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Mercy for Animals has a solution to Taco Bell's legal woes: Go vegan

Taco Bell has been sued by Alabama-based law firm Beasley Allen, which claims the chain was using too little beef in its "beef." And because this country loves meaty litigation, Taco Bell turned around and sued right back, claiming that not only was it proud of its meat sources, but that the taco filling has plenty of beef -- it just happens to have plenty of seasoning, too.

Now an animal rights group is getting in on the fun, and it's got another solution for Taco Bell: Go vegan.

In a letter sent to Taco Bell's president, Nathan Runkle, the executive director of Mercy for Animals, asks: "Why not 'Think Outside the Bun' and switch to a healthy and delicious vegan meat substitute and cash in on the growing demand for meatless meal options?"

His letter goes on to highlight the problems with animal consumption, complete with this choice description: "Taco Bell customers would lose their appetites if they saw how cows raised for beef are inflicted with third degree burns (hot-iron branding), have their testicles ripped from their scrotums and their horns burned out of their skulls -- all without any painkillers."

But Runkle ends on a positive note, pointing out that vegan menu options were listed as a hot 2011 trend by Nation's Restaurant News.

The full text of that letter:

Dear Mr. Creed:

I am writing on behalf of Mercy For Animals, a national, non-profit animal advocacy organization, with a practical solution to your company's current legal problems stemming from allegations that your "meat mixture" contains less than 36 percent meat. Why not "Think Outside the Bun" and switch to a delicious vegan meat substitute and cash in on the growing demand for healthy and humane meatless meal options?

Taco Bell customers would lose their appetites if they saw how cows raised for beef are inflicted with third degree burns (hot-iron branding), have their testicles ripped from their scrotums and their horns burned out of their skulls - all without any painkillers. Undercover investigations have revealed sick and injured animals routinely entering the human food supply. At slaughter, improper stunning condemns many animals to being skinned and dismembered while still alive, conscious and suffering. More information is available at www.ChooseVeg.com.

Cruelty to animals aside, the United Nations is calling for a global shift toward a vegan diet, saying that this is crucial to saving the world population from hunger, fuel shortages and the worst impacts of climate change. And according to the American Dietetic Association, vegan diets provide powerful protection against many deadly diseases, including the three biggest killers in the United States: heart disease, many types of cancer, and strokes.

Human health, environmental degradation, cruelty to animals and false advertising allegations are all very serious issues, but Taco Bell can tackle these problems, and more, by adopting and promoting a compassionate and cruelty-free vegan menu. There is simply no better time than right now to salvage your company's reputation and tap into a growing market for vegan foods. In fact, the National Restaurant Association says that vegan menu options are a "hot trend" for 2011. And with Taco Bell's 12 authentic (and vegan) seasonings and spices, your customers can get the same tastes and textures they know and love with 100% plant-based meat substitutes without all the saturated fat, cholesterol and cruelty associated with animal flesh.

Mercy For Animals is ready and willing to assist Taco Bell in making the socially responsible switch to a healthy, humane and honest vegan menu. We look forward to your response. Please feel free to contact me directly at NathanR@MercyForAnimals.org or 937-470-9454.

Sincerely,

Nathan Runkle Executive Director

So there you have it. Taco Bell has a way out of this lawsuit: Veganism. And if you accept the stat that the filling was only 36 percent meat to begin with, the chain is already 64 percent of the way there.

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