PETA: Pseudo, execrable, two-faced ‘activism’
Oh PETA, how I dislike you. I admit, it was the photos on your website, circa 1998, that first drew me towards veganism and the idea of animal rights. And yes, I was once a card-carrying member of your organization, receiving your newsletters, free stickers and annual pleas for donations. But PETA, I’ve long moved away from your bizarre, self-serving muddle of sexism, deceit and pseudo-activism, and I hope that your other affiliates do the same.
You are extreme – yes. Sadly for you, and even more sad for the human and non-human animals you get your hands on, that’s not a good thing. Here are five reasons for my loathing, though I’m sure there are many, many more.
1.Your sensationalism is sexist, tacky and counterproductive.
By now, most reasonable PETA-watchers can agree that the organization’s bikini-clad demonstrations or Pamela Anderson promotional videos or full-frontal nudity tactics are all guilty of using sex where sex ought not to be used. The objectification of women raises eyebrows, but it doesn’t raise questions about the treatment of animals: seeing women as meat will not stop the consumption of meat.
Case in point: since the launch of PETA’s nudie-fest “I’d rather go naked than wear fur” campaign in the early 1990s, the fur industry has seen a resurgence in popularity and a younger demographic of purchasers. Congratulations, PETA, on wasting millions of dollars on campaigns that offered up little more than offensive, cliched eye candy.
2. Freezers filled with dead animals kinda negates the idea of animal advocacy.
I was surprised when I found out that PETA voluntarily euthanizes domesticated animals. I was disgusted when I learned that of the 2,200 animals they sheltered last year, only seven were given new homes. The rest? Killed and disposed of, according to PETA’s own “Animal Record” filed with the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Granted, not every animal is healthy enough to adopt – but a 0.32 percent success rate is deplorable.
Even Virginia’s non-profit SPCA can adopt out 70 percent of their animals, so with a $32 million dollar annual budget, you’d think PETA might spend a little more on animal adoption and a little less on bikini-clad models. Then again, why fund animal adoption when there are so many dumpsters waiting to be filled with dead puppies, right?
3. Owning stocks in Dominoes Pizza is a problem.
When the stock market plummeted last year, PETA went on a little spending spree, buying up shares in Dominoes Pizza, Sonic Burgers and several other meat-loving enterprises. According to the organization, the intention is to create a voice for animals at shareholder meetings. Really? Because without actually changing how those shareholders – or consumers – think about animal treatment, that voice will be drowned out pretty quickly. All while the share price of the very companies you protest actually goes up courtesy of your savvy investment.
Among the companies that have benefited from PETA dollars, while continuing to serve up bacon cheeseburgers and shill wool and leather: Denny’s, Target, Tyson’s Meat, Costco, Wal-Mart, Safeway, Kroger’s, Talbots, Hormel and Cracker Barrel.
On a related note, PETA’s website offers tips for members who want to be sure their investments are animal friendly:
“Cruelty-free investing” is investing in companies, mutual funds, bonds, and other investment vehicles that do not support, cause, or contribute to animal exploitation and suffering, including the destruction of natural habitats.
4. You’re in bed with KFC.
Last year, PETA members nearly wet their pants with excitement over KFC’s agreement to abolish battery cages and replace them with “controlled-atmosphere killing” instead. Then they stampeded en masse to the nearest location of the fast-food chain, to pick up a new “faux chicken” sandwich, currently available in 65 percent of Canadian KFC locations.
Now that they’re using a bit of faux meat, KFC must have decided to throw some extra chicken onto another new menu offering: the Double Down all-meat-all-the-fucking-time extravaganza. And it’s worked: since 2007, Yum! Brand, which owns KFC, has seen a 13 percent increase in share price.
5. You equate veganism with sexiness. And sexiness with weight loss.
As if women wearing lettuce wasn’t bad enough. This summer, PETA caught major flak for a billboard equating overweight Americans with whales and then suggesting vegetarianism as the solution for our country’s weight crisis. After public outcry, they took that billboard down. And replaced it with this one: “GONE. Just like the pounds lost by people who went vegetarian.”
For the record, PETA, not all vegans are thin. Nor are they all sexy. And – shock! – some of them are actually sexy despite their beer belly. Furthermore, as a group claiming to advocate for the wellbeing of animals, bringing human weight loss and health into the fray is counterproductive. Maybe veganism is healthy, and maybe sometimes it’s sexy. But selling veganism using size 2 pants is offensive, counterproductive and perpetuates nothing to do with animal rights and everything to do with body image problems. And Americans – vegan or non – have enough of those already.