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An animal rights group said Friday it planned to use the Turin Shroud in an advertising campaign to persuade people to stop eating meat.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) said it would unveil its campaign "Make a Lasting Impression -- Go Vegetarian" next week in Turin, where the shroud is on display in the city's cathedral.

Some Christians believe the linen sheet bearing an image of a crucified man is Christ's burial cloth.

"PETA chose Jesus as its new 'poster boy' because he is widely believed to have been a member of the Essenes, a Jewish religious sect that followed a vegetarian diet and rejected animal sacrifices," PETA said in a statement.

The Essenes were a first century Jewish sect known for their esoteric lifestyle and strict ritual observances.

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