In an incident widely reported this week, the public learned that Kim Kardashian was attacked by an anti-fur activist with a bag of flour.
Normally we would not pay attention to such goings on, the sartorial debacles of minor celebrities are amusing but of little importance, and we are well aware of the ethical distinctions that exist between the use of animals in biomedical research and other uses such as food or for their fur. However, it was later revealed that the attacker, Christina Cho, is a longtime PeTA activist. Moreover, PeTA offered to pay for her legal defense should Ms. Kardashian file any complaints against her.
On learning about these events Khloe Kardashian, Kim’s sister and longtime PeTA supporter, decided to quit the organization, writing in her blog:
I’ve been a vocal supporter of PETA for a long time [..] but I have also been very vocal about anti-bullying, so this was a huge disappointment for me. As you all know, I don’t condone violence and bullying and what happened last Thursday was just that. I am absolutely disgusted by their behavior.”
But is flour bombing the only thing that PeTA supports? What are their limits? Would they also pay the legal fees of someone bombing a factory farm? What about offering legal assistance to someone that set someone’s family on fire because they are not vegetarians? Might they also consider offering legal help to someone who teaches students how to build incendiary devices and previously bombed a university laboratory? Oh, yes, we forgot, PeTA has already done that.
Thus, independently of the issue being debated the problem with PeTA is simple. Frustrated by their inability to get nude celebrities – and indeed non-celebrities – to explain their moral views to the public, and being intellectually incapable of putting reasoned arguments in the court of public debate, they decide that bullying and intimidation are acceptable forms of activism. Indeed, it could even be argued that the Kardashian incident serves to distract from the more distasteful and sinister reality of what kind of organization PeTA is.
Celebrities that support PeTA should be aware that when they offer their names (and naked bodies) are also actively supporting this type of behavior. Khloe Kardashian has made a sensible decision to stay away from such organization and, perhaps, other celebrities will see the light and reconsider their support of PeTA as well.
Speaking of Research