An animal-rights group wants an Indiana man accused of murdering his former girlfriend and eating part of her body to receive a vegan diet while he is in custody, saying it could help protect jail staff, a spokesman said on Monday.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals sent a letter last week to Clark County, Indiana, Acting Sheriff Brian Meyer, encouraging him to provide a diet free of animal products for Joseph Oberhansley.
“It would really help Clark County in its jail system,” said Kent Montville, a spokesman for PETA.
Oberhansley is accused of breaking into the Jeffersonville, Indiana, home of his ex-girlfriend, Tammy Jo Blanton, earlier this month, murdering her and abusing her corpse by eating parts of it. Jeffersonville is across the Ohio River from Louisville, Kentucky.
The letter, signed by Lindsay Rajt, PETA’s associate director of campaigns, said other correctional facilities had seen a decrease in violence after switching to vegetarian meals.
She wrote that opting to feed the inmate “only vegan foods could diminish that bloodlust and might even help protect staff and neighboring inmates,” Rajt said.
Meyer did not return calls seeking comment. But he confirmed receiving the letter to local media outlets, saying he initially thought the letter was a joke.
Montville replied that the letter was meant as a good-faith effort to reduce jail costs and violence among inmates, and that everyone was “rightfully horrified” by Oberhansley’s alleged actions.
Oberhansley is being held without bail in the Clark County jail. His trial is expected to start in February.
(Reporting by Steve Bittenbender; Editing by Mary Wisniewski and Peter Cooney)