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Crowd Cow
(Crowd Cow Photo)

Packing more football terms into a letter than was previously thought possible, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is urging NFL legend Joe Montana to “call an audible” and avoid the “unnecessary roughness” of being a backer of Seattle-based Crowd Cow.

Crowd Cow
Crowd Cow founders Joe Heitzeberg, left, and Ethan Lowry in 2016. (GeekWire Photo / Kurt Schlosser)

The company, launched in 2015 by Seattle tech veterans Joe Heitzeberg (founder of Snapvine and Poppy) and Ethan Lowry (founder of Urbanspoon and Poppy), offers consumers access to beef raised humanely by Northwest ranchers.

Montana, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, is managing partner of Liquid 2 Ventures, and was part of Crowd Cow’s $2 million funding round in January.

The PETA letter (in full, below) is signed by Andrew Bernstein, the group’s senior manager of communications. In it, Montana is urged to “consider investing in sustainable, forward-thinking, compassionate businesses that put a focus on what’s good for animals, humans, and the environment.”

Dear Joe,

We heard about your new business venture, Crowd Cow, and we’re hoping to intercept it in the name of good business and compassion. Unnecessary roughness doesn’t begin to describe the horrors that animals experience on their way to a plate.

Since transparency is the company’s goal, customers should get a good look at the playbook. They should see how calves are separated from their mothers, subjected to routine mutilations such as branding, castration, and dehorning — often without pain relief — and are hung up by one leg before their throats are slit, sometimes while they’re still conscious.

If you look downfield, you’ll see that meat is a losing venture. Many exposés have shown that eating meat and other animal-derived foods is a recipe for heart disease, obesity, cancer, and diabetes — not to mention its devastating effects on the environment, as animal agriculture is the number one contributor to climate change. On the other hand, a healthy vegan diet can help reverse the effects of diabetes, heart disease, and other life-threatening conditions.

Given that the market for vegan meats is projected to reach $5.2 billion globally by 2020, we urge you to call an audible and instead consider investing in sustainable, forward-thinking, compassionate businesses that put a focus on what’s good for animals, humans, and the environment. The ball is in your hands, Joe.


Andrew Bernstein

Wait, no mention of pig skins in there?! Missed opportunity in the pun game.

Crowd Cow crowd sources grass-fed and grass-finished beef by allowing users to purchase select cuts and help “tip” a cow and become a “steak holder” through its website. Processed orders are then shipped directly to customers, avoiding the need to visit a butcher or grocery store.

“Millions of people love beef and many thousands of families rely on cattle for their livelihood,” Lowry told GeekWire in response to PETA’s letter. “There is no more humanitarian approach to beef than our approach.”

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