PETA stands for
People Eating Tasty Animals People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. They oppose hunting, fishing, animal testing and zoos and promote a vegan diet. Their slogan is "animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on or use for entertainment", reflecting an abolitionist position on animal rights in theory, although in practice they often engage in animal welfare/reformist activism. They are best known however for their frequent inflammatory media stunts such as throwing red paint on people wearing fur coats, and have run into trouble for trying to run emotionally appealing ads comparing eating meat to the Holocaust and promoting the consumption of beer rather than dairy products, among other things. Their trademark ads tend to involve famous (and hot) vegetarian actresses and models photographed nude (while covering up their naughty bits). Animal rights activist Ingrid Newkirk is the president of PETA.
PETA was co-founded by Ingrid Newkirk and Alex Pacheco, after Pacheco uncovered the abuse of monkeys at a Silver Spring, Maryland laboratory in 1981. This and the court litigation that followed led to changes in the laws in 1985 regarding animal testing to ensure against cruelty. PETA could have, and probably should have, quit at that point because they have become somewhat more extreme and absurd since.
 Some of PETA's nuttier actions
The conventional wisdom on PETA is that they are a group with a moderate membership and hardline leadership. Allegations that they have ties to ecoterrorism groups are not well-substantiated. Their reception even among liberals is, to put it politely, decidedly mixed. Less politely, they're extremely divisive, and likely to spark flamewars in gatherings of multiple points of view. While many liberals would argue that a certain amount of regulation of animal rights is necessary, the scientific community in particular (otherwise largely centrist-to-liberal) strongly opposes their antivivisection position as being unreasonably restricting on medical research due to current technology's lack of ability to accurately simulate living systems.
 Satanic panic
At the height of the Satanic panic in the late 1980s, PETA's newsletter reported as fact, rumors that pets were being stolen by Satanists for animal sacrifice and "crucifixion" at Halloween. PETA suggested that people keep their black cats inside around Halloween to protect them from Satanists. They still maintain a "Halloween advisory" on their website, omitting any mention of Satanism or animal sacrifice, yet noting with approval that many shelters refuse to adopt out black cats during October.
 Ben & Jerry's
On 23 September 2008, PETA issued a press release asking Ben & Jerry's to stop using milk from dairy animals, and instead start using — uh, um - human breast milk. No reaction yet from the National Organization for Women regarding the image of potentially millions of women attached to automatic milking machines. Of course, human milk based dairy products and ice cream already exist, if you know where to find them and can pay the obscenely high price tag and the possible risk of ending up on a register of potential sex offenders. At least PETA didn't demand they start using soy milk.
 No fur, no meat, but euthanasia is OK?
In April 2009, PETA came under fire for euthanizing 2,124 of the 2,216 (96%) of the
pets companion animals turned in to its US headquarters in Norfolk, Virginia, during 2008. A PETA spokesperson said that this was OK because:
- PETA doesn't really operate as an animal shelter (so why do they take animals that should go to shelters in the first place?)
- America is facing a pet overpopulation epidemic and euthanasia is the most humane solution (unlike no-kill shelters that spay and neuter animals before putting them up for adoption)
- The vast majority of animals that PETA receives are not suited for adoption because they are unsocialized or too sick to make good
- Euthanizing animals allowed PETA to have more operating capital for shock marketing campaigns
- Yes, some adoptable animals were euthanized. But, hey, everybody makes mistakes now and then, right?
Critics claim that this incident — and PETA's tepid response to being called out on it — illustrates how PETA's high-profile advocacy regarding vegetarianism and the fur trade is a cash cow that can't be spent on the day-to-day plight of dogs and cats.
 Sea kittens
Among PETA's more ridiculous campaigns has been their decision that fish should now be known as "sea kittens". Apparently having a cute and silly name is enough to stop global overfishing in its tracks.
 The Great Renaming Campaign
PETA has sent demands and cash offers to some towns requesting that they change their names, including Hamburg and Fishkill (both New York), and Rodeo (California). Their alternative for Hamburg? Veggieburg. No, really. (Incidentally, the 'kill' in Fishkill is the Dutch word for 'creek'.)
PETA also sent a letter to the Pet Shop Boys requesting they change their name to the Rescue Shelter Boys. You can't make this stuff up. Clearly more in jest is PETA's proposal to Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle that the state's license plate slogan be changed from "America's Dairyland" to "America's Cow Hell".
 Godwin's Law violations
In 2009 PETA held a protest in which they picketed a kennel club's dog show dressed in Ku Klux Klan uniforms, passing out flyers comparing the breeding of purebred dogs to the Ku Klux Klan's ideal of a pure race.
A 2003 PETA ad campaign called "The Holocaust on Your Plate" drew a moral equivalence between the consumption of meat and the genocidal murders of millions of Jews, Slavs, Roma peoples, homosexuals, political opponents, and others in Nazi Germany's concentration camps. It juxtaposed pictures of pigs in pens and children in concentration camps, and drew immediate outrage — not outrage about eating meat, but outrage over their exploitation of genocide to make their point.
 Michael Vick
In 2007 then Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick was sent to jail for two years on dogfighting charges. Granted, it was an extremely heinous and despicable crime, but he served his time and seems to be remorseful. The Philadelphia Eagles were willing to give him a second chance as a back up, however PETA has combined what Philly fans love to do (boo athletes who try to win championships for them) with PETA's passion for outrageous protesting. The result, they decided to protest his seven game suspension and the Eagles, claiming that millions of football fans are now heartbroken that the Eagles would be willing to give a reformed criminal a second chance at a career. Never mind those NFL players who have spiked opponents heads with cleats, shot themselves with illegal handguns (in their sweatpants!), cover up a murder, repeatedly beat up girlfriends, or kill another human being in a DUI. If you ask them, PETA would tell you that Vick is the worst person to play in the NFL.
 Super Bowl commercials
Every year, PETA produces a cheaply made commercial with NSFW content that is hyper-sexualized, not to mention outrageously sexist. They then submit the commercial to the NFL for inclusion in the Super Bowl. The commercials are so increasingly over-the-top that they are always rejected, even when PETA offers double or triple the going ad rate for the game. The 2011 example, allegedly a compilation of "out-takes" from the 2010 commercial, showed a group of bikini-clad actresses - and one pasty, shirtless actor - playing with vegetables as if they were sex toys.
On 16 August 2011, The Register of the UK announced that PETA would finally cross the line that its previous ad campaigns had only hinted at -- it planned to start a hardcore pr0n website. According to the HuffPo, PETA confirmed the website in a phone interview. Allegedly, the content on the new site would be vegan-oriented with anti-meat, anti-fur, anti-leather messaging. Which, of course, prompts a few snarky questions:
- If you can't eat meat, and fur and leather are verboten, just how pornographic can their website be?
- Can a porn site live on carrots and cucumbers alone?
- No bears? C'mon!
However, considering PETA's track record at announcing outrageous publicity items only to backtrack when the public reacted negatively (see Super Bowl commercials directly above), we would be remiss if we failed to include one of these.(Warning: Poe's Law in action!)
 Funding Terrorists
PETA has given over thousands of dollars to arsonists such as the ELF and the ALF, including Rod Coronado, to blow up buildings, and less than 1% is really helping animals.
 Animal testing
Despite PETA saying it would not support a cure for AIDS if it involved animals, its VP MaryBeth Sweetland uses insulin that contains animal products for diabetes. Saying that she needs her life to "fight for the rights of animals," but it's totally cool for everyone else to suffer and die.
 See also
- ↑ http://www.holysmoke.org/report/index.htm
- ↑ http://www.peta.org/feat/halloweenadvisory/dev01/index.html
- ↑ PETA press release requesting Ben & Jerry's replace dairy milk with human breast milk
- ↑ "How about a double scoop of mama's milk?": MSNBC, 25 September 2008.
- ↑ http://www.consumerfreedom.com/news_detail.cfm/h/2628-hyperbolic-hypocrisy
- ↑ "Peta under fire over claim that it kills most animals left at its US headquarters": London Daily Telegraph article, 4 April 2009.
- ↑ CBS News - PETA Woos Hamburgers With Rare Offer
- ↑ "PETA to Pet Shop Boys: Rescue Shelter Boys, perhaps?" CNN.com, 10 April 2009
- ↑ PETA wants Wisconsin to change license plates,
- ↑ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/05/01/michael-vick-peta-spokesm_n_194700.html
- ↑ "PETA's Controversial New Super Bowl Ad (VIDEO/NSFW)", Huffington Post website, posted 31 January 2011.
- ↑ Murphy, Kevin. "PETA to launch .xxx smut site 'to help animals': Naked celebrity campaign moves to next level", The Register website, posted 16 August 2011, accessed 21 August 2011.
- ↑ We don't really know yet if it will be called PornETA.xxx, but it seems as good a name as any.
- ↑ Kelly, Tara. "PETA Plans a Porn Site", Huffington Post, posted 19 August 2011, accessed 21 August 2011.
- ↑ http://www.consumerfreedom.com/news_detail.cfm/h/2628-hyperbolic-hypocrisy