ILVTOFU Tennessee license plate

Tofu – some love it, some hate it. For those who don't know, tofu originated in China and is a staple in many Asian dishes. It's made by pressing coagulating soy milk into block-shaped forms, and it's high in protein and low in calories and fat. Hence, it's standard fare for many vegetarians.

Sounds pretty good, huh? A PETA employee named Whitney Calk from Tennessee is apparently a big fan of the bean curd, and she says she wanted to proclaim her love of tofu on her license plate. Unfortunately, the State of Tennessee decided that I-LV-TOFU looked eerily similar to I-LV-TO-FU...

Look closely at the two possible spellings and it's easy to see why the authorities decided to lay down the law. In fact, Tennessee points out that it's not the only state to ban that plate – it's also verboten in Colorado, Florida and Virginia.

For its part, PETA has issued a press release asking Tennessee to reconsider. Cynics might argue that the whole shebang was merely an attempt to generate press for the animal rights organization, which may certainly be the case. And if so, it seems to be working: you can check out PETA's press release after the break.
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'ILVTOFU,' a Reference to Food, Is Rejected by the Department of Revenue

Murfreesboro, Tenn. -- Whitney Calk, a PETA employee who had just moved to Tennessee from Virginia, needed to get new Tennessee license plates and wanted to inspire conversation about the benefits of a vegan diet in the process. But after the Murfreesboro resident submitted her application to the Tennessee Department of Revenue, Taxpayer and Vehicle Services Division for a personalized license plate reading, "ILVTOFU," the division rejected the plate because of "vulgarity." Calk can only assume that the Department of Revenue missed the intended message, "I-LV-TOFU," and misread it as the far steamier "I-LV-TO-F-U."

"Tofu is wholesome-what's 'vulgar' is the way that animals used for food suffer on factory farms, in slaughterhouses, and on the decks of fishing boats," says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. "The Department of Revenue could help animals, the planet, and human health by reconsidering its decision and allowing more people to discover the joy of soy."

Before the Department of Revenue decided to censor Calk's message, she was excited about the chance to use her license plate to convince motorists to choose beans over beef. Not only does a healthy vegan diet lower the occurrences of some of America's top killers-including heart disease, strokes, diabetes, obesity, and cancer-every vegan also saves more than 100 animals a year from the horrors of factory farms and slaughterhouses. And since raising animals for food is a leading cause of greenhouse-gas emissions, water pollution, and land degradation and consumes vast quantities of energy and resources, going vegan is one of the best ways to go green. In fact, researchers at the University of Chicago determined that switching to a vegan diet is more effective at countering climate change than switching from a standard car to a hybrid. The facts are absolutely clear: Eating meat is bad for human health, catastrophic for the environment, and a living nightmare for animals.