What Most Vegetarians Actually Think About PETA
What Most Vegetarians Actually Think About PETA

What Most Vegetarians Actually Think About PETA

All of the lightly-seasoned tofu in the world couldn’t make this a respectable organization.
November 15, 2016
8 mins read

For PETA, Animals Matter More Than Humans

All of the lightly-seasoned tofu in the world couldn’t make this a respectable organization.

By Heather Ware, Bowling Green State University

I like to think of myself as a vegetarian with vegan tendencies; that is, I’m a vegetarian who chooses vegan options whenever I’m readily presented with them.

Because of my eating habits, I find that people regularly associate me with the lovely bunch of radical jerkoffs known as PETA. If you require any context on who PETA is or what they’re about, please click here.

What Most Vegetarians Actually Think about PETA
A PETA protest (Image via Nonprofit Quarterly)

I, for one, am exhausted with these garbage sacks being the face and voice of vegetarianism/veganism. So here, on a point-by-point basis, I will break down exactly why PETA is a group that prioritizes the lives of cows over the lives of oppressed people and should, at their earliest convenience, suck my entire ass.

1. PETA Values Feathers and Fur Over Melanin

It’s easy to think of PETA as a group of animal rights activists who, while batshit crazy, are ultimately harmless…if you’re white. For the rest of the world, however, you can rest assured that this conglomeration of assholes is happy to make you feel uncomfortable and unsafe at every turn.

Every year, PETA holds an annual protest at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show to protest the kennel’s strict breeding rules. Okay, fighting for corgis doesn’t seem so bad. It may seem a little eccentric, sure, but overall not overtly harmful. How did PETA decide to protest this horrible puppy purism?

If you guessed “By dressing up as the KKK!” you are both correct and most likely on an FBI watch list. Yes, in 2009 PETA instructed two of their activists to stand outside the dog show in klan robes to pass out fliers on why breeders are terrible dog racists…or something. It probably seems nonsensical because these crusaders never got past the “racists in pointy hats” part of their research on the KKK.

In defense of PETA, this isn’t outside of their normal rhetorical strategies, given their odd propensity for putting black people in cages.

If you’re surprised that an animal rights group could be this ignorant and negligent, you’re not alone. When questioned as to why PETA thought this would be appropriate for the event, one of their spokespeople admitted that, “Obviously it’s an uncomfortable comparison,” presumably because they were unfamiliar with the phrase “terribly racist idea.”

To protect the welfare of dogs, PETA was only too happy to stand in the robes of people that have harassed and murdered people of color for generations. You know who probably doesn’t care who they screw? A dog. You know who was probably traumatized by seeing fucking klansmen on their daily walk to work? A person of color. And unfortunately for anyone capable of eating spicy foods, PETA only cares about one of those groups.

2. Got Bias?

The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (and only animals) released a billboard featuring a frowny face in a bowl of milk, which was accompanied by slogan “Got Autism?” and the tagline “Studies have shown a link between cow’s milk and autism.”

Just when you think that PETA can’t sink any lower, they dig deep into their tofurkey hearts and pull out another steaming pile.

Not only did these “studies” find no causative relationship between cow milk and autism, but they were also obscenely outdated and used sample sizes that should have been at least five times larger.

The issue here isn’t just that PETA’s advertisement team wouldn’t pass an 8th grade science test. This is the same kind of rhetoric that anti-vaxxers use, because a child that’s died of polio is preferable to a living autistic child. Autism isn’t a pseudo-scientific boogeyman that people get to pull out whenever they want to create a stigma around a product or activity.

Some fast facts: correlation isn’t causation; studies should have samples larger than 20 people and drinking milk doesn’t make you the cow-version of Joseph Stalin.

3. Being Trans Is a Drag?

A few years ago, PETA launched their “Fur Is a Drag” campaign, which deviated from their normal rhetoric of using naked women and instead decided to use men dress up in fur coats and (presumably cruelty-free) makeup. While I’m always in support of a little gender bending with my activism, this project was more about mocking trans people than working outside of the gender binary.

For this campaign, PETA took photographs of men in women’s fur clothing to highlight “how ridiculous fur really looks.” The message here, of course, is that someone other than a cisgender woman in women’s clothes must look ridiculous, and it’s part of the reason why trans women find it so difficult to begin dressing as their correct gender.

Vegans are a largely liberal group, and when huge activist organizations like PETA are selling out trans people to push their agenda, it’s easy for trans people to feel that their entire existence is nothing but a comedic prop.

Even though half of transgender youth have thought about suicide, PETA found no issue in running ads that anyone other than Caitlynn Jenner could have recognized as transphobic. Look at these pictures from their ad campaigns and rallies. These people have made caricatures of trans women and went to sleep with the thought that they made a positive difference in the world, which makes them sort of like a pro-animal version of Ted Cruz.

This is how PETA operates: They’re content to mock and degrade marginalized people so long as it means that one more chicken gets to peck grain for another day. While this is an excellent philosophy if you’re Foghorn Leghorn, it’s not so great for people facing oppression. In short, PETA is essentially the real-life embodiment of Poison Ivy: a well-intentioned eco-terrorist who thinks she’s saving the world, but is largely just an asshole in need of intense psychiatric help.

Heather Ware, Bowling Green State University

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1 Comment

  1. As a vegan myself, I support PETA. PETA has always had a deep commitment to exposing the common origins of oppression and advocating for individuals in need, regardless of species. The division between people and animals is not as rigid as people think. I want to help animals, because they are suffering intensely, and honestly I am going to support anything that gets people to think about the actions they take that directly harm animals. Still, PETA’s roots run deep in the LGBTQ+ community. Knowing what it’s like to be oppressed, it’s hardly surprising that many gay icons such as Tim Gunn, Ellen DeGeneres, Martina Navratilova, and Alan Cumming have joined forces with PETA to speak out against all forms of mindless prejudice—including prejudice against animals. PETA’s comparison of the AKC (American Kennel Club) to the KKK is also very apropos. Both groups share the same ideology. The AKC promotes “breedist,” the canine equivalent of racism, and the false idea that dogs with “pure” blood lines are somehow superior to dogs of diverse heritage. It’s cruel and irresponsible to promote breeding and drive up demand for “purebreds” from breeders while animal shelters overflow with mutts and purebreds alike who are desperately in need of good homes. And when it comes to autism, PETA is talking about causation. The theory that gastrointestinal problems caused by dairy foods can distress and thus worsen behavior in children with autism, is not something that PETA baked up. There is a study (one that you happened not to cite in your piece) done by researchers at the University of Rome that showed a “marked improvement” in the behavior of autistic children who were taken off dairy products. Numerous testimonials show that many people with this condition may be able to find relief with a simple dietary change—removing milk from their diet. Even if the before-mentioned campaigns weren’t for you, PETA has always made a point of offering something for all tastes—from the most conservative to the most radical and from the most refined to the most outrageous—and this approach has proved very successful. The point is, PETA has helped millions of animals—which is something that I hope that you, as a vegetarian, can appreciate.

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