Last month, an animal rights activist named Matt Hanson started a Care2 petition asking writers and producers on The Simpsons to change Lisa Simpson from vegetarian, which the character has been for more than 20 years, to a full-fledged vegan.
"Lisa has famously been opposed to eating meat, and now could extend that line of thinking towards dairy, eggs, and all animal products," Hanson writes. He adds that the switch would be a "very influential character arc that would spread awareness of veganism—a philosophy that at its core attempts to make the world a better place." It wouldn't be the first time that the show has discussed the difference between vegans and vegetarians—in an episode titled "Lisa the Tree Hugger," she falls in love with the leader of a radical environmentalist group named Jesse. "I've been thinking of going vegan," Lisa tells Jesse, who responds that he is a Level Five vegan who "won't eat anything that casts a shadow."
So far, Hanson's petition has garnered more than 21,500 signatures, nearly half of the 50,000 it needs to reach its goal. The petition shows just how widespread both the show and the vegan community are, with signatures from vegan fans in the Russian Federation, Romania, Bulgaria, New Zealand, South Africa, and many other parts of the world. "I thought of this myself recently," one Estonian signer commented, while another in the United Kingdom said that as a child, Lisa inspired him and "helped me be the vegan I am today."