Vegans Say What?: PETA

I will ask for your forgiveness now. Our computer is having a temper tantrum. We contemplated buying a new one last week and though we opted to not buy one our current computer has been acting up ever since. The point of sharing this information is that I am posting this from my phone and there are bound to be mistakes. The little keyboard makes me crazy and my hand hurt. Guess you can tell my age and that I’m not of the texting generation.

This has most definitely been a week of learning for me. A friend thought I needed to get in touch with and signed me up (thanks Levi.) I also stumbled upon, stumble Both sites are great for killing time and hold tons of information, though I’m pretty sure that I am not utilizing either to the fullest potential.

One thing I did get out the reading I have done this week is that many people in our vegan community hate PETA. They don’t just hate them, they HATE them!

Back before even becoming vegetarian I saw videos made by PETA that showed the horrors of animal testing and I immediately used their convenient list of companies that did and didn’t test to make informed buying decisions. I have never supported them financially due to the fact that I prefer to give my money to organizations in my local community that are working toward the cause. I also tend to stay clear of anything that needs to use the latest Hollywood star on their ad campaigns, but that is simply a personal choice and maybe a slight annoyance but nothing that leads me to hate them.

A few days ago as one of my Worthy Of Sharing I posted a Baking Cheat Sheet (sorry, can’t figure out how to do the link on my phone) that I found informative and cute not really caring that PETA had put it out. I noticed that it had been circling around and that the majority of the comments were about bashing PETA rather than about the content the sheet was providing. Then I started poking around and realized PETA can cause as much anger in the vegan community as the VegNews scandal did earlier this year. What am I missing? Why do vegans hate the probably best known animal rights organization there is? I would love if you could take a moment to educate me and anyone else who might nit be in the know. Thanks!

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6 Responses to Vegans Say What?: PETA

  1. Julie says:

    Uh, oh….why do I hear the sound of the floodgates opening?
    In my experience in the “rescue” world, PETA has always been a lightning rod. People either hate them or love them and want to bash no matter what side you stand on. While I may not personally agree with everything each animal welfare group may do, I don’t think it’s an either/or situation. The bigger picture is that PETA has accomplished more than any group I can think of on a global scale of awareness. I may cringe at some of the things they do or their tactics, but overall I have to hand it to them for making a huge difference in the world today for animals. I guess I’ll just continue to pick and choose the initiatives of theirs that I want to support. Your “cheat sheet” that you linked to was excellent and it’s already printed out and hanging on my pantry door. So, no matter how much backlash you may receive for even breathing the controversial word “PETA,” I am glad you did!

  2. My main issues with PETA center on two things: Their ongoing objectification of women for the purpose of selling their message to stop objectifying non-human animals (irony much?) and their outlandish tactics that do a great deal to perpetuate perceptions of vegans or vegetarians as unreasonable lunatics on the fringe of society.

    I think nearly everyone now associates demonstrations by young, conventionally attractive women wearing next to nothing with PETA because they’re such a common part of their activist repertoire. Apparently this week there was a demonstration in Seattle run by women in “lettuce bikinis” handing out soy jerky. Eye-catching? Absolutely. But hello–it’s cold in Seattle right now! What about women–and men–in Santa suits or cow costumes or any number of other visual cues that would attract attention with something other than women’s bodies? It’s not so much that they ever do this. The “I’d rather go naked than wear fur” campaign makes some sense to do in the way they do. But it’s one of PETA’s favorite techniques. Protesting animal testing? Naked women! Anti fishing? Naked women! Soy jerky instead of beef jerky? Naked women! Obviously. Especially in December.

    PETA also recently launched what is at least its second anti-fur campaign based around the premise that a woman in fur is as unattractive as a woman with untrimmed pubic hair. Because hey, there’s not much of anything more unattractive than a woman’s body that hasn’t been manipulated to fit a certain cultural norm, right? Right? We should definitely encourage women to feel just as bad about their own bodies as about buying the skin of an abused and murdered animal. They’re equivalent, really.

    And then there’s just the over-the-top thing. Yes, I get the value of staying in the headlines. But the cost is substantial. Campaigning the mayor of Hamburg, Germany, to change the name of that centuries-old city to “Veggieburg” (which would make so much sense to a German-speaking population) just because Americans popularized a type of beef sandwich known as a “Hamburger”? It’s absurd that they would waste the time of anyone with such a notion. Of course PETA does it because it’s absurd and will get attention. Unfortunately, that leaves a lot of people to think that vegans are self-centered idiots with no sense of how others view the world.

    So yeah. Not a fan. I agree that they do a lot of good, especially with their outreach to young people and very accessible information and promotional materials. However, I see no reason that all of that couldn’t be achieved without the misogyny and ludicrous campaigns, and I don’t understand why they insist on retaining those parts of the organizational structure. Until that ends, I will not support PETA and instead encourage the work of animal-rights groups that treat ALL animals with respect.

  3. New follower to your blog, but this post caught my attention as I used to also wonder what PETA did that was so horrible. Along with what the previous commenter said, I’d like to add my pet peeves.

    One of the things I dislike that they’ve done is the sign with a bowl of milk with cereal forming a sad face, that said “Got Autism?”. A lot of high functioning people on the spectrum REALLY found that offensive, as they are perfectly happy the way they are and felt exploited whether they were content with their condition or not. I can commiserate as I am also “disabled” and hate to be exploited as much as the next person.

    Also, the banner they flew over the area destroyed by the Deepwater Horizon spill that basically blamed the people down there despite the fact that they were having such hard times. “Meat on your grill=Oil Spill.” That’s just tactless, in my opinion.

  4. Thanks for the great responses! Here are some more off of our Facebook page:

    I personally dont care for PETA because they’re so extreme. The mission is well intentioned but I feel they do more harm to the “vegan” label than good. People see how they behave and think all vegans are extremists. When I wasn’t vegan I thought vegans were outrageous because of what I’d seen through PETA. As with anything I educated myself and learned otherwise but how many people actually do that? I’ve also heard their help lists may not be accurate either which is frustrating. I also did not agree with the ad saying the human who got bit by a shark deserved it. I feel they feel, an eye for an eye, but being vegan is about compassion and that’s not compassion in the slightest.

    PETA like: throwing red paint on fur coat wearers. PETA dislike: Pamela Anderson

    peta sometimes chooses strange battles. like protesting mario brothers because mario wears a raccoon suit. so i can see how some vegans feel like peta’s tactics make them look foolish. also when peta does something outrageous, non-vegans often use it as an excuse to ridicule veganism. personally i think they provide a lot of people with valuable information and resources. also i think animals deserve to be defended always, even when it seems absurd. also, if pamela anderson’s endorsement leads to someone becoming vegan, thats awesome.

  5. Carolyn says:

    It’s really hard to know whether peta is good or bad. They stand for animal rights, which is good, but they also do some things that hurt people and turn them against peta’s views. I really should be offended with the “Got Autism?” campaign, as well. It’s just so hard to know whether to be on their side or not!
    For now, I’ll remain open-minded but not invest too much time in my peta membership.

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