No more fish fingers and custard, no more ‘bad bacon’, and no more jelly babies (to quote The Simpsons ‘they’re made of hooves you know’) animal rights organisation PETA, have called upon the Doctor to stop his rampant carnivorous ways and asked Chris Chibnall to make Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor a vegan.
In an open letter to the new showrunner from PETA director Elisa Allen, the organisation said:
“We at PETA – like so many devoted Doctor Who fans worldwide – are excited to see Jodie Whittaker step into the Doctor’s shoes but before she begins to navigate her way through space and time, we have a request we hope you’ll consider: make the character vegan.”
The full letter goes on to outline PETA’s reasons for making the Doctor a Vegan, suggesting that by eating meat the Doctor contradicts the shows central message of “love for life in all its forms”.
“Eating dead animals simply doesn’t fit with the Doctor’s moral compass since, as Christopher Eccleston so aptly said, the show has ‘the central message of love for life in all its forms.
“Not only is switching to a vegan diet infinitely kinder to animals, it’s also one of the best ways to protect planet Earth, as animal agriculture is a major producer of the greenhouse-gas emissions that contribute to climate change.
“Considering all the benefits that eating vegan has for a person’s heart, it’d be doubly beneficial for the Doctor!
“Vegan foods really have come a long way since the nut cutlets of the Sixth Doctor’s time – there are tasty options readily available to suit every appetite (even if that’s for faux-fish fingers dunked in soya custard),” the open letter concludes.
“We hope the new Doctor will join us in taking a stand for animals and inspire others to switch to a healthy, Earth-friendly, life-saving diet.”
It’s easy to ‘scoff’ at this – sure, quote Christopher Eccleston’s Doctor but I’m pretty sure he’s quite attached to his leather jacket, and speaking of which, why weren’t PETA lobbying the Doctor then? Just because the show has embraced change doesn’t mean, ‘while you’re at it, can you add our cause too?’ it undermines both positions – It’s interesting to think of how a character that interacts with literally all forms of life handles the delicate issue of a potential culinary faux pa? It seems like a potential minefield of choices. Maybe Jelly Babies were an accepted inter-galactic greeting? What if alien races are expecting them and the Doctor switches to their non-gelatin alternative? Will the humble Jelly Baby cause an intergalactic war?!?
It doesn’t seem likely but it does say something about choices in fiction; they aren’t made in a vacuum. There has to be a compelling, driving narrative impetus to make that change that will hopefully make for a smashing television show; just like the nonsense example above. While in real life, when someone decides to become a vegan, that choice has to be respected because you have to assume that while they patiently explain for the 98th time, that yes, they are vegan and no, they don’t want to go to the Handmade burger Co for lunch, there’s a compelling reason for them to make that change. Does it make for smashing television? I’m not so sure…
Although, speaking as a Vegetarian, I can’t wait for the pulse-pounding scene where the Doctor sighs her way through the disappointing options on a vegetarian menu before settling on the ‘veggie burger’ for the 89th time.
Either way, the decision rests with Chris Chibnall.