Animal Protection > AR Interviews

Bruce Friedrich
Director of Vegan Campaigns,
PETA
2004

As director of vegan campaigns for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), Bruce Friedrich has headed up some of PETA’s most successful campaigns to help animals. He ran PETA’s campaign against McDonald’s cruel factory-farming and slaughter practices, forcing the fast-food giant to become the first corporation in U.S. history to adopt farmed-animal welfare policies. Burger King and Wendy’s followed suit after similarly hard-hitting campaigns. When Bruce moved on to grocery chains, Safeway became "Shameway."

No stranger to controversy, Bruce devised the "Got Beer?" Campaign, which "encourages" college students to drink beer instead of milk; a series of billboards and advertisements focusing on the fact that eating chicken and other meats causes impotence and makes meat-eaters fat; and JesusVeg.com, which tells Christians that eating meat "mocks God" by treating His creatures cruelly. Bruce even streaked outside a meeting between President George Bush and the Queen of England with "GoVeg.com" painted on his back. Bruce’s campaigns have generated record numbers of visits to PETA’s Web sites, headlines across the country, and outrage in the meat and dairy industries.

Bruce’s skills as an advocate for animals make him a popular guest on television and radio news programs. He has appeared on NBC’s Today show and on various programs on CNN, the Fox News Network, MSNBC, and Court TV. His campaigns have been covered repeatedly in all of North America’s major newspapers, including The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and USA Today.

Bruce’s endeavors caught the eye of the editors at Details magazine, which placed him at the number five spot on their list of the "50 Most Influential Men Under 38," beating out Tiger Woods, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Justin Timberlake, among others.

Bruce became concerned about animals that are slaughtered for food while growing up in Minnesota and Oklahoma, where he often saw trucks transporting turkeys, chickens, pigs, and cows through bitter Minnesota winters and the sweltering Oklahoma summers. He became a vegan in college after reading Frances Moore Lappé’s Diet for a Small Planet and realizing that a meat-based diet contributes to environmental devastation and global poverty as well as animal suffering.

Before joining PETA in 1996, Bruce spent six years working in a shelter for homeless families and the largest soup kitchen in Washington, D.C. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Iowa’s Grinnell College with majors in English and economics and a minor in religious studies. He received the Gilbert Award for original research in the field of economics.

In addition to his work with PETA, Bruce serves on the governing board of the Catholic Vegetarian Society and the advisory board of the Christian Vegetarian Society. He is also a founding member of the Society of Religious and Ethical Vegetarians.

Three of Bruce's many essays include Effective Advocacy, Is Eating Meat A Caholic Sin?, Veganism in a Nutshell.