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PETA wants Austin Harrouff fed all-vegan meals

PETA asks Martin County Sheriff's Office to feed Austin Harrouff, the man accused of the face-biting murder near Tequesta, all-vegan meals. WPEC.

STUART, Fla. (CBS12) - The animal rights group PETA wants the Martin County Sheriff's Office to feed Austin Harrouff all-vegan meals in jail.

Harrouff is the suspect in a face-biting attack and killings near Tequesta in August.

According to new documents, the FSU college student told deputies as they took him into custody that he ate "humans."

PETA says a diet change for Harrouff will save taxpayers money.

"Switching to vegan meals will keep blood off this man's plate, and that seems a useful thing to do," says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. "PETA is offering to help Sheriff Snyder save lives and public funds by serving prisoners—especially violent ones—a humane and cost-effective vegan menu."

Harrouff, 19, is accused of killing John Stevens and Michelle Karen Mishcon at their home on Kokomo Lane on Aug. 15, 2016.

The first deputy on scene, according to the arrest affidavit, saw Harrouff, dressed in a blue shirt and silk boxers, biting Stevens and spitting out his flesh.

Deputy Grace Zopf ordered Harouff off the victim but said he "continued to bite and rip off flesh from the victim."

Deputies used a Taser and K-9 to pry Harrouff off the victim and get him into handcuffs. Harrouff spent weeks in the hospital before being taken to jail.

Dr. Phil planned last week to air an interview with Harrouff from his hospital bed, but producers later pulled it due "new developments."

The Sheriff's Office told CBS12 it had no new developments and debunked the statement from the Dr. Phil show.

Family members told CBS12 the Dr. Phil show told them the episode was pulled out of respect for the families. After hearing of the interview, family members called Harrouff "a monster."

The family is seeking the death penalty for Harrouff.

CBS12 asked the Martin County Sheriff's Office for a statement on PETA's request. The Sheriff's Office said it passed along the request to jail administrators. A grand jury will convene next Tuesday to hear evidence in the case.


FULL STATEMENT FROM PETA

Last month, Florida State University student Austin Harrouff was charged with murder for allegedly killing two people and chewing on the flesh of one victim in Tequesta. That's why PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that "animals are not ours to eat"—has written to Sheriff William D. Snyder of the Martin County Jail today asking him to serve Harrouff all-vegan meals.

"Switching to vegan meals will keep blood off this man's plate, and that seems a useful thing to do," says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. "PETA is offering to help Sheriff Snyder save lives and public funds by serving prisoners—especially violent ones—a humane and cost-effective vegan menu."

PETA points out that we are all made of flesh and blood, that we are all animals, and that the violent acts that Harrouff has been charged with are similar to those commonly inflicted upon billions of farmed animals in the U.S. each year. Ditching meat, dairy foods, and eggs spares smart pigs, sensitive cows, curious chickens, and other animals a miserable life and a terrifying death. Vegan meals are also healthy, economical, and easy to prepare, and they've been shown to help improve inmate behavior at several correctional facilities.

LETTER TO MARTIN COUNTY SHERIFF

Dear Sheriff Snyder,

On behalf of PETA and our more than 5 million members and supporters worldwide, including thousands across Florida, I am writing to suggest that you prevent Austin Harrouff from being involved in any more instances of flesh-eating while in your custody by providing him with exclusively vegan meals.

We read news stories indicating that he was recently charged with murder for allegedly killing two people and eating the flesh of one victim. May we suggest that it seems fitting, therefore, to deny him the taste of flesh while he's in prison? We all learned in basic biology that—just like humans—cows, chickens, and other animals are made of flesh, blood, and bone; that they have the same five senses that we do; and that they share our capacity to experience suffering and fear. We also know that—as many documentaries and exposés have shown—animals killed for food are shackled upside down, their throats are cut, and they are sometimes scalded or even dismembered while alive for nothing more than a fleeting taste. Although none of us can stop all violence, you have the power to prevent Harrouff from contributing to the suffering and death of even one more individual by placing him on a flesh-free diet.

Some prisons—including those at Alabama's highest-security prison, William E. Donaldson Correctional Facility—have found that giving inmates vegetarian or vegan meals can be a successful part of a violence-reduction program. If Harrouff did, in fact, eat the flesh of a human, vegan foods could diminish that bloodthirstiness and might even help protect staff and fellow inmates. A vegan diet would also improve his health—which would save taxpayers money by decreasing his health-care costs, since vegans have a lower risk of suffering from heart disease, obesity, cancer, and diabetes than meat-eaters do. Vegan meals are also cost-efficient and easy to prepare. In fact, a vegan meal plan could benefit all your inmates, and we'd be happy to help you with recipes and more, if you'd like to explore this idea.

Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Tracy Reiman

Executive Vice President

PETA

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