About the "Be Veg" Toronto Subway Ad Campaign

Be Veg Campaign at the Vegetarian Food Festival

A TTC rider taking in one of the campaign ads

One of our fabulous vegan bake sales for campaign

The campaign extends to St. Catharines/Niagara Falls courtesy of Niagara Action for Animals

This campaign started in 2009 with television host/Soul Coach Kimberly Carroll and University of Toronto finance professor Lisa Kramer discussing over coffee what might make an effective transit ad to inspire compassion for the animals in our society raised for food and encourage a cruelty-free diet. They pooled their time, money, and ideas together and got the help of a few great people who care deeply about these mostly forgotten animals. Some of those key players include Helen Prancic from ARKII & Branded By Helen who did the ad’s graphic design, Nathan Runkle from Mercy For Animals who provided wonderful guidance, support, & webspace, Twyla Francois -- Head of Investigation for Canadians for the Ethical Treatment of Food Animals -- who was consulted on the ad and website factory farming content, and Jenny McQueen from the Toronto Vegetarian Association who sourced all sorts of valuable info for the team.

In the summer of 2009, a modest ad campaign ran on the Toronto subway system that asked the question "Why love one but eat the other?" with three different ads featuring an inquisitive puppy facing a cheerful piglet, a fluffy kitten and an equally fluffy baby chick side-by-side, and an alert Labrador Retriever beside a curious cow. The poster-sized ads in this series drew attention to the similarities between the animals we call "family" and the animals we call "dinner", and then exposed the shocking cruelty that the pig, chicken, and cow face on today's factory farms. Its call to action was for people to choose a vegetarian diet.

Although limited in size, this campaign picked up huge buzz and became a hot topic around water coolers, at barbeques, in movie theatres, and all over the media. There were constant reports of people (including whole families) becoming vegetarian and vegan because of the ads, while groups from Hong Kong to St. Catharines to Slovenia asked to run their own versions of the Toronto-originated campaign.

In 2011, Lisa and Kimberly decided to take this campaign to new heights by trying to raise enough money to dramatically increase the number of subway ads for a Fall 2011 run. The Toronto Vegetarian Association came on-board as a supporter of the campaign and individuals from all walks of life came forward to fund the project. A range of individuals from teachers to photographers to students to doctors donated amounts from $5 to thousands. Fundraising efforts ranged from vegan bake sales to Facebook word-of-mouth. With the help and passion of a whole community of people concerned about the treatment of animals raised for food, the size of the original campaign has been quadrupled. There were one thousand of these ads running in the Toronto subway system in October and November of 2011 and a smaller run continuing into 2012.

Media Mentions

Toronto's Newstalk 1010
"Be Veg" Toronto Subway Campaign Co-Coordinator Kimberly Carroll talks to John Moore (Moore in the Morning) on Toronto's Newstalk 1010 about the controversy behind the "Why love one but eat the other?" ads on Toronto subways. Nov. 7, 2011.

"Don't Have a Cow: Subway Riders Challenged on Meat-Eating" - Huffington Post written by campagin co-coordinator Lisa Kramer

"When Eating Bacon is Like Eating Fido" - Toronto Star article

Bête, pas bête - Le Journal de Montréal

Animal Voices Radio Show - featuring "Be Veg" Campaign Co-ordinators Lisa Kramer & Kimberly Carroll

Posters offer food for thought - Metro News

Newsfront - Now Magazine