PETA targets school photographers, demands they find alternative to ‘Say cheese!’

PETA’s latest campaign targets photographers and anyone else who finds themselves using “Say cheese!” before snapping a picture.

The animal rights group argues people should recognize what saying cheese “really means” and use alternative words that “reflect our shifting values.”

Keep reading to see what PETA is suggesting we use.

On Tuesday, the organization issued letters to school photography companies challenging them to get students to smile without using “the old-fashioned and outdated phrase ‘Say cheese’”.

Claiming the phrase is “so last century,” PETA wrote in a letter to Geskus Photography, Inc: “The much-needed switch to ‘Say peas’ would be a simple but meaningful change for people both in front of and behind the camera. No kid wants to be reminded of the suffering of cows while not too awkwardly trying to pose for their yearbook photo.”

In addition to sending out letters, PETA also released a video where people posing for photos said phrases such as: “Babies slaughtered for veal” or “Calf-cow separation” before having their photo taken.

“Replacing tired, outdated phrases with more conscientious ones is a piece of vegan cake,” the group said in a statement.

“Instead of saying ‘cheese,’ opt for an animal-friendly phrase with that long ‘e’ sound that helps you smile, like ‘trees,’ ‘bees,’ or ‘nutritional yeast.’


a katz / Shutterstock.com

The organization’s campaign did not go over well with social media users.

“Yall genuinely disgust me,” one user wrote on X (formerly Twitter).

“Don’t we have to quit saying ‘crowbar’?” someone asked.

Meanwhile, on YouTube, someone simply wrote: “no. food is food.”

What do you think of PETA’s attempt at getting people to stop using the phrase “Say cheese”? Share your thoughts with us on Facebook.


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