More Moral Confusion at PeTA

The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PeTA) are, once again, intent on proving their deep moral confusion to the public.   This time, they felt necessary to comment on the killing of Osama bin Laden with an invitation to bite his head off:

If you’re a little hungry after being up all night watching the news and chanting “USA! USA!” we’ve got the perfect snack for you: PETA’s “Bin Laden Bites” chocolates.

Many vegan readers of PeTA’s blog were not amused by this invitation.

One commented:

[…] How can we promote ethical treatment of animals if we promote violence against human beings as well. Your slipping up PETA. I expect a higher level of ethics and sincerity in your efforts.

Another exclaimed:

This is disgusting! An absolute disgrace to humanity. I cannot actually believe my eyes. What on EARTH does this have to do with the protection of animals? You people have gone off the plot and those who came up with the idea and the ones who signed this off are sick in the head. You are as bad as the sickos who beheaded and burned Americans in Iraq.

A third one pondered:

Shame on you PETA! Since when did you became an organization that promotes and celebrates cruelty, hatred and violence? You should apologize for this stupid ad!

It is a very good question. When has PeTA become an organization that promotes and celebrates cruelty, hatred and violence?

One question is whether or not you support the goals of the organization; another one is if you support its methods and tactics.   Consider the following comments by the leadership of PeTA that have been previously documented:

* In the December/January 2000 issue of ‘Genre’, PETA’s Dan Mathews was asked to name men of the 20th century he admired. Mathews told the magazine he admired serial killer Andrew Cunanan, “because he got Versace to stop doing fur.”

* In 1999, an animal rights terrorist group calling itself the Justice Department sent letters booby-trapped with razor blades to medical researchers and fur farms in the United States and Canada. When asked about the letters, Newkirk said, “I hope it frightens them [the researchers] out of their careers. If experimenters feel afraid now, that’s nothing compared with the fear, harm and death they have inflicted on their victims.”

* In a new author’s note in her book about the Animal Liberation Front, ‘Free the Animals’, Newkirk writes, “Determined to cause economic injury to the exploiters, ALF members burn down their emptied buildings and smash their vehicles to smithereens. Perhaps, after reading this book, you will find that you cannot blame them.”

* In 1994, PETA donated $42,500 to the Rodney Coronado Support Committee. Coronado is an animal rights terrorist who in 1995 pleaded guilty to firebombing a medical research facility at Michigan State University.

* In fact, Newkirk herself has expressed a wish to carry out arson. At a 1997 animal rights convention she said, “I wish we all would get up and go into the labs and take the animals out or burn them down.” In 1999 she expanded on that sentiment, telling the ‘Chronicle of Higher Education’, “I find it small wonder that the laboratories aren’t all burning to the ground. If I had more guts, I’d light a match.”

On one hand PeTA is satisfied that Osama bin Laden has been killed by the U.S. and invites everyone to celebrate by biting his head off.  On the other, the comments by the leaders of the organization suggests PeTA, in fact, supports the use of methods and tactics that are not awfully different from those of other terrorist organizations.

Let us be clear, Osama bin Laden believed strongly on the correctness of his moral position and that violence was indeed justified to achieve justice against the West.  The same, of course, can be said of the Animal Liberation Brigade, the so-called Justice Department, other animal rights terrorist groups.

What about PeTA?

Perhaps it is time for PeTA to think a bit more deeply about its moral principles, issue a formal institutional position on the use of violence, and explain why an organization that is purportedly based on “compassion for all living beings” so often appears in the news as endorsing the same methods that made bin Laden despised across much of the civilized world.

17 thoughts on “More Moral Confusion at PeTA

    1. “It is unfathomable that PETA, as the world’s largest and well-funded animal rights organization, would support the killing of life, on any grounds.” ~~from the bikyamasr link

      It would certainly make better sense for PeTA to do this, but I doubt their logic is particularly consistent. First and foremost, PeTA attempts to generate “buzz.” It doesn’t matter to them if what they write is totally inaccurate or logically inconsistent so long as it generates that buzz.

      I find it hard to understand why PeTA should be eligible for the tax-free status it enjoys. I see why the SPCA is eligible, but not PeTA. There is a huge difference between the two.

      The SPCA actually spends most of its time and resources on animal rescue and shelters. PeTA spends most of its time and resources on meaningless buzz and publicity stunts.

      1. What is difficult to understand is how such an organization can have a 2 million membership list.

        How large is ASPCA which, as you correctly point out, seriously work to improve the well-being of animals.

      2. PeTA has a large membership because many of those that join think they are an animal welfare organization. As Glen points out, they’re experts at generating buzz and so people think they’re out there saving animals when PeTA actually does almost no animal rescue.

        HSUS is equally good at pretending they’re an animal welfare organization. If you see their commercials on TV you’d think they were out there in the field rescuing abused animals from puppy mills. But even Wayne Pacheo admits they don’t give money to local Humane Society chapters because that’s not their focus. The HSUS takes in more in donations that PeTA because people think they’re supporting local Humane Society shelters. It’s a blurring of the lines between animal welfare and animal rights.

  1. PeTA has a long history of using the fame of others and newsworthy events to promote their cause. I’ve heard this referred to as BIRGing — Basking In Reflected Glory.

    PeTA also has a long history of making children their target audience. See, for instance:

    Click to access 040817_petakids.pdf

    PeTA indoctrination techniques are quite creepy.

  2. “web-site that makes fun of people with cognitive disabilities ”’re actually trying to cast aspersions on SRon the basis of one rather silly (didn’t even bother to check whether the chocolates were vegan…they are) comment by somebody who as far as I’m aware hasn’t commented here before?

    Any comments from you on PeTA’s tactics or their support for terrorism?

  3. Huh? You guys trying to be obtuse, now?

    “A form of self-retardation”–yep, that’s your readership quality of comment and thought.

    I suppose on a web-site that makes fun of people with cognitive disabilities we should expect this sort level of logical confusion. — See how easy this tripe is?

    You guys are the same as PeTA.

    1. C,

      Are you commenting on the original post? If so, why is it obtuse? PeTA does not have a formal position on violence, does it?

  4. I’m betting the chocolate is MILK chocolate.
    Not a very bright bunch, eh? Amino-acid deprived from a lack of proper protein, which effects cognitive ability… a form of self-retardation.

    1. Does that even look like milk chocolate?

      Seriously, I despise PeTA and all their works as much as the next man, but you really can do better than that.

  5. Aside from that obvious point, it is important that those that support PeTA understand what exactly they are supporting, both in terms of goals AND tactics.

    1. PeTA has always been very good at blurring the lines between animal welfare and animal rights. They seem to present themselves publicly as promoting animal welfare with campaigns against fur and the agriculture business. Their use of celebrity endorsements is brilliant. However, I don’t think most people connect PeTA’s stance against animal cruelty with their stance against medical research.

  6. PETA are just publicity hounds…any opportunity to grab a news peg is good enough for them.

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