Published: 11:15, 08 February 2018
Animal rights campaigners are urging Marlowe Theatre bosses to take pork off its menu during the staging of the children's show Peppa Pig.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) made the appeal after discovering ham sandwiches and sausages may be served when the production comes to Canterbury on February 13 and 14.
"Many of the young children who will cheer for Peppa would be horrified to learn that sausages are made from pigs like her," says Peta UK director Elisa Allen.
"Peppa shows others that she's not a piece of bacon or a ham sandwich but rather an individual with emotions and the ability to feel joy. What better way to honour the live show's message than by serving vegan meals?"
In an email to acting theatre director Paula Gillespie, Mrs Allen describes how pigs suffer in factory farming conditions but says the theatre can help by-pass "the whole ugly business" of factory pig farming by switching to alternative vegan products.
"We respectfully urge you to honour the popular pig by taking animals off the menu during the run – or even better, for good," she says.
"We hope you'll agree to serve only plant-based meals during the Peppa Pig's Adventures run, and Peta would be happy to help by supplying your café with vegan ham or sausages for the opening show. They're tasty and high in protein."
She adds: "You may just find that visitor numbers increase when news of the change gets out. Interest in vegan living is at an all-time high, as more and more people are leaving animal-derived foods off their plates – for their health.
"Your switch to a cruelty-free café would be a wonderful outcome for all these reasons, and your patrons would be able to enjoy meals with a clear conscience."
But Marlowe Theatre acting director Paula Gillespie said it would not be taking pork products off the menu.
"We respect Peta's point of view but we can't get ourselves tied up in knots with different things in our programme and how that might be reflected in the menu.
"It's about individual choice and we already offer good vegetarian options. What we want to do is give customers what they want otherwise we wouldn't be operating commercially.
"All our meat is supplied locally and responsibly from the Butcher of Brogdale and I believe is free range."