is Deciding Factor

For Immediate Release:
December 2, 2015

Manila — He is the first pope to take the name of St Francis of Assisi, patron saint of all animals, who said, “Not to hurt our humble brethren is our first duty to them, but to stop there is not enough. We have a higher mission – to be of service to them wherever they require it”. And he is also the first to be picked as PETA Asia’s Person of the Year. Pope Francis, who visited the Philippines earlier this year, was chosen for asking the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics and all citizens of the world to reject domination over God’s creation, treat animals with kindness, and respect the environment—something PETA views as a subtle call to go vegan, given animal agriculture’s well-established role in climate change.

In his 2015 treatise, Laudato Si’, Pope Francis stressed the importance of treating animals with kindness, writing, “Every act of cruelty towards any creature is ‘contrary to human dignity'” and “We are not God. … [W]e must forcefully reject the notion that our being created in God’s image and given dominion over the earth justifies absolute domination over other creatures.”

Pope Francis is also known for his focus on environmental stewardship—a concern that PETA shares through its vegan advocacy as, according to the United Nations, a global shift toward vegan eating is necessary in slowing the most dangerous effects of climate change, including the extinction of wildlife.

“With more than a billion Catholics worldwide, Pope Francis’ animal-friendly teachings have a massive audience,” says PETA Asia Vice President Jason Baker. “His Holiness is PETA Asia’s Person of the Year for spreading the message of showing kindness to all, regardless of their religion or species.”

Among those whom PETA Asia has selected as its Person of the Year in the past are actor Maggie Q, model Isabel Roces-Trebol, and Taiwanese singer Show Luo.

For more information, please visit PETAAsia.com.