PETA, People Embarrassing True Activists

By Steven Schnarr

In its many ridiculous attempts to encourage “humane” treatment of animals, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals just makes all vegetarians and vegans look like fools. But PETA’s activism comes off as a sick joke when compared to the real issue behind vegetarianism.

After nine years of a truce with McDonald’s, PETA is back at it again with their outrageous antics and protests, according to a Feb. 16 Chicago Tribune article.

Instead of pursuing real change, PETA is using the same old tactics of nude women, old celebrities and fake blood. During their Feb. 16 protest at the North Clark Street McDonald’s, 57-year-old Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders sat on the shoulders of PETA’s senior vice president sporting a sign reading, “McCruelty-I’m hatin’ it,” according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

The reasoning behind the new campaign is to force McDonald’s to buy chicken meat from industries that gas chickens instead of zapping them with electricity before slaughtering them. But this supposedly more humane way of slaughtering is an irrelevant issue. Even Marie Wheatley, president of the American Humane Association, told the Chicago Tribune, “Both technologies are acceptable in minimizing pain and suffering.”

By completely missing the point of vegetarianism, PETA makes the whole movement look like a joke. The real issue behind vegetarianism isn’t about whether they use gas or electricity to slaughter chickens; even if they ensured chickens felt zero pain during death, they still miss the point. The real issue revolves around developing a global consciousness that supports the idea that animals are not commodities.

Animals, like humans, have the right to live harmoniously in the Earth’s ecosystem. Not only are there 23 million chickens slaughtered each day, according to Viva USA, but there are currently hundreds of millions confined to horrific living conditions in overcrowded cages and pens for something as trivial as a preference of taste.

As long as the majority of people see no value in the lives of animals other than humans, there is no action that will seriously impact the lives of animals raised for food.

The true way to move closer to a humane society is not by forcing the hand of mindless corporations like McDonald’s, but by instead creating a grassroots philosophical shift of consciousness. Changes must be made by individuals sharing their views with other individuals and encouraging critical discussions about the way we live as humans.

If people can’t be convinced there is any value in animal life, they can’t be convinced to treat them any different.  When the majority of people can see there is value in human and animal life, and they can remove themselves from the irrational human-centric worldview, only then will real change occur.

Rather than discouraging animal consumerism with nonsensical tactics, animal rights groups like PETA should focus on encouraging vegetarianism with activist movements much like Food Not Bombs, a movement in which groups feed hungry people with vegetarian cuisine.

Hopefully, PETA will someday discontinue its ridiculous campaigns-dousing corporate executives in fake blood and creating superficial SuperBowl ads of women in lingerie that will never run-but until they stop, count me out.  I take offense to these petty tactics done in the name of animal rights. I am a vegetarian for moral causes, but by no means will I ever consider myself a member of PETA.