PETA wants Jill Biden to swap out eggs for potatoes at White House Easter egg roll

The animal rights group PETA is once against urging the White House to make some changes to its annual Easter Egg Roll.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals reached out to the Biden administration to urge a more cruelty-free event this year as the 2024 White House Easter Egg Roll is set to take place on the South Lawn on Easter Monday, April 1.

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In a pun-filled letter,  the organization suggested first lady Jill Biden should swap out chicken eggs for potatoes, writing to “respectfully suggest an appeeling way to modernize the White House Easter Egg Roll.”

President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden kick off the Egg Roll races during the annual White House Easter Egg Roll, Monday, April 10, 2023, on the South Lawn of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Erin Scott)

“Instead of promoting the deleterious factory farming and slaughter industries, will you please initiate the annual White House Potato Roll?” the letter from PETA President Ingrid Newkirk asked.

In contrast to an egg roll, a potato roll would not “exploit any sentient beings and would encourage empathy and kindness to animals while supporting potato farmers in the U.S,” according to PETA.

“Potatoes are the most popular vegetable in the country and can be safely dyed, allowing for spudtacular traditional activities, such as rolling them, seeking for them, and decorating them,” the letter stated. “You could even hold potato sack races and games of hot potato!”

This is not the first time the organization has asked the White House to consider other options for the annual Egg Roll. Last year, PETA requested that President Joe Biden choose “reusable plastic or wooden eggs — or even lovely painted rocks or egg-shaped balls”

The long-held tradition began in 1878 when President Rutherford B. Hayes opened the White House Grounds on Easter Monday. The 1918 Egg Roll was canceled due to wartime restrictions as was the event in 1942 at the onset of World War II. Bad weather and the COVID-19 pandemic were other occasions when the roll was canceled over the years.

“Easter should be a time of renewal and joy for everyone, including chickens,” Newkirk said in the PETA letter.

“But chickens suffer in the cruel, environmentally destructive meat and egg industries, which raise and kill millions of sensitive birds each year. Farms that use “free-range” or “cage-free” labels confine chickens to cramped, filthy sheds, where they can’t even stretch their wings, root in the soil, or breathe fresh air. Farmers often cut off the tips of chicks’ sensitive beaks with a hot blade to prevent anguished, frustrated birds from pecking at each other,” she added.

“In starch contrast, a potato roll would support U.S. potato farmers and teach tots that our fellow animals are sensitive, feeling beings who deserve respect,” the letter continued. “Chickens form complex social hierarchies and can recognize more than 100 individuals of their own species. They feel pain and fear, just as humans do.”


The PETA president also cited the avian flu outbreak of 2022 which triggered skyrocketing egg prices.

“Amid the worst avian flu outbreak in history, in which almost 82 million birds — most of them egg-laying chickens — have been slaughtered, and during a period of rising egg prices, we’re rooting for you to leave a legacy of kindness by starting this new Easter tradition,” PETA said.

“Last year, the American Egg Board donated 30,000 eggs for the White House Easter Egg Roll and another 30,000 to food banks in the Washington area,” The Hill reported.