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PETA's Noble Cause
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals(PETA) claims it’s an animal rights organization. It rejects the idea of animals being property or use of animals in any form such as food, clothing, entertainment and research. A noble cause indeed!
PETA, headed by Co-director Ingrid E. Newkirk, says it is the largest animal rights group in the world with 300 employees and over two million members and supporters. Its slogan is "animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on or use for entertainment.” But, apparently not everyone happens to agree with this view.
The non-profit organization based in Norfolk, Virginia, has often been criticized for methods it uses to accomplish their goals and going overboard in their tactics. For instance, they have been accused of overly aggressive media campaigns. Many of their campaigns focus on large corporations. Fast food companies such as KFC, Wendy's, and Burger King have been major targets.
Some strategies PETA has used include advocating boycotts on industries conducting animal laboratory testing and buying shares in target companies in order to wield more influence.
Obviously their efforts have met with some success. McDonald's and Wendy's introduced vegetarian options and Petco stopped selling some exotic pets. Also, Polo Ralph Lauren stopped using fur. Many other companies also succumbed to PETA’s heavy handed media onslaught and stopped testing products on animals and a slaughterhouse was closed down.
Although PETA is extremely serious about their deep seated beliefs of protecting animals, some of their methods have been very ingenious, if not downright comical. Celebrities and super models have posed naked for the group's "I'd Rather Go Naked than Wear Fur" campaign attracting criticism from several feminist animal rights groups.
They regularly engage in pie-throwing to draw attention. They were once compared to terrorists for throwing a tofu cream pie at Canada's fishery minister Gail Shea protesting a seal hunt.
In 2008, PETA began their "Save the Sea Kittens" campaign. It was designed to change the name of fish to "sea kittens" supposedly thinking it would give them a more positive image. A fairly good idea…but they followed this up using their regular routine of asking towns to change their name. For instance, in 1996 , they made this request of Fishkill, New York, and in 2003 offered free veggie burgers to Hamburg, New York, if it would call itself Veggieburg.
Instances such as these are essentially harmless, however other actions PETA utilizes are radical to the extreme. For example, PETA was involved with arsonist Rodney Coronado of the Animal Liberation Front, who torched a Michigan State University animal research laboratory.
PETA’s protests against animal testing of cosmetics, applying cosmetics to animals’ eyes or skin to test for toxicity and safety, caused Avon to suspend tests leaving no alternatives to test for product safety.
Basically, PETA promotes veganism, a philosophy far more radical than vegetarianism. Veganism premise is no animal food should be consumed in any form, not even milk or eggs. And no harm should be done by humans to animals because there is no moral difference between humans and animals.
Their goals and views are thrust upon the rest of humanity even further. Production of milk or honey is wrong since it involves "exploitation." Newkirk explained, "Most supermarket milk comes from cows raised in intensive factory farms. They stand on concrete most of their lives, they are inside most of the time, they are artificially inseminated, their young are taken away from them when they are one or two days old, they go on to become veal."
She also believes pet ownership is morally equivalent to slavery, unless an animal needed shelter to begin with. “The very word pet is offensive, since it connotes a demeaning attitude of master versus thing." She continued. How vegetables don’t fit into their moral definitions is a mystery, since they are made of the same DNA as other life forms.
The movement’s theoretician, Tom Regan, said "If abandoning animal research means that there are some things we cannot learn, then so be it.... We have no basic right...not to be harmed by those natural diseases we are heir to.”
Moreover, PETA is against dissection in medical schools.The Washington Post, which generally supports environmental groups, wrote an editorial theorizing hard-line animal activists could completely outlaw anatomy instruction and animal specimens in educational institutions. The article said in part “It sounds to us like PETA leaders have had brain surgery by doctors trained in PETA medical schools.”
The animal rights group imposes their views on big name fashion industries pressuring modeling agencies, photographers and others to refuse work involving animal furs. Three major fashion designers did stop using furs, however claimingPETA had nothing to do with their decision.
Another example of caving in to PETA’s demands is Merv Griffin Enterprises’. They wrote PETA a letter saying fur coats would no longer be given as prizes on television’s "Wheel of Fortune." Zoological societies are also being targeted by PETA, which seemingly desires to shut down all zoos.
Ingrid Newkirk gave her views on the human species. "We’re the biggest blight on the face of the earth," she said. "I don’t believe human beings have the ‘right to life. That’s a supremacist perversion. “ And Fortune magazine described Ingrid Newkirk as "the Mother Teresa of rabbits."
Bringing some common sense into the subject, Ted Nugent, rock star and accomplished bow hunter, was quoted saying, "These animal rights freaks are to wildlife what Jim and Tammy Bakker were to religion."
PETA’s views can be traced to 1962 England and the Hunt Saboteurs Association (HAS). This group disrupted fox hunts by spraying artificial fox scent and vandalizing hunters’ vehicles. They slashed tires and broke windshields.
The HSA was only one many early British animal rights groups. Perhaps the most famous was the Animal Liberation Front, founded in 1976 by convicted animal rights criminal Ronnie Lee. Lee had just been paroled after serving a prison sentence for a series of fire bombings against laboratories. Lee joined with others to form the Animal Liberation Front and immediately returned to vandalism and arson. PETA goes a step further. It pays the legal expenses of animal rights criminals when apprehended and arrested.
PETA activists have blocked laboratory entrances, picketed rodeos and sued in courts to stop all health and safety testing on animals.
Newkirk was even criticized in 2003 for sending a letter to PLO leader Yasser Arafat requesting to keep animals out of harms’ way, after a donkey was killed in an explosion in an attack on Jerusalem.
It appears to PETA homo sapiens are the only species that may be abused.