PETA (pronounced "pita") was founded in 1980 by Ingrid Newkirk and Alex Pacheco. It is currently the largest animal rights organization in the world and has over 3 million members and supporters. It states that "Animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, use for entertainment, or abuse in any way."
I totally agree with that statement-- isn't that what animal rights is all about? It's PETA's tactics, however, that get a little bit more foggy, at least from an ethical point of view.
Some of PETA's tactics include:
- Keeping a website about animal rights and PETA's current efforts to help animals;
- Hold protests and demonstrations (sometimes grotesque, sometimes naked) for animal rights issues;
- Advertise for the animal rights cause on posters, billboards, and videos (I think some are on television, but I wouldn't know, because I don't watch TV!);
- Engage children and youth in animal-rights-related activities;
- Hold petitions for change;
- Keep animal shelters (which are NOT no-kill shelters).
|Photo Courtesy of HamptonRoads.com|
I see their point in the above ad-- and it is a very good point, since the whole idea of animal rights is that animals and humans should be treated as morally equal-- but many people would be appalled. Other examples include some of PETA's sexist ads:
Some other of PETA's sexist ads, which I won't show here because I don't want people to associate them with my blog, are much worse.
Oh, and this one has offended many autism groups:
When you couple these sorts of things with their naked protests and the fact that they euthenize many of their animals, many people begin to hate PETA's guts. I can't say that they don't have a point, but PETA does do some good things, too-- for example, they're the ones who made me want to go vegetarian in the first place! Without them, I would very possibly be an entirely different person-- although I might have gone veg eventually anyway, because of the environmental costs of meat production.
I'm also a member of the peta2 Street Team, which is for young people to join. peta2.com is a really cool website, I've got to admit. On the right hand side of my blog is an advertisement by peta2-- the one with Christofer Drew.
To be fair, this is what PETA has to say about their tactics: "Unlike our opposition—which is mostly composed of wealthy industries and corporations—PETA must rely largely on free "advertising" through media coverage. ... the media, sadly, do not consider the terrible facts about animal suffering alone interesting enough to cover. It is sometimes necessary to shake people up in order to initiate discussion, debate, questioning of the status quo, and, of course, action.
Thus, we try to make our actions colorful and controversial, thereby grabbing headlines around the world and spreading the message of kindness to animals to thousands—sometimes millions—of people. ... In the two decades since PETA was founded, it has grown into the largest animal rights group in the country, with more than 3 million members and supporters worldwide. We have also had major groundbreaking successes, such as bringing about the first-ever cruelty conviction against an animal experimenter in the case of the now-famous Silver Spring Monkeys; orchestrating the first-ever raid on an agricultural facility (a factory farm in upstate New York that raised ducks for foie gras under horribly cruel conditions); and convincing more than 200 cosmetics companies to permanently abandon animal tests."
It's up to you to decide whether or not PETA is good, bad, or somewhere in between. I think that they're in between. They can be horribly sexist and rude at times, but they do what they do for the animals, so it's a mixed bag.
See you next week!