You may have missed it, but Thursday was a big press day for PETA. A recap:
First, PETA recruited a well- intentioned, yet surprisingly uninformed actor as a participant. Then, for the cost of a couple of plane tickets, the country’s most outlandish
ad agency animal rights group appeared at a University of Wisconsin Board of Regents meeting to create a media moment. We would give you the play by play…but we don’t have to. PETA filmed the whole thing so they could simultaneously stage an event and cover it themselves. (Now that’s news!)
So what PETA’s “create your own media moment” get them? Here are a few links to the coverage:
ABC NEWS – Actor Cromwell Arrested at Wis. Regents Meeting
TODAY SHOW – James Cromwell arrested for protesting alleged cat abuse
WASHINGTON POST – Wisconsin police arrest actor James Cromwell for protest against animal testing at university
We’re certain there were plenty of high fives in the halls of PETA on Thursday. But what’s wrong with this picture?
Aside from the fact that creating a public disturbance and filming yourself isn’t really news…. a lot of problems.
First, the alleged abuse that these two activists so loudly protested (but very quickly…the entire event occurred in less than 90 seconds)…has already been examined at great length and was found to NOT be abusive. As we reported last fall, the United States Department of Agriculture, which enforces the country’s animal abuse laws, found no wrongdoing after conducting a thorough investigation.
Another big problem with this story is the lack of interest from almost every news outlet in explaining why this research is done in the first place. Read the coverage. In many stories, there is little to no summary of the research. In rare cases where the goal of the research is addressed, it’s briefly mentioned in the final paragraph. That’s a huge failure by the press.
For those who don’t know, the studies center on efforts to combat hearing loss and develop new and better methods to assist those who are born deaf or become deaf during their lifetimes. Check out our previous post about why the research is critical and why cats play such an important role in helping us combat the problem.
However, by far, the biggest problem with this story is the amazing level of hypocrisy demonstrated by PETA. For months, PETA has filled Wisconsin (and now national) newspapers and airwaves protesting the death of a single cat. However, do you know how many cats PETA killed in the past year alone? We do: 1,045.
But that’s not all – it gets much worse. In addition to all those cats, PETA also killed 602 dogs placed in their care.
How do we know all this? Hidden cameras? Stolen documents?
No, nothing that exotic. We simply looked at the Virginia Department of Agriculture’s 2012 report on what PETA did with the hundreds of animals placed in their care last year. In 2012, PETA accepted a total of 1877 animals. Then PETA killed 1675. That’s an 89 percent kill rate. Let’s put it in an easy graph.
The same organization that screams “cruelty” when asked about research involving a handful of animals…kills many more and more often. However, unlike at the University of Wisconsin, animals aren’t humanely euthanized for the greater good…PETA kills animals because it would rather spend its millions creating media moments than saving animal lives.
So what have we learned from this episode? First, it’s time for the media to be forced to do their job. They can certainly cover PETA’s highly staged stunts, but viewers must demand to know what’s being protested and what we all risk losing if they blindly accept the opinions of PETA and other such organizations.
Secondly, it’s time to turn the tables and address the hypocrisy. Groups like PETA have no right to protest the reasonable use of animals in research while senselessly killing so many themselves. PETA might put “ethical” in their name, but they certainly leave it out of their actions.
Speaking of Research