Making a Splash: PETA Bathes in Downtown Boise for Earth Day 

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Harrison Berry

Meggan Anderson stepped onto the metal platform at the intersection of Idaho and Main streets in downtown Boise, and took off her robe, tossing it onto the sidewalk. Raising a bottle of body wash over her head, she began to squirt its contents onto a loofah in her other hand.

"This is my favorite part," she said, blowing bubbles from her hand and out into the street.

Anderson is a member of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, and on April 18, she and a small team came to Boise to raise awareness of the impact of the meat and dairy industries on the environment—particularly on water consumption.

"We want people to save water," said PETA campaigner Katerina Davidovich, "and going vegan is a great way to make a huge impact."

According to a report from Johns Hopkins University Center for a Livable Future, U.S. meat consumption has doubled in the last 100 years, but Americans eat approximately 1.5 times the average daily protein requirement. Depending on who's talking, 1 pound of feedlot beef requires between 1,600 and 2,500 gallons of water, and drastically reducing the scale of the meat industry could have a significant impact on the release of greenhouse gasses that drive climate change.

That has led some commentators, including the United Nations, to urge countries to promote "win-win" diets that balance people's nutritional needs with environmental considerations.

For years, PETA has taken to the streets to spread that message, often using splashy campaigns that focus on the violence of the meat industry or the attractiveness of a vegan diet.

"Facts and figures aren't enough to get the message across," Davidovich said. "We're always looking for new and creative ways to get people's attention."

Past campaigns in Boise have included a nearly nude couple laying in a twin bed with "Vegans Make Better Lovers" written on the headboard, two women—again, nearly naked—holding a sign that read "Bare Skin, Don't Wear Skin," an anti-wool protest in which two volunteers pummeled stuffed lambs inside a snow globe, and a billboard raised this year targeting Forever 21.

Its targets have included the meat and dairy industries and cruel use of animals for testing and experimentation, but this time around, Davidovich said she and her crew were in Boise to mark an occasion.

"We came to Boise specifically for Earth Day," she said.
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