[Editor's note: The following is the text of a television advertising campaign recently produced for the Save the Meat-Eaters Foundation. Over the coming months it will be rolled out in 37 countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia.]
Off-Screen Announcer: "Half-way around the world, in America, millions of children face malnutrition every day. Won't you help?"
The camera focuses in on an eight-year-old boy dressed in khakis, a polo shirt and Air Jordan sneakers. He has a plaintive look on his face, a half-eaten hamburger in one hand, and dried ketchup at the corners of his mouth.
Announcer: "This is Conner. He lives in the village of Westport, Connecticut with his parents and younger sister Megan. Shockingly, Connor's diet consists almost entirely of hamburgers, chicken nuggets and cows' milk—a diet severely lacking in necessary vitamins, minerals and fiber.
"The story is the same for millions of children across America." [At this point the picture shifts to a group of children eating pizza at a Chuck E. Cheese franchise. A six-foot mouse in a purple shirt and baseball cap looms in the background.] "Left to the mercy of the US school lunch program and their tacky suburban parents, these children will almost certainly grow up fat, unhealthy, and totally lacking in good taste.
"Fortunately, the future doesn't have to be so grim for Connor and his friends. The Save the Meat-Eaters Foundation has helped thousands of meat-eating children like these to enjoy fruitful (and vegetableful) lives." [The picture changes to smiling children shoving string beans up their noses.] "Won't you help? For a donation of as little as $2 a day you can give a six-year-old girl in Indianapolis her first taste of mustard greens, or send a lentil pilaf to a young boy in Scarsdale.
"And when you sponsor a meat-eating child, you will get a picture of that child and receive letters in his or her own handwriting…"
[The camera zooms in on a cute blonde girl reading from her letter. "Dear Mr. Gupta, Thank you for your generous donation of the basmati rice and the dal. All the kids at school said it was the best dal they ever had. We don't miss hamburgers at all anymore, and tomorrow Mrs. Godfrey, our Save the Meat-Eaters counselor, is going to teach us to eat artichokes. God bless you, Mr. Gupta! With help like yours us American kids have a chance to grow up just like kids do in the rest of the world."]
Announcer: "Yes, we are blessed to live in a land where good food is plentiful. But in the United States, a country with a long history of war, privilege for the wealthy, and governments that cater to the agricultural special interests, the choices are limited. Here there is no national health-care program, and doctors are untrained in nutrition and preventative medicine. …Sadly, children are often the first victims." [A screen shot of teenagers drinking Pepsi and eating fried pork rinds in front of a Quickie Mart is accompanied by ominous music.]
"Please call the number at the bottom of your screen today. Save the Meat-Eaters will turn your generous, tax-deductible contribution into whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, and rush them to the places where the need is most critical—Nebraska, Idaho, and (god help us!) Texas. Just imagine the joy on an American teenager's face when he eats his first carrot. Imagine the sense of accomplishment young mothers in Save the Meat-Eaters' training classes will feel when they make their first salad without iceberg lettuce and ranch dressing." [The music turns bright and perky, and the camera shows a smiling mother serving frisee tossed with walnuts and raspberry vinaigrette to her smiling children.]
"It's not too late to make a difference in the life of a meat-eating child. Call the number at the bottom of your screen right now, and support the Save the Meat-Eaters Foundation. You'll be glad you did!"