As regular readers may know, I am in no way a PETA supporter. However, I think discussing PETA’s tactics and role in the animal rights movement is fascinating. They are undoubtedly one of the most controversial organizations in the country.
The comment below is one I left at the fabulous blog Holy Cow! Vegan Recipes. I’ve been reading this blog for months and the recipes are fascinating, especially for someone who adores Indian food. However, I strongly disagree with the recent piece about PETA.
Please jump over to Holy Cow! to read the original post, “So what do you think about PETA?”
Here is my comment in response to the above post:
I’m always interested in discussing PETA, especially with other vegans. I respect your thoughts, but I completely disagree. Here’s why:
In the case of PETA euthanizing animals, it isn’t as simple as “all shelters do it because there isn’t enough room.” I used to live close to PETA’s headquarters in Norfolk, VA where their “shelter” is located. They don’t advertise to the general public that you can adopt animals there. If people don’t know, they won’t adopt. And then there was the case a couple years ago where PETA workers threw the bodies of euthanized animals in the dumpster in NC. According to news sources, they were supposed to have been trying to find homes for the animals, not euthanizing them without a second thought. Also, the percentage of animals PETA euthanizes is unacceptable – according to Newsweek, over 80%.
As for using naked women in advertising, just because the rest of society does it doesn’t make it ok. When was the last time PETA used a woman who wasn’t beautiful by society’s standards. I don’t recall ever seeing an overweight woman used. And their use of men in similar situations doesn’t even compare.
I don’t doubt that PETA on the whole has done some good. Their undercover videos are amazing, and they can afford to hire decent lawyers. However, they waste money, and along with being sexist, are anti-fat (i.e., the billboard that went up a couple months ago calling overweight people whales). Remember the whole George Clooney tofu deal? They need new management, and instead of focusing on shock factors and nothing else, they should be an intelligent source of information for people curious about animal rights.
If anything, PETA has made the animal rights movement a joke, and it’s a shame organizations such as Mercy for Animals don’t have the far-reaching effect as PETA.
For more information:
PETA+Euthanasia (The Newsweek article I mentioned)
George Clooney Tofu
Euthanizing animals and throwing them in dumpsters
My past posts on PETA:
Screw you again, PETA
PETA needs a new tactic
PETA: Part One, History
PETA: Part Two, Euthanasia
February 23, 2010 at 1:43 pm
Ahimsa, thanks for your response and I appreciate your sharing a different point of view. If it is true as you point out that PETA does not do enough to find homes for the animals it rescues, it is sad behavior indeed for a group that promotes the ethical treatment of animals. I certainly don’t support euthanasia and I do hope that PETA works hard to change that.
But is PETA ineffective? Not at all. The undercover videos they have put out have, I am sure, made many people go vegan, or at least consider it. As a food blogger who often gets questions from people on the fence about vegetarianism/veganism, I have sometimes shared these horrific videos and they never fail to change people’s minds.
In an ideal world we could put forth reasoned arguments and hope for people to change. Unfortunately, in the real world it does take more to grab people’s attention. And so long as PETA uses tactics that don’t include violence toward people or animals, I am all for their stunts.
Thanks for your kind words about my recipes. Glad you enjoyed reading them 🙂
July 21, 2010 at 8:51 am
In response to A Response: PETA are plenty guilty of their own abuses: