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Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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83 Responses

  1. AnnieB
    AnnieB June 2, 2009 at 3:53 pm |

    This is so sick. I can’t get my head around it. A man is dead. I have no words.

  2. SnowdropExplodes
    SnowdropExplodes June 2, 2009 at 3:54 pm |

    Words fail me.

    It’s almost on a par with the British civil servant who described 9/11 as “a good day to bury bad news”.

    Hideous.

  3. prairielily
    prairielily June 2, 2009 at 3:55 pm |

    I knew before I even clicked the link.

  4. Lauren
    Lauren June 2, 2009 at 3:57 pm |

    Disgusting.

  5. akeeyu
    akeeyu June 2, 2009 at 4:00 pm |

    What the HELL?

    Somewhere, there are women whose lives are in danger because they need to terminate a potentially lethal pregnancy and are now grasping at straws because this man is dead, and PETA says “Ooooh, score! Good advertising opportunity!”

    I think it’s time for my own personal version of a PETA pledge drive. Every time PETA exploits women to further their own cause, I’m going to eat a steak. A big one. Probably rare. I should be half way through a cow by Christmas, the way they’re going.

  6. timberwraith
    timberwraith June 2, 2009 at 4:01 pm |

    I am beginning to wonder whether PETA is secretly funded by the meat industry.

  7. uccellina
    uccellina June 2, 2009 at 4:04 pm |

    PETA makes me ashamed I was ever a vegetarian.

  8. ballgame
    ballgame June 2, 2009 at 4:07 pm |

    What fucking vultures.

    Agreed.

  9. Kristen from MA
    Kristen from MA June 2, 2009 at 4:10 pm |

    Whenever I think these people have finally hit bottom, they go even lower.

  10. Marlene
    Marlene June 2, 2009 at 4:20 pm |

    This sort of thing gives me chills. Where’s my fur coat?

    I’d be craving foie gras in a veal stock reduction if I wasn’t nauseated.

  11. Laurel
    Laurel June 2, 2009 at 4:20 pm |

    I can’t believe PETA actually think they’re helping animals with this sort of thing. Do they make money this way or do they just need to get into the news now and again?

  12. Laura
    Laura June 2, 2009 at 4:21 pm |

    Seriously, PETA might just be a real-life troll. They make those of us genuinely concerned with feminism and AR look bad by association. As a vegan, they make me sick pretty much every time they run a campaign.

  13. Thomas
    Thomas June 2, 2009 at 4:39 pm |

    Apparently, peta holds the view that aggressively alienating feminists is the best thing for the animal rights movement. Best of luck with that.

  14. Alexis
    Alexis June 2, 2009 at 4:46 pm |

    *sigh* I should’ve assumed it was going to be something hideously inappropriate, but…. PETA. seriously. TACT – you need it.

  15. Eghead
    Eghead June 2, 2009 at 4:50 pm |

    This pisses me off both as a human being AND a vegetarian;not only are they being wildly insensitive, as usual, but they only hurt the animal rights cause.

    Akeeyu: I’m sure it sounded really funny when you wrote that, but it’s actually just obnoxious. I know you don’t actually subscribe to that logic.

  16. Valacious
    Valacious June 2, 2009 at 4:51 pm |

    This kind of disgusting grandstanding is nothing new for PETA. It is well known in the animal rescue community that PETA is a vile, hypocritical organization. They raked in the cash from the Vick situation despite advocating all the dogs be killed. They run a “shelter” which according to the statistics they release to the government of Virginia, kills 95% of the pets they take in, thousands of adoptable dogs and cats. Go to this site for more information: http://www.petakillspets.com/

  17. Eghead
    Eghead June 2, 2009 at 4:52 pm |

    The same goes to Marlene.

    Why can’t people criticize PETA without insulting animal rights? You do realize you’re being almost as tactless as the people you profess to dislike?

  18. Magis
    Magis June 2, 2009 at 5:02 pm |

    PETA is, yes, about the money. There are many advocacy groups that are; that have forgotten their original mission. Whatever charity you give to, check them out closely first.

  19. John Kordich
    John Kordich June 2, 2009 at 5:04 pm |

    When you consider the perspective of PETA and other animal rights advocates, that an animal has no less of a right to live than a human, they are exactly right about everything they said in this article.

    If you believe that an animal should have the same rights as a human (which they do), the meat industry and the animals that suffer and die is just as horrific as the holocaust and are an accurate analogy to slavery as it existed in the US.

    Feminists should support animal rights advocates wholeheartedly, especially with regard to the abortion “debate”. Here is Peter Singer’s argument towards the morality of abortion (and why it should be legal): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Singer#Abortion.2C_euthanasia_and_infanticide

  20. Caroline
    Caroline June 2, 2009 at 5:10 pm |

    God, I wonder what on earth goes through their heads when they come out with this crap.

  21. Abyss2hope
    Abyss2hope June 2, 2009 at 5:29 pm |

    Wow, thanks to PETA’s PR I now associate them with coldblooded murder and terrorism. The take away message they have given me is that they view deliberate killing as good for their cause as long as those killed are human not livestock.

  22. Kelly
    Kelly June 2, 2009 at 5:48 pm |

    Agreed with Eghead, we can criticize PETA without criticizing Animal Rights. That said this is absolutely shameful and alienating of PETA.

  23. Rory
    Rory June 2, 2009 at 5:57 pm |

    PETA are apparently modeling themselves on the Phelps family. It would not surprise me if PETA is really a hoax organization created to give animal rights organizations a bad reputation.

  24. Lesley
    Lesley June 2, 2009 at 5:57 pm |

    I think the point is valid; in fact I was just thinking about the difference between eating a steak and an omelet. One involves the torture and brutal murder of an animal; the other involves the innocuous breaking of eggs which are not sentient (even if they are fertilized) and won’t live to feel pain (I’ll leave the pain of the mothers aside). The parallel to the difference between abortion, murder, and even the death penalty seems obvious and fair game.

  25. Tara
    Tara June 2, 2009 at 6:45 pm |

    Hold on, everyone! Just because these ads are reprehensible and PETA has made many question decisions in my view DON’T TAKE IT OUT ON THE ANIMALS!! I see all these posts about being ashamed of being vegetarian, going home to eat steaks to spite PETA, that’s ridiculous!!!! I am NOT a PETA member but I am PROUD to be a vegetarian.

    I think have the choice to eat meat is fine, BUT the treatment of factory farm animals is very, very disturbing and unethical. I urge you all to get educated on the subject.

    “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way it’s animals are treated”—Gandhi

  26. Colin Day
    Colin Day June 2, 2009 at 6:46 pm |

    If you believe that an animal should have the same rights as a human (which they do),

    Not according to the article you cite:

    Singer allows that animal rights are not the same as human rights, writing in Animal Liberation that “there are obviously important differences between human and other animals, and these differences must give rise to some differences in the rights that each have.”

    Also, do different feminists view rights differently? Is it possible that some might agree with Professor Singer’s approach,and others disagree?

  27. Vanessa
    Vanessa June 2, 2009 at 6:54 pm |

    The only rights PETA cares about is are their own. Deliberately provoking people to hate you then admonishing those same people that really, you’re on their side and you just don’t *understand* (thanks but no thanks, John Kordich) saves exactly no animals from suffering and only furthers the fame of Ingrid Newkirk and her followers.

  28. Tabitha
    Tabitha June 2, 2009 at 7:02 pm |

    I try to make an effort whenever I see something like this to try getting into the head(s) of the people behind it. So I took a pet issue of my own, maybe equal transportation access, and imagined myself going out in the wake of this tragic loss and putting up posters connecting the two issues–the importance of transportation to abortion providers perhaps. But even if I can wrap my mind around exploiting this event to talk about other issues that are also important to me (although I still can’t see myself doing that), that doesn’t at all bring me to the point that PETA is here, because ultimately it’s the, “either side you fall on” mentality that really clinches it.

    They might as well have trivialized views on abortion with, “Either way, can’t we all enjoy the crisp refreshing taste of a Coke?” I’d be kind of disgusted even if they were just using a tentative link between two issues (as well as reducing a man’s murder to a media-ready “issue” in the first place) as a press opportunity, but by making both the “pro-life” and “pro-choice” editions, they make it clear that no such connection is being made. So I think what makes me sick here is only part the exploitation factor and far more the trivialization.

  29. Krista
    Krista June 2, 2009 at 8:02 pm |

    Agreed. I ranted about PETA just this week on Muslimah Media Watch: http://muslimahmediawatch.org/2009/06/01/peta-fails-at-talking-about-humans-yet-again/. Disgusting.

  30. rachel
    rachel June 2, 2009 at 8:05 pm |

    Well, I agree with Tabitha, because they present it “from both sides”…it makes no sense anyway; it can only be successful in being insensitive and crude.

  31. annaham
    annaham June 2, 2009 at 9:16 pm |

    Ick.

  32. woland
    woland June 2, 2009 at 9:22 pm |

    That is vile. And I say this as someone who will not kill a mosquito because it is a sentient being.

  33. Sirkowski
    Sirkowski June 2, 2009 at 9:23 pm |

    When you start believing that animals and humans have the same rights, acting the way PeTA does is perfectly normal. And I’m not saying we shouldn’t avoid animal cruely when possible. But PeTA takes the hippie crap way too far.

  34. stlthy
    stlthy June 2, 2009 at 9:23 pm |

    That’s just repulsive. PETA have really outdone themselves this time, which is pretty impressive given that they’re consistently bloody awful. They’re animal rights’ worst enemy

  35. Tracey
    Tracey June 2, 2009 at 9:25 pm |

    PETA is beyond disgusting.
    Krista:wohoo for MMW link.
    PETA has long history of being racist, sexist, and xenophobic. They’ve dressed up as the Klan, made Holocaust references, routinely use women as sexual objects for media purposes, and constantly try to make a point by trivializing the suffering of humans. I don’t think PETA was to far from the mark when they dressed up as the KKK. They know damn well how their tactics are going to be received. They just don’t care.
    Outlandish actions like these are not a result of the passion they feel for their cause. If they were they would issue apologies and stop using them. I also think PETA may seriously be a troll group to discredit AR and the left in general.

  36. Ruth
    Ruth June 2, 2009 at 9:57 pm |

    I will eat some chicken in their honor tonight.

  37. Ruth
    Ruth June 2, 2009 at 10:06 pm |

    “Why can’t people criticize PETA without insulting animal rights? You do realize you’re being almost as tactless as the people you profess to dislike?”

    Because making light of eating chicken is the same as making light of the killing of an abortion provider while he sits in church? Not buying it.

  38. homitsu
    homitsu June 2, 2009 at 10:12 pm |

    I just wrote them and said I considered their campaign similar to that of Fred Phelps’ God Hates Fags nastiness

  39. Mels
    Mels June 2, 2009 at 10:35 pm |

    Poor taste is too kind of a description.

    As said on Southpark: “PETA doesn’t care about people.”

  40. The Dude
    The Dude June 2, 2009 at 11:44 pm |

    If you believe that an animal should have the same rights as a human (which they do), the meat industry and the animals that suffer and die is just as horrific as the holocaust and are an accurate analogy to slavery as it existed in the US.

    Animals have no rights, because they don’t even understand what “rights” are, let alone being able to use and express those rights in a conceivable and intelligent way (i.e. animals telling us not to hurt or eat them).

    This, however, doesn’t mean we should treat them terribly or make them suffer needlessly, especially our food animals; we should and are developing better and humane ways of ending their existence with little to no suffering. Hey, maybe we’ll eventually create synthetic meat!

    Your “accurate” analogy isn’t and is done in very poor taste. There is a big possibility that there were great minds that died in the holocaust, minds that could have been responsible for music, art, literature, philosophy, medicine, poetry, physics, mathematics, chemistry, et cetera. An animal becoming my steak has the possibility of staying the same if it were to live. Big difference!

  41. Eghead
    Eghead June 2, 2009 at 11:59 pm |

    Ruth: I am not saying they are the same thing. Hence the ‘almost.’ It’s obnoxious (I can’t believe I have to say this) to make fun of an entire cause because you don’t like one group that (supposedly) works towards it– it’s an irrelevent critique, it’s insulting to other animal rights activists, and it’s just all around immature. Get over yourself.

  42. Eghead
    Eghead June 3, 2009 at 12:01 am |

    Aaaand one more from chava.

    This is why I hate this website– absolutely no comment moderation. Have fun with your immature discussions guys, I’m out.

  43. easyVegan.info » Blog Archive » PETA takes a page from the Fred Phelps playbook.

    [...] Feministe; by the by, I’m working on a much longer piece about terrorism and the animal rights and [...]

  44. Eghead
    Eghead June 3, 2009 at 12:02 am |

    Oooohh wait look there is comment moderation! I’m glad they let all this obnoxious B.S. through– good job mods!

  45. akeeyu
    akeeyu June 3, 2009 at 1:18 am |

    *cough*

    Alrighty, then.

    Here’s the thing: I think PETA probably started off well intentioned, but they’ve turned into a very bad joke. I don’t think they care half as much about animal rights as they do about getting press–ANY kind of press.

    As such, I DO treat PETA like a joke. Animal rights, no. PETA, yes. It actually pisses me off when they get up to stuff like this, because theoretically I agree with a lot of their ideals, but the way they run their organization is disgusting.

    On the other hand, what Chava said: I don’t think eating meat is completely incompatible with respecting animals. When you get down to it, the house I live in, the car I drive and the freeway I drive it on are more damaging to more animals than the steak I eat. And, well, most of us live in houses. I don’t have to drive far to see the forests that have been shaved off the mountainside for lumber. I live in the land of the spotted owl. It’s not just about meat.

    We all displace and destroy animals in more ways than eating them.

    …and PETA’s ad campaign is still fucking repellant.

  46. pocochina
    pocochina June 3, 2009 at 1:33 am |

    Every time PETA exploits women to further their own cause, I’m going to eat a steak.

    Too right! Which will far increase my meant intake,as I generally have ~2 servings of meat a month. Today’s pesto chicken melt, however, was nummy.

  47. annoyedvegetarian
    annoyedvegetarian June 3, 2009 at 2:09 am |

    If I could hurt PETA by biting the heads off big pretty-eyed cows, I would do it. Alas, it’s only the cows who suffer by such arrangements. In lieu, I will eat my broccoli with extra verve and gnashing of teeth.

  48. Your Conscious
    Your Conscious June 3, 2009 at 2:53 am |

    @John Kordich you may have never heard this but it is true in spades with regard to your Prof. Peter Singer. Only the very brilliant can truly make themselves complete imbeciles. When that one stands within a step of complete rationalism and takes the last step to end the irrationality, he becomes the irrationality. Peter became that irrationality several years ago. He forgot what Humanism even means in his quest for what it is to be human.

    I am a localized flexitarian and flex most when I see anything about Singer and now PETA. Tomorrow it will be Seared bone in Wednesday frm mkt spring herb chix with beurre blanc sauce and baby veggies in a crispy bacon bearnaise, washed down with a “Mud and the Blood and the Beer” – a Bloody Mary based drink with added beef demi and a beer float, garnished with a sliver of grilled flank steak and tomato wedge!

  49. Natalia
    Natalia June 3, 2009 at 5:15 am |

    I believe in having pets, something that PETA finds reprehensible. Our dog saved my mother from a rapist once, but if it’s cool and progressive to riff off the KKK, then I’m sure that rape among humans is unimportant to PETA (considering that abortion doctors often work with rape survivors, this latest little stunt certainly implies as much). But hey, my mom is another savage meat-eater and supporter of rural farmers, by PETA’s estimation she probably deserved worse.

    Spiritually, I think all meat-eaters should have respect for the meat they eat and the animals whose lives are taken in the world, which is why I think a reform of the food and farming industry is crucial in the United States and elsewhere. Having said that, I’ve no problem saying that I eat local Jordanian steak at PETA. Quite frankly, they deserve worse comments than that.

    Fuck PETA.

  50. amandaw
    amandaw June 3, 2009 at 5:51 am |

    But seriously, people, the “hurr hurr I’m gonna eat a steak” stuff is uncalled for. Animal rights matter to a lot of people (including a lot of feminist people) and we can ALL criticise PETA without hurting and offending those people.

    This.

    Said as a steak-eater.

  51. timberwraith
    timberwraith June 3, 2009 at 6:38 am |

    I have to second those who are discouraging comments such as “I’m going to eat steak, now.” Hurl all the invective you want at PETA. They deserve it. However, your “steak comments” are alienating vegetarians who also find PETA to be disgusting.

    Vegetarians are frequently made fun of by non-vegetarian friends and family who make remarks such as, “Well, you can have your nasty old tofu, but I’m going to have a nice juicy STEAK.” After you hear comments like this over and over again, you simply want to strangle the next person who says it. So, cut the crap, people. You are alienating those who agree with you.

  52. Faith from F.N.
    Faith from F.N. June 3, 2009 at 7:02 am |

    “oo right! Which will far increase my meant intake,as I generally have ~2 servings of meat a month. Today’s pesto chicken melt, however, was nummy.”

    So not funny and so not the place.

  53. Lianne
    Lianne June 3, 2009 at 7:57 am |

    It’s disingenuous, to say the least, for the deceitfully-named Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF) to complain about the number of unwanted and suffering animals whom PETA has been forced to euthanize because their guardians requested it, or because no good homes exist for them.

    CCF is a front group for Philip Morris, Outback Steakhouse, KFC, cattle ranchers, and other animal exploiters who kill millions of animals every year, not out of compassion, but out of greed. CCF promotes meat-eating and defends corporations that send billions of cows, chickens, pigs, and other animals to terrifying, gruesome, and painful deaths in slaughterhouses.

    PETA handled far more animals than 2,124 in 2008. In fact, we took in more than 10,000 dogs and cats, spaying and neutering all of them at low to no cost. We gave them shots, fixed their wounds and treated their illnesses, and returned them to the community. Most of the animals we took in and euthanized could hardly be called “pets,” as they had spent their lives on heavy chains, for instance. They were unsocialized, never having been inside a building of any kind or known a pat on the head. Others were indeed someone’s, but they were aged, sick, injured, dying, too aggressive to place, and the like, and PETA offered them a release from suffering, with no charge to their owners or custodians.

    Those figures also do not include the hundreds upon hundreds of dogs and cats whose suffering PETA works to alleviate by providing them with free food when their owners are poor, clean water buckets, sturdy dog houses, straw for winter, and more, or the hundreds of adoptable dogs and cats we will not take in but refer to walk-in animal shelters and adoption centers. Since 2001, PETA’s low- to no-cost spay-and-neuter mobile clinics, SNIP and ABC, have sterilized more than 50,000 animals, preventing hundreds of thousands of animals from being born, neglected, abandoned, abused, or euthanized when no one wanted them. We also actively decrease the number of animals who end up in animal shelters only to be euthanized for lack of good homes by using star power to promote spaying and neutering in ads across the country.
    On a national level, PETA is focusing on the root of the problem through our Animal Birth Control (ABC) campaign. The ABC campaign targets breeders, pet stores, and cat- and dog-breeding mills and in an active way through protests, PSAs, celebrity support, and investigations and puts the blame for the overpopulation crisis squarely where it belongs—with those who breed animals or allow their animals to breed. As long as animals are bred, homeless dogs and cats in animal shelters will die because there simply aren’t enough good homes for them all.

    As long as animals are still be purposely bred and people aren’t spaying and neutering their companions, open-admission animal shelters and organizations like PETA must do society’s dirty work. Euthanasia is not a solution to overpopulation but rather a tragic necessity given the present crisis. PETA is proud to be a “shelter of last resort,” where animals who have no place to go or who are unwanted or suffering are welcomed with love and open arms.

    You can read more about this in Ingrid Newkirk’s last blog: http://blog.peta.org/archives/2009/03/why_we_euthaniz.php

  54. Sarah
    Sarah June 3, 2009 at 8:27 am |

    Props to those who know about what is behind the “Center for Consumer Freedom”. They are an astroturf group that actually managed the gumption to campaign against Mothers Against Drunk Driving!

    That aside, here is my R-rated response to the article, which I will clean up and proofread, and send to the paper as soon as I calm down. I am livid. Not at PETA, however.

    “Infotainment at its most sickening. You know what Kansas? You have bigger problems than PETA right now. Much bigger problems. Maybe you ought to be focusing on those. But no. Pick THIS to whine about, people. Because, you know, whatever PETA is doing with regard to the murder of Dr. Tiller is important enough to garner page space. Not the societal ills and cultural poisoning inflicted upon us by the hateful anti-choice/anti-women demographic, which lead to the death of George Tiller after many threats and three previous attempts to take his life. Never mind the multitude of groups around the nation hailing the murder and exploiting this event to further their own agendas of mental pollution, namely to take away a woman’s human right to not be forced to give birth against her will. Compulsory childbirth *is* slavery, nothing less. But never mind that. What PETA is doing is a real story, right? No wonder your state is so fucked up. I know newspapers are hard up for ad revenue, but to focus on THIS non-headline as if it were relevant news– this empty but eye-grabbing garbage tabloid story devoid of ANY real meaning… Well, I don’t think I am alone in thinking that PETA is not the only organization that is mistakenly skewing their “priorities” in an entirely wrong and very fucked-up direction. By wasting space on this (non)story, you as a respected news organization do a higher disservice to the memory of Dr. Tiller and the issues surrounding his death than this PETA campaign ever could. And to add insult to injury, your editors just gave their little stunt free publicity.”

  55. Hugo
    Hugo June 3, 2009 at 8:50 am |

    As a vegan who doesn’t give (much) to PETA — my money goes to PCRM, Farm Sanctuary, and so forth — I am repeatedly exasperated by the tactics they use. I’ve told ‘em this when they call for donations. I’ll tell ‘em again.

    But indeed, the “I’m so mad at PETA I’m going to mistreat an animal in their name” crowd are so utterly infuriating that I feel backed into a corner where I end up gritting my teeth and defending the indefensible against the even more indefensible. Call ‘em misogynists, call ‘em clueless and tasteless and counter-productive, but leave it there.

  56. William
    William June 3, 2009 at 9:13 am |

    I think the steak comments are pretty close to the initial point of the post because of the relationship many members of the vegetarian/vegan/animal rights community has with PETA. When, on an almost monthly basis, some new and horrible things comes from PETA’s publicity office we see two things: a tide out outrage from people sympathetic to the cause who think the new ad is offensive and a significant number of people who are part of the cause who say “well, clearly this ad is offensive but…”

    Its that second part that causes the problems. How many posts in this thread have focused on animal rights? How many people decided to use outrage over PETA’s bullshit as a jumping off point? How many people, rather than being sickened by PETA trivializing domestic terrorism and the murder of a doctor who was one of only three to provide a desperately needed medical procedure in the goddamn country, opted to get defensive because their feelings were hurt by people who were reacting in horror?

    Say Operation Rescue decided to use the Tiller case to spearhead a new ad campaign and someone came along in the thread saying “well, just to spite OR, I’m going to go get an abortion this year!” Would a pro-lifer have any place bitching about how cruel and childish a response that was? No, most people would recognize the hyperbole coming from a place of anger and just let it go. Hell, on this site the pro-lifer would (justifiably) catch 10 sorts shit.

    The bottom line is that PETA did something disgusting and every single commenter here who decided to give someone shit for expressing their anger through humor, every single commenter who decided that PETA’s callous use of a murder would be a great way to start a dialog about their cause, is granting subtle support to PETA’s ads in the same way every protester who marched with Operation Rescue granted subtle support to Operation Rescue’s violent rhetoric. The magnitude of moral horror might not even be close, but its the same brand of bullshit.

  57. Maggie
    Maggie June 3, 2009 at 9:15 am |

    “I’m so mad at PETA I’m going to mistreat an animal in their name”

    The people who are saying that are not vegetarians. They were going to eat the steak/chicken/fish/etc anyway.

  58. SarahMC
    SarahMC June 3, 2009 at 9:21 am |

    Give me a fucking break, William.

  59. William
    William June 3, 2009 at 9:38 am |

    I don’t like PETA but I hate what goes on in the comments threads whenever they fuck up. Yeah, abusing and torturing animals will really stick it to ‘em.

    Just to be clear. Using the murder of a doctor, who is one of only three in a country of 300 million or so, who provides a life-and-death service to push your cause within days of his murder is bad. Joking about eating a steak because you can’t find another way to put into words the absolute horror you’re experiencing at the concept is…worse? Not only worse, but bad enough that it should be the central theme of a discussion about PETA’s callous opportunism.

    Also, PETA didn’t fuck up. This wasn’t a mistake or an accident. PETA didn’t fail to realize what they were doing or how offensive it would be. PETA, as they constantly do, decided to do something overtly offensive because it was offensive in order to get publicity.

    Worse, at this point, PETA knows that what they’re doing doesn’t help. This wasn’t part of a donation drive and its unlikely any reasonable person is going to expect this billboard to sway any minds. It, like most of PETA’s work, is a publicity stunt. That leaves you wondering why PETA would consistently do things like this. At this point its pretty clear that not only does PETA’s tactics not help their movement, it actively hurts it. Seems to me like they’re trading publicity (and whatever little ego boost they get from it) for the welfare of animals by actively hurting their own cause.

  60. catty
    catty June 3, 2009 at 9:39 am |

    I’m no longer a vegetarian (I do eat meat, but rarely), but as a feminist, this whole “I’m going to eat steak because PETA pisses me off” kind of comment is disturbing, even as rhetoric. I’m going to co-sign other vegetarian/animal rights supporting feminists here.

    I’m not a fan of PETA, there are other animal welfare and rights organizations that need support. Criticize PETA and rightfully so for being tactless, insensitive, exploitative, etc. Even as a non-vegan or vegetarian, comments about eating fois gras, grabbing fur coats, etc to *spite PETA* is indefensible and puts those in a category of insensitivity as well.

  61. catty
    catty June 3, 2009 at 9:45 am |

    William, I’d like to think that the feminist community is one where we strive to be inclusive. Very few of the vegetarians or vegans here have come in support of PETA, they’re just expressing dismay at the way it’s expressed, and have the right to say so.

    You’re idea of “it’s a joke, get over it” has been used many, many times to silence feminist voices.

  62. SarahMC
    SarahMC June 3, 2009 at 9:49 am |

    I’m not defending PETA, though. I don’t support them, never have, and never will. I expect offensive, inflammatory, counterproductive speech from them. I don’t expect it from the feminist community.

  63. chava
    chava June 3, 2009 at 10:40 am |

    Let’s be clear. Who exactly said they were going to “mistreat” or “torture” an animal in PETA’s name??? I read the comment stream again and didn’t find anyone–unless you assume that eating ANY meat or ANY animal products is torturing animals. No one even said “hurr hurr, I’m going to go eat a factory farmed steak from a mistreated cow.”

    I am so sick of the vegans and vegetarians assuming you can’t be for animal rights and still be an omnivore. Eating meat is not ipso facto torturing an animal. You can make fun of PETA by saying they will “make you eat meat,” without being against animal rights. Now, if we can accept that, all that is going on her is the vegetarians/vegans on this thread attempting to run the table by being offended that *some people choose to eat meat.* And might then make a comment about how they will have an EXTRA piece of meat because they feel offended by the obsessive proselytizing and moralizing of not only PETA but the other hypocritical AR groups which alienate those who still choose to be omnivores.

  64. chava
    chava June 3, 2009 at 10:43 am |

    To amend–there was one comment about eating veal, foie gras/fur coats. That’s a little tacky for even me. But 1/60 comments does not a pattern make.

  65. topher
    topher June 3, 2009 at 10:46 am |

    This kind of stuff from PETA really pisses me off. As someone who is really concerned with animal rights (like most of the people here) I find myself, in discussions with my conservative, meat-eating family, constantly being backed into a corner by some stupid action by PETA. I think that is the problem. PETA hurts the cause of animal rights by scaring or offending many people who could be persuaded to support the cause. PETA continues to support and create an echo chamber that alienates everyone outside of it.

  66. chava
    chava June 3, 2009 at 10:52 am |

    Um, the “to amend” bit there will make more sense when my comment comes out of the moderation queue, apologies.

  67. Thom
    Thom June 3, 2009 at 11:54 am |

    When you consider the perspective of PETA and other animal rights advocates, that an animal has no less of a right to live than a human, they are exactly right about everything they said in this article.

    If you believe that an animal should have the same rights as a human (which they do), the meat industry and the animals that suffer and die is just as horrific as the holocaust and are an accurate analogy to slavery as it existed in the US.

    How is that different from:

    When you consider the perspective of Operation Rescue and other anti-abortion advocates, that a fetus has no less of a right to live than a human, they are exactly right about everything they said in this article.

    If you believe that a fetus should have the same rights as a human (which they do), the clinic/health industry and the fetus that suffer and die is just as horrific as the holocaust and are an accurate analogy to slavery as it existed in the US.

    Their perspective does not make the billboards ok.

  68. William
    William June 3, 2009 at 12:05 pm |

    You’re idea of “it’s a joke, get over it” has been used many, many times to silence feminist voices.

    Perhaps a bit of context will help. PETA is using an event, an event which harms actual women who need a specific procedure and harms all women by making that procedure less available and directly attacking a meaningful right to bodily autonomy, to make a point about it’s particular construction of animal rights. In essence, PETA was trying to change the subject of an attack on women and their rights to vegetarianism. In response to the complete horror people on this blog experienced, mostly feminist voices themselves, a few made a crack about eating more meat. Sure, its counterproductive, but take a look at what they’re responding to.

    And the response? Even though only one comment mentioned anything more than eating meat, animal rights activists decided to portray those responses as threats to torture animals and then used that portrayal to shift the discussion from PETA’s disgusting behavior to animal rights (which is what PETA was doing with the murder of Dr. Tiller). If we’re going to talk about silencing feminist voices perhaps we should focus on the people actually silencing their voices by changing the subject and challenging their legitimate anger.

    Or, you know, we could just talk about theoretical animals. Cause they’re so much more important than actual women.

  69. Natalia Antonova
    Natalia Antonova June 3, 2009 at 12:42 pm | *

    William, maybe this is an empathy thing. I’m a meat-eater who doesn’t appreciate being called a barbarian (it really bothered me when, on an essay about domestic violence in Ukraine, people decided to start saying that they had no sympathy for domestic violence sufferers who also eat meat – of course, it wasn’t anyone here), but I can also understand why someone would consider the mere mention of eating meat in reaction to PETA unfortunate at the least.

    I just haaaaaaaaaate PETA so much that I desire deeply to hit them in this way, in the name of all of my rural relatives who grow their own food, including chickens.

  70. Tracey
    Tracey June 3, 2009 at 1:29 pm |

    @William: support
    I am a vegetarian and think it is counter-proctive but totally understand that it is a joke and that most ppl are not going to change their eating habits to spite PETA. Even if some ppl are serious and want to treat theselves to an extra special meal and that meal taste better b/c it is to spite a sexist,racist,xenophobic org more pwr to them. Knowing how PETA believes vegetarians are not committed enough, I will have milk, yogurt, and cheese in their honor.

  71. 300 lbs Parakeet
    300 lbs Parakeet June 3, 2009 at 2:22 pm |

    PETA are a bunch of idiots and jerks like rake in millions from suckers foolish enough to belive their malarkey then go and kill up to 95% of the animals they have adopted PETA IS FOR IDIOTS

  72. The Dude
    The Dude June 3, 2009 at 2:40 pm |

    Neither do young children, some people with certain disabilities, some elderly people with certain types of age-related dementia, and several other categories of humans we generally consider to be deserving of rights. However they, too, are often deprived them.

    But dude, really? Not the time or place.

    These humans still have the chance and the opportunities to become greater themselves, to contribute to society, to create. Their cognitive abilities also surpass most animals. Most of them can straight up say “stop hurting me”; an animal does not have the cognitive ability to tell me “please, don’t kill me, because I have a life and dying hurts”.

    What is your criteria for something to have rights?

    One doesn’t need to understand the concept of rights in order to have them. One doesn’t need to understand anything, in fact. Pigs and human toddlers have basically the same level of intelligence.

    If you can’t understand them, how can you express and defend them? One doesn’t need to understand anything? And it’s a fact? Can you demonstrate that it is a fact? Oh hey, I don’t understand that one shouldn’t mix bleach and ammonia together, oops, I’m dead. I don’t understand what traffic lights mean, oops, I crashed. I don’t understand that when I get really sick (cancer) I should see a doctor, oops, I died horribly. So forth and so on, ad infinitum.

    Problem; human toddlers grow up into adults, and through the absorption of knowledge, become more intelligent. The pig? Stays at a human toddler level of intelligence for its entire life, even if it is an adult. Also, last time I checked, there have been no animal scientists, mathematicians, physicists, artists, writers, musicians, chemists, et cetera.

    I ask you the same question I asked the other guy; what is your criteria for something to deserve rights?

  73. Jennifer
    Jennifer June 3, 2009 at 3:03 pm |

    I may be the only person commenting that agree and commend PETA for their actions, but I don’t care.

    I am deeply saddened and disgusted about the death of Dr. Tiller, however, why not make a big deal about both issues at the same time?

    PETA is just another group of activists, actively working to better the lives of the group they represent. They aren’t hurting or insulting anyone, only moving forward to try to help people to understand how painful and torturous the death of a factory farm animal is.

  74. William
    William June 3, 2009 at 3:47 pm |

    I am deeply saddened and disgusted about the death of Dr. Tiller, however, why not make a big deal about both issues at the same time?

    Because actions mean things. The explicit message PETA is sending is that the lives of animals are, at a minimum, equal to the lives of women. The implicit message is that the lives of animals are more important than the lives of women because PETA is attempting to co opt the attention around Dr. Tiller’s murder and change the discussion to one about eating meat rather than one about domestic terrorism, murder, and the lives of women. Making a big deal about both issues at the same time isn’t what PETA is doing, what PETA is doing is saying “Hey, this is more important, pay attention.”

    PETA is just another group of activists, actively working to better the lives of the group they represent.

    Through the routine objectification, dehumanization, and insult of all other groups.

    They aren’t hurting or insulting anyone

    I’m pretty fucking insulted by PETA on a regular basis and PETA is hurting people. By attempting to change the terms of the discussion they are attempting to change the discussion. Given that Dr. Tiller was one of three doctors in the country doing what he does a change of subject would demonstrably hurt women.

    only moving forward to try to help people to understand how painful and torturous the death of a factory farm animal is.

    Did you look at the billboards? One ordered people to eat in a certain way, the other drew a direct moral equivalence between abortion and eating meat in such a way as to pose abortion as murder. In fact, by their tacit acceptance of the pro-life argument that abortion is murder and their constant use of holocaust imagery, PETA is lending support to the pro-life movement in an attempt to buttress their own movement.

    All of this before Dr. Tiller’s body is even in the fucking ground.

  75. Ali
    Ali June 3, 2009 at 3:50 pm |

    They aren’t hurting or insulting anyone

    Bwah? What about the black people who had to walk by PETA members dressed up in white hoods? Or the women who had to walk by the set up of a naked pregnant woman in a cage? Or Dr. Tiller’s family who now have to see these signs as they grieve the man?

    Oh wait, they’re not animals so it doesn’t matter if they are hurt or insulted.

  76. preying mantis
    preying mantis June 3, 2009 at 4:00 pm |

    “They aren’t hurting or insulting anyone”

    How many people saying “This is insulting” or “This is extremely painful to me” does it take before it’s considered to be insulting or hurtful? ‘Cuz Holocaust survivors have gone on record as being insulted and injured, at least one survivor of a lynch mob has gone on record as being insulted and injured, and countless women have protested their objectification campaigns as insulting and, in a broader, social sense, injurious to women’s standing.

  77. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub June 3, 2009 at 5:18 pm |

    They aren’t hurting or insulting anyone, only moving forward to try to help people to understand how painful and torturous the death of a factory farm animal is.

    Are you fucking kidding me? Really? Trivializing the murder of one of the few doctors who provide late term abortions for the women who NEED them–women whose lives are in danger–is not hurting or insulting anyone?

    Women who have been told to “choose life” (and perhaps embrace their own deaths) by the forced-birth thugs are now being told to choose vegetarianism. Because a woman grappling with the choice to abort a non-viable fetus or possibly die is certainly okay with her pain being used as PETA’s poltical prop.

    No. A thousand times, no. You are welcome to fuck off.

  78. Your Conscious
    Your Conscious June 3, 2009 at 6:34 pm |

    @William Thank you for your reasonable and very precise reasons for dislike of PETA actions, I agree. One word sums up PETA, prigs. Everything they do is priggishness.

    prig = noun
    a person who displays or demands of others pointlessly precise conformity, fussiness about trivialities, or exaggerated propriety, esp. in a self-righteous or irritating manner.
    Add Disrespectful to that as well.

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