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You Know You Can Just Pretend These Foam Hot Dogs Are Vegan, Right PETA?

PETA wants the big hot dog costumes at baseball games to be vegan, but surprise! They already are.

Three people in foam hot dog costumes racing in a baseball stadium
Three people in foam hot dog costumes, which may or may not represent vegan hot dogs
Jaya Saxena is a Correspondent at, and the series editor of Best American Food Writing. She explores wide ranging topics like labor, identity, and food culture.

It’s a known truth that the hot dog race at any baseball game is the best part of the game. Baseball is boring, but watching adults run around in giant foam hot dog costumes, with one inevitably falling over because it’s impossible to maneuver one’s limbs, and then get trampled by the other two as they attempt to right themselves but they can’t because their center of gravity is all off, is what I call athletics. Traditionally, there have been three contestants in any game — ketchup, mustard, and relish/onion, represented by the colored squiggles — but PETA wants the competition to be more inclusive.

The animal rights organization, known for its aggressive tactics, is asking the future Cleveland Guardians to add a vegan hot dog to its Hot Dog Derby. “Pigs, cows, and turkeys used for hot dogs value their lives and don’t deserve to become a stadium snack, so let’s go to bat for them,” said PETA President Ingrid Newkirk in a statement. “PETA hopes the team will introduce a delightful vegan wiener in a win for animals, the environment, and the health of its fans.” She also notes that Cleveland’s Progressive Field already serves vegan hot dogs and other vegan concessions, and is actually one of the most vegan-friendly ballparks in the country.

You may have noticed by now that “vegan” is not a condiment the way the rest of the hot dog contestants are. That’s because the hot dogs running around the stadium are not actually mutated, seven-foot-tall hot dogs brought to life by the ghost of Oscar Meyer. They are, amazingly, costumes, made of foam or some other artificial material, that surround a human adult only to make them look like a hot dog. Pretty clever!

Does... does PETA know this? It would certainly be an uphill battle if PETA were asking for it to be changed into the Vegetable Derby, but as it stands, this is great news for the organization! Since hot dog costumes are made of foam, you can just pretend they are all representations of vegan hot dogs, because that’s how the human imagination works. We love a happy ending.