I assume you’ve heard of PETA, right?  People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals?  Well this one’s been brewing for a while.  I used to think that they were overreactive, irritating neo-liberals with stupid ad campaigns and a seriously illogical fervor for animal rights.  Turns out they’re far more evil than that, so hold on to your fucking hats.

I divided this post into two parts because it’s really long, so the next one will be out in two days.

First, the annoying ad campaigns.  Credit where credit’s due, I got all of these links from the copyranter.  He’s a seriously cynical sumbitch, but a good resource for a student like myself.  Anyway, PETA designs ads that no one can reasonably or sometimes even legally run, just so they’ll get “banned” and PETA gets the edginess and publicity of being rebellious.  That’s not edgy or rebellious, that’s stupid.  That’s like trying to stab a police officer with a broken beer bottle while chanting Ayn Rand verses and then, when you’re kissing the pavement with a boot on your neck, claiming that he’s repressing your freedom of expression.  You know the rules, PETA.  If you really wanted to get your message out, you’d follow them instead of using these fucking publicity stunts.

The upshot of designing ads that you’ll never run, though, is that you can make them as flagrantly inappropriate as you want.  Here’s a few “topical” ads that PETA has pretended they were going to run.

This one was for Terry Jones, the Koran-burner.

Not only can vegans be very violent, if pathetically and laughably so, but to imply that eating meat has anything to do with religious hatred is an insult to the intelligence of the reader, the dogmatic fervor of religion, and frankly, to peas.  Plus the pun is bad enough to make you want to murder a puppy.

And that would make him sad.

But what’s a more recent tragedy they could milk for free publicity?  How about the BP oil spill?  What, you ask, aghast?  Could I, in my lust for KFC Double Downs, have inadvertently caused decades of crappy governmental oversight and corporate corner-cutting, and then lots of horrible but coincidental accidents?  Yes, flesh-consuming denizens of the dark places of the world (you), the oil spill is your fault, as demonstrated by this eloquent sky-banner.

It’s like poetry, really.

What they’re trying to say, but not actually saying because they’re incoherent dickwads, is that it takes more fossil fuels to grow meat agriculturally than to grow vegetables and grains.  That’s true, but not really a deterrent for most meat eaters.

This is a face that does not give two shits about the environment.

And even if you think it should be a deterrent, you still have to say it.  There’s no link, no explanation, just the word “PETA” at the end like we’re going to Google it because we’re just so goddamn interested in what they have to say.

Now let’s rewind the clock back to June of ’09, when Jaqueline Fleming and her newborn son became the first people to die of the current swine flu epidemic, an epidemic that didn’t turn into anything serious because of ferociously proactive vaccination.  That wasn’t much comfort to Jaqueline’s husband, of course, because he’d already lost his entire family to the virus.  You know what else wasn’t helpful?  This.

You may think that’s a poignant statement about the dangers of factory farming, etc, and in any other context, you’d be right, but would you care to venture a guess where PETA mounted this billboard?  RIGHT OUTSIDE THE HOSPITAL THE FLEMINGS DIED IN.  So now every time the husband drives by and is racked with grief at the reminder, wishing there had been something he could do, he gets a nice shout out from PETA saying “Hey, remember your dead wife and kid?  Yeah, well fuck them for enjoying the occasional piece of pork.  Fuck them very much.”

To be honest, there are so many of these that I can’t even comment on all of them, so here’s some brief ones.

This one was supposed to (and didn’t) go up in hospitals to remind patients of the dangers of meat to their cardiovascular systems.

Because there’s nothing nurses like more than being reduced to a big-titted porn stereotype.

This one was supposed to (and didn’t) go up in cities that see the most shark attacks, to remind us that if we don’t stop eating cows and chickens, sharks will eat our faces off.  You see, sharks are the natural allies of cows and chickens, and they hear telepathically about the wrongs we do to the gentle bovine, and they’re not cool with it, so they’re going to eat your entire self in return.

Apparently no one has informed PETA that there are like three fatal attacks by sharks every year, so clearly they’re not that pissed off.  Oh also, SHARKS ARE CARNIVORES, WHICH MEANS THEY KILL STUFF FOR FOOD.  LIKE PEOPLE.  Why should sharks be allowed to eat animals, and not us?

This one went in the San Diego State newspaper following a major drug bust at a frat (it says “Say No To Pot Roast”).
Because “pot” means two things, I guess.  I feel like they should be patted gently on the head for that level of innovation.

This one has a dick joke in it.  A stupid one.  That’s it.

Apparently moms talk like that.

This one ignores the fact that we wouldn’t have dogs at all (or cats or cows or sheep or any domestic pet or any agricultural plant of any kind) if it weren’t for breeders, and tells you to boycott breeders.  Plus a gratuitous Hitler reference.  It’s almost like they’re really really stupid.

And this one is simply the worst pun ever put to print.  Anyone trying to make a point about the brutal murder of baby seals with a cheap play off the name of a Middle Eastern food should be beaten to death with a club.  Poetic justice, motherfuckers.

But now we get to the worst aspect of PETA’s advertising: not that it’s stupid, but that it doesn’t make any sense.  Let’s take a moment to address one particular TV spot.  I’ll warn you, it is a little heart-wrenching (which is what they’re going for), so brace yourselves.

Now, the most important thing is to STOP CRYING RIGHT NOW.  They’re not real dogs.  They’re just…like…sandbags or something.  I don’t know.  The real issue here is that tagline at the end, “what are you going to do with the shelter dog you kill?”  The logic, I assume, is that since you didn’t adopt the shelter dog, opting instead for that fluffy little Nazi fucker from the picture, you sentenced the shelter dog to be euthanized because no one adopted him.   But that doesn’t make sense, and I’d like to explain it with a parallel from the Christian argument against birth control.

Let’s assume that the birth control argument is as follows: every time you use a condom or pill or diaphragm or whatever frightening combination of chemical and physical means you ladies (this blog is read mostly by women, shockingly enough) use in your special places to avoid making babies, you deprive a potential future baby of the right to life.  That sperm could have become a little kid, and we—I switched to “we” because then it’s like we had sex, and that makes me giggle—didn’t let it.  But now we have to draw that to its logical conclusion, because that’s what we do.  If the sperm I *ahem* deposited into the condom had the right to be a child, what about the ones I’ve been graciously donating to Kleenex for the last ten years?  Some very rough math, taking into account my personal level of vigor and some optimistic virility guesses, leads me to conclude that I’ve sentenced to death, by sheer overenthusiasm, just shy of two trillion potential kids.  That’s about fifteen times the total number of human beings that have ever lived, and that’s just me.  Multiply that by all the teenage boys in the world and add all the menstruating women—you’re to blame too, but your numbers are in the hundreds, not the trillions—and you end up with staggeringly huge numbers of infants that could have been.  What it boils down to is that if you assume that every sex cell deserves the chance to become a child, then every second you spend not actively having sex or babies is sentencing kids to death.

“So you see, it would be recklessly irresponsible for us not to start boning right here on this table…”


Anyway, if you assume that every breeder dog you adopt equals one dead shelter dog, then what about the other shelter dogs?  By that logic, adopting one shelter dog instead of two is a tacit execution of the second dog that you didn’t adopt, and so on.  Continuing that logic, every cent you spend on anything other than adopting and caring for shelter dogs is sentencing dogs to death, and that’s clearly ridiculous.  The same arguments can be applied to any charity, like world hunger or vaccines or whatever, and they’re no more valid.

What PETA is doing here is taking a simple thought—animals have rights—and running with it to patently absurd extremes.  In reality, this is not a black and white issue, and there are dozens if not hundreds of questions that need to be addressed in order to take a true moral stance on the issue.  First, why do animals have rights?  If it’s just because they’re alive, then do all animals have the same right to life?  Does something like a sponge, which is barely even a living thing, have the same rights as a dolphin? Dolphins can use iPads, for fuck’s sake.  Half of your parents can’t even do that.

And if it’s about suffering, then you have to examine whether and to what extent animals suffer.  A sponge, for example, can be put in a blender, liquefied to sludge, and then poured in a tank of salt water, and it will put itself back together.  It has no nervous system and absolutely cannot feel pain.  Should we avoid using sponges?  Oysters, too, are animals, but their cultivation has almost no impact on the environment and they also cannot feel pain, so should we feel guilty about eating them?  Can fish feel pain as much as chickens?  Did the fly that Obama swatted on CNN suffer?  I honestly don’t know the answers to those questions, but I’m pretty damn sure that no one at PETA does either, and it wouldn’t surprise me if the research simply hasn’t been done by anyone.

And the examples just keep on coming.  Let’s take rodeos.  One event in rodeos is bull riding, in which a normal-sized person sits on the back of a very healthy, very athletic 2500-pound bull and tries to stay on for eight seconds without getting whipped through a wall or smeared into the floor like hardwood polish.

It REALLY is not a fair fight.

PETA, of course, objects to the rodeo because it’s mean to the bulls.  Here’s an unnecessarily sexual ad that doesn’t explain why, because actually making a point is really not their thing.

Get it? IT’S A SEX JOKE.

And here’s what they say on their website:
The flank, or “bucking,” strap or rope—which is used to make horses and bulls buck—is tightly cinched around their abdomens, which causes the animals to “buck vigorously to try to rid themselves of the torment.” The irritation causes the animals to buck violently, which is what the rodeo promoters want them to do in order to put on a good show for the crowds. The flank strap, when paired with spurring, causes the animals to buck even more violently, often resulting in serious injuries.
Now, my dad was the vet at the Denver Stock Show a while ago, so I know a little something about this.  The cinch is only as tight as the rider can hold it with one hand, but those guys can do like seven one-arm pullups with their rope arm, so it’s pretty fucking tight.  Also, the bulls don’t try to throw the rider off until the gate is opened, which to me indicates that it’s more about the bucking than the searing pain of wearing what’s basically a belt.  You’ve also probably heard that the bulls are beaten, zapped, burned, or that the strap goes around their balls.  Zero of those things is true.  The bucking is a natural reaction for a massive, testosterone-riddle animal like a bull, and once the rider is off, they’re pretty calm again.  They very very rarely get hurt, possibly because they’re built like a goddamn tank.  And for the 51 and a half weeks every year that they’re not at a rodeo, they’re treated like fucking royalty.  The best grass, medical care, open spaces, and all the hefty lady cows they want.  It’s a cushy life.
The point I’m making is that you can’t just assume that every animal that humans come into contact with in any context is suffering as a result, and PETA seems to do that.  And then they throw naked women covered in vegetables at us to convince us not to eat eggs.  That’s dumb.
Now, I know the title promised you hypocrisy, and I’m not there yet.  This was just a massive buildup to the hypocrisy, which will be out day after tomorrow.  Hang tight for part two.
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  1. […] since the Catholic Church, and I stand by that.  If you want to read those two posts, here’s part 1 and part 2.  Anyway, in the beginning of that series, I mentioned that their ads were stupid and […]

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