Practicing Non-Harming Toward Yourself and the World



PETA: A Response

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


Screw you again, PETA

Once again PETA has released a new State of the Union address video, and once again, they show just how great they are at objectifying women. Here it is:

In November 2009, Vegans of Color found a Craigslist posting looking for an “African American or Mixed-Race Vegan Actor Needed for PETA Video.” There was some discussion in the comments of that blog about whether it was a hoax or not. Well, we got our answer.

In the ad looking for an actor to play of the role, they wanted each applicant to send them a full-body photo of herself. I’m sure many agencies looking for actors do this, but it made me think about how PETA only uses women who are model-thin and conventionally beautiful. I’ve never seen a PETA ad containing nudity that used a woman who is more representative of real women. And while we’re talking about PETA and their role in unhealthy body image, here’s an ad from 2000 that still pisses me off:

One of the reasons I do not support PETA is that they do little to help animals. Their main mission seems to be to draw attention to themselves and do stupid publicity stunts, some of which have nothing to do with animals. George Clooney tofu anyone?

And… PETA hates fat people, as they showed in this billboard.

The animal rights movement could do just fine without PETA. Hell, we could probably do even better, since most non-vegs usually associate vegetarianism and veganism with crazy, ridiculous stunts because PETA receives so much publicity.

PETA needs a new tactic

I don’t think the people at PETA even know how to be active without resorting to nudity. I mean, when’s the last time you saw a PETA ad that didn’t feature naked or scantily clad women? I am by no means a prude, but using sterotypically beautiful naked women in order to advance a cause simply furthers the fact that it is okay for women to be used for their bodies. One of the main reasons I no longer support PETA is because I refuse to be associated with such an anti-feminist organization (and anti-fat too).

PETA has created some fantastic nudity-free ads in the past, and I’d like to see it again. Here’s the ad that brought about this post:

And here’s an older Joaquin Phoenix (!!) Thanksgiving ad:

Gets the same point across, minus the sexism.

A REAL Humane Meat?

PETA is making the news due to a polarizing new campaign: $1 million dollars for humane meat.

Scientists have been working on producing in vitro meat. This means that meat could be produced in a laboratory without killing animals.

This news has surprised a lot of PETA members, and Ingrid Newkirk, PETA’s president, has acknowledged that there is going to be internal conflict over this.

The creation of in vitro meat is a complicated issue for vegans and animal rights activists. On the one hand, animals would not have to be killed for human consumption. However, people would still be eating meat (not to mention a boat-load of chemicals).

I love the idea of animals not being killed for food, and success in producing lab-meat would shut down factory farming. However, I would personally never eat meat, whether it be from an animal or a test tube.

What do you think?

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