Why You Shouldn’t Say ‘Cheese’ Before a Photo


2 min read

If a photographer asked you to say “cruelty” before snapping your photo, would you flash a toothy smile? In PETA’s new thought-provoking public service announcement, codirected by Christian Carl and Jon Walley with Philadelphia-based production company Format, we’re reminding everyone what “Say ‘cheese’” really means for cows who suffer and die in the abusive dairy industry:

“Calf-cow separation” and “repeated forced impregnation” are nothing to smile about—so why do we keep saying “cheese”? Mother cows are fiercely protective of their precious babies, but the dairy industry denies them this important bond, stealing their calves from them shortly after birth. Dairy farms repeatedly impregnate female cows in order to exploit them like milking machines until they’re no longer able to produce milk. Then, these sensitive, gentle mothers are sent to slaughter so that humans can eat their flesh.

Say ‘Compassion!’ Instead

Today’s young people understand that the language we use should reflect our shifting values. Studies suggest that going vegan is growing in popularity among younger generations, as it’s better for our fellow animals, the environment, and our own health. Reportedly, 79% of the Gen Z population goes meatless one day a week and 65% say they want a more plant-forward diet. Another study shows that 19% of Gen Alphas ask their parents to buy plant-based foods.

Replacing tired, outdated phrases with more conscientious ones is a piece of vegan cake. Instead of saying “cheese,” opt for an animal-friendly phrase with that long “e” sound that helps you smile, like “trees,” “bees,” or “nutritional yeast.” There are endless ways to get creative while being kind to our fellow animals.

Go Vegan!

By going vegan, you can spare nearly 200 animals a year, reduce your environmental footprint, and improve your health—now that’s something to smile about. The best part? We’ll help you do it. Order a free vegan starter kit to make the compassionate switch today:

Order a Free Vegan Starter Kit



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