Girl, 12, challenges Pope to go vegan for Lent – for $1m for charity

Girl, 12, challenges Pope to go vegan for Lent – and he can have $1 MILLION for charity of his choice

  • Vegan activist Genesis Butler, 12, challenged Pope Francis to go vegan
  • If Pope goes vegan for Lent, he gets one million dollars to give to any charity
  • Letter supported by Paul McCartney, Brigitte Bardot, and other celebrities

A 12-year-old animal rights and climate campaigner has challenged Pope Francis to go vegan for Lent, in exchange for a million dollars to a charity of his choice.

In an open letter supported by Paul McCartney, Brigitte Bardot, and dozens of other celebrities, Genesis Butler urged the Pope to consider the offer.

The Million Dollar Vegan campaign is being led by the US-based Blue Horizon International Foundation, which pledged to put up one million dollars (£771,170) if the pontiff says yes.   


Vegan activist Genesis Butler, 12, is fronting the Million Dollar Vegan campaign, which is challenging Pope Francis to go vegan for the 40 days of Lent

‘Today, Pope Francis, I am asking you to join me in abstaining from all animal products throughout Lent,’ the 40 days of penance and fasting before Easter Sunday observed by Catholics, Anglicans and Orthodox Christians.


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‘Your Holiness, we must act,’ she writes. ‘Moving towards a plant-based diet will protect our land, trees, oceans and air, and help feed the world’s most vulnerable. 

Butler’s letter reflects three social movements that have converged into an increasingly insistent call to eat less or no meat.

Climate scientists have shown that the way food is currently produced, distributed and consumed worldwide generates 25 to 30 percent of planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions.

The US-based Blue Horizon International Foundation has pledged to put up one million dollars (£771,170) for Pope Francis, pictured in the United Arab Emirates yesterday, to give to a charity of his choice if he agrees to go vegan for Lent

Cattle production alone accounts for more than half of those gases, in the form of methane-laden flatulence, and carbon dioxide released when forests – especially in the tropics – are cleared to make room for livestock.

While the Pope is known to live a frugal lifestyle, his meat-loving homeland Argentina is the world’s second-biggest consumer of beef per capita.

A major study last month calculated that only a stringent plant-based diet – with vastly reduced meat portions compared to current levels of consumption, especially in rich nations – can feed the 10 billion people projected to inhabit the planet in 2050 without wrecking the environment.

‘With 815 million people suffering from malnutrition, imagine how many hungry people we could feed across the world if we moved away from such wasteful diets,’ Butler said in the letter, written jointly with the Million Dollar Vegan non-profit campaign. 

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