Honestly, I’m very surprised I haven’t written this post long before now. I want to discuss the most well-known and controversial animal rights organization, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Obviously, any organization that supports vegetarianism and such a huge change in lifestyle will be controversial among the general public, but PETA is unique in that many animal rights activists detest them.
When I first became a vegetarian, I thought PETA was amazing. I learned a lot about my new lifestyle through them, and I thank them deeply for all of that information. However, a few years ago I began to realize things that became disheartening to me.
As a die-hard feminist, I have trouble supporting an organization that uses women’s bodies to promote themselves. Yes, nudity gets attention and sex sells, but our bodies are not something that can be used for marketing. Not to mention that all the women PETA uses to grab all this media attention are the conventional stereotypes that plague every fashion magazine and television show in the country. Need an example? Milk Gone Wild.
Also, PETA really does kill animals. Now, I understand the problems that shelters face. As long as people continue to buy their companion animals in pet stores and from breeders there will be less and less room in shelters. Although it is horrible, many shelters cannot afford to house the influx of animals that are given to them, and many will be put to sleep. However, I live near the Norfolk, VA headquarters of PETA, and I am not aware of any advertising that PETA does to alert locals that they can adopt animals from the organization. If people don’t know they can go to them for their new pet, of course the animals won’t get adopted!
PETA has a way of making animal rights activists look crazy. It’s sad that people outside of our cause usually correlate any animal rights activist or vegan with PETA. Sometimes the organization actually discredits the main cause by being so damn condescending and mean.
I think PETA has a such a great opportunity to do good things for this cause. But they need to focus on the actual issues than just creating attention for themselves. With new leadership and management, PETA could be amazing, but until them, I’m staying far, far away.