Special to [X]press: By Adam Moreno
The Tenderloin has a historical reputation as a haven for crime, drugs and sex, but the animal rights group, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, is proposing that with a more animal-friendly name, this could change.
Tracy Reiman, PETA’s executive vice president, called for the change last month in a letter to San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, suggesting that the area be renamed the Tempeh District in an attempt to promote the cruelty-free meat substitute of the same name.
The letter to Lee also suggested alternative names for the district if Tempeh didn’t muster enough support, including Granola Flats or Seitan’s Lair, which also refers to a soy food product.
“You could even run a contest to choose a veggie moniker,” Reiman said in her letter.
Not all San Francisco residents were convinced that the neighborhood needed a name change, though.
“I think associating an intensely urban and sometimes intimidating neighborhood known for its rough edges with a tenderloin steak is just what PETA might want,” said SF State student Eliseo Parra, who has been a vegetarian for seven years and a vegan for six years. “I think PETA has some interesting and sometimes misguided techniques that are sometimes more effective in polarizing the public sector rather than effecting any change whatsoever.”
PETA, however, believes that renaming the neighborhood will work well with the city’s goals for the area.
“The city of San Francisco hopes to revitalize the ailing Tenderloin district by enticing Twitter and other businesses to set up shop,” said Amelia Jensen, the college campaign assistant at PETA. “It would attract progressive companies and prospective residents by showing them that the neighborhood is ready for a fresh start and a new image.”
Jensen believes that the Tenderloin district is long overdue for a better title.
“The ‘Tenderloin’ is an outdated name that echoes the violence and cruelty of the meat industry,” Jensen said. “San Francisco is now renowned for some of the best vegan cuisine in the world, and the city deserves a neighborhood named after a delicious, cruelty-free food instead of the flesh of an abused animal.”
Despite many theories as to the naming of the area, most involve bribery and none involve live animals.
For PETA’s animal rights activists, however, the name refers to a form of animal cruelty.
Jensen explained that tenderloin meat comes from “piglets (who) have their tails and testicles cut off without being given any painkillers.”
Members of PETA are now hoping that the renaming campaign will gather steam.
“We have already had a fantastic reception to our ‘Tempeh district’ idea,” Jensen said.“San Franciscans have always been progressive—celebrating diversity, wellness, and peace—and this new district name will reflect that.”