Friday, February 8, 2008

A Lot of Us Don't Like PETA

I feel the need, at times, to remind non-vegans and non-vegetarians that PETA does not speak for a lot of us.

PETA is an easy target for those who want to belittle animal rights people, and rightfully so.

Crap like this is one reason I don't donate to PETA. It's one of many.

Why do they do this? Why waste valuable resources holding a Sexiest Vegetarian contest? I'm pretty sure this blog right here is the reason. I'm writing about PETA. Part of me feels like I should just ignore them.

But I'm not ignoring, because I feel that calling them out is more important right now.

So, what's wrong with this contest? Let me list a few ways (it's by no means a complete list):

--The money that went into this contest could have been better spent on things like no-kill animal shelters, farm sanctuaries, and vegan education.

--Oh, wait, did I say vegan education? What was I thinking? PETA isn't really a vegan organization, are they. If they were, then the contest would be for the Sexiest Vegan. (Yes, I know they advocate veganism, but you wouldn't know it from their marketing and their "happy meat" campaigns. They do not project veganism as the moral baseline for animal rights. This should infuriate anyone who knows anything about egg and milk production.)

--This contest (and PETA in general) perpetuates sexism. Sure, they have a Sexiest Vegetarian contest for men too, but that's not really the point, is it? It's all sexism. It's using sex to sell. It detracts from the message (would you know what PETA's message is by looking at the linked page?) and it allows people to disregard the animal rights movement (of which many people see PETA to be the official spokespeople) as a bunch of soulless marketing wankers who have nothing better to spend their time and resources on.

Like I said, it's not a complete list. Feel free to list more grievances in the comments.

Now here's where I have to say that there are some good resources on the PETA website, and I think I've even linked to them before. But to view these resources, you need to first go to the PETA website and look for them. The average omnivore is so turned off by the crap that PETA does in the public sphere that they'll never even consider visiting the PETA site.


Tracy said...

I have mixed feelings about Peta. But I think our energy is better spent devoted to pursuits against organizations and companies that don't care about animals.

Without a doubt, Peta has its faults. But their Web site is the reason I went vegetarian and became active in animal rights. And I wonder where the AR movement would be if Peta had never existed. Peta gets a lot of media coverage, something many AR organizations don't get.

But I agree with the sexism and stupid things they sometimes do. I view Peta as the entity that is outrageous simply because it gets publicity, while other (more conservative) organizations continue to fight the battle unseen. If any of that makes sense. :)

But it does frustrate me when the CCF or groups like that portray all AR supporters as crazy, simply because of something Peta has done.

You're right: Peta does not speak for the whole AR movement.

ChickensAreFuzzyLilGuys said...

Hi Al - I agree, I get frustrated over the seemingly silly and better-money-spent-elsewhere PETA projects. However, marketing is a key part of changing the world. The whole point is not the sexy contest or the winners, it's the media, the hometown of the winner, the community that will hear the word "vegetarian" and maybe think for a second. I used to work at PETA. Not everyone loves the "sexy" crap, or the marketing-whores crap, or the vegetarian-is -easier-than-vegan-so-we'll-run-with-it crap. I assure you, the organization is too large to accomodate everyone's interests, and there are a significant number of people who think just like you do. They work 14, 16, even 18 hour days to fight for animals. They do not get overtime. They try everything they possibly can to get people to stop for one second and think. And, if you have any new campaign ideas (you must have some!) send them to PETA! They love new perspectives as well as feedback.

Theresa said...

I agree--objectifying women to 'sell' animal rights (a watered down version of it, too) is totally freakin' lame. It pisses me off.

Today I read two articles that had a similar effect on me. One was about 'vegansexuality', that is, cute vegans using flirtation to encourage veganism in others--advocated by Peta, of course. The second was about an all-vegan strip club. "We don't have any meat on the plate, the meat is up on the stage". ::gag::

Vegan_Noodle said...

I am definitely in agreement with you... peta pisses me off big time. And I hate that everytime I start talking about veganism or animal rights, people just assume a peta card carrying member. It is also a source of frustration just in some of the local groups I participate where they all talk about the money they give to peta (and not the grassroots org we are both a part of). Just needed to vent that. Great post. Love your blog :-)