- Politics and Social Issues
The Hypocrisy of PETA
Where Does It End?
Did someone draw a new line in the sand? Apparently, to be a good citizen of the world, I now have to feel guilty if I swat a fly (regarding the Obama flyswatting incident). What am I to do about mosquitoes? A tick? What about head lice? Where does it end? There appears to be no limit to the span of coverage under the organizational umbrella of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).
I went to the PETA website (http://www.peta.org/about/) to locate their mission statement. I thought this might be the best way to understand the ideals behind those that founded the organization and its membership. This is what I found.
"PETA focuses its attention on the four areas in which the largest numbers of animals suffer the most intensely for the longest periods of time: on factory farms, in laboratories, in the clothing trade, and in the entertainment industry. We also work on a variety of other issues, including the cruel killing of beavers, birds and other "pests," and the abuse of backyard dogs."
The mission statement is fairly straight-forward, but I see nothing at all about flies, insects in general, or other creepy-crawlers in the declaration, except the word "pests," which leaves me two paths of thought. "Pests" must include all those living creatures not defined by the word "animal," or there is some kind of unrecognized, radical wing, operating outside of PETA, that has completely distorted the meaning of the mission statement. I would like to believe the latter.
Best Intentions or Hypocrisy?
PETA seems to operate under the best intentions, and I agree that animals should not be unecessarily tortured, beaten, or abused. Animals, especially those kept as pets, should be owned by responsible people that understand stewardship. That said, I could never fully support an organization that would expect me to honor the life of a house fly. So does this make me a hypocrite in the eyes of PETA? Have I now turned a blind eye to animal cruelty everywhere, or are there acceptable levels of belief? How can I support an organization that doesn't fully reflect my beliefs? Wouldn't that make me a hypocrite?
I denounced my religion because I couldn't fully support the ideas that science logically explained in other terms. If I was going to be a Christian, I was going to be dedicated to it. How can I have faith if I don't believe in the first place? Before I listen to anyone talk about Christianity, they had better eat, sleep and breath faith. Any other level, to me, is hypocrisy. I think the same way about members of PETA. Anything short of total immersion is hypocrisy; don't bother talking to me. So again I ask; does "pests" include all other living creatures outside the definition of animals? If so, all PETA members are hypocrites.
After typing the last sentence I new I would have to back up my claim; here is my explanation. If "pests" includes all living creatures, the only way that you can be a believer in PETA is to commit suicide, because your very existence on this planet is killing organisms by the billions everyday; and don't forget to leave a note of apology for all the organisms dessimated by your body hitting the floor.
Everything we do requires the loss of life. Take a few steps across the lawn, and the potential for loss of life numbers in the hundreds-of-thousands; now imagine the carnage of mowing the lawn. Do you drive a hybrid? You may be reducing greenhouse gases, but look at your windshield and grill. Go now; the computer will be here when you return from mourning and vomiting. Have you taken a shower lately? Where is your conscience? Think of the countless bacteria, mindlessly slaughtered by a single swipe of your washcloth. Don't they deserve your respect and protection? Why should they be mercilessly butchered just because they don't have a cute faces or pretty wings?
My example may seem a bit extreme, but I hope it will put things in perspective. Just because someone refuses to escort a house fly to the door so that it may finish its two-week, disease-ridden life, doesn't make that person an animal annihilator. If I choose to eat a steak over a soybean, I am not a mass-murderer of cows, or a perpetrator of hatred; I'm just hungry.
If you are a member of PETA, and I have misread your mission statement, I am sorry; but don't hate me. That way I won't have to stand on the side of the highway, with my friends, holding signs that read "Butterfly Butcher" or "Moth Murderer" as you hum past in your Prius.