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STAFF EDITORIAL: PETA’s single issue strategies are a far cry from activism

Back in our Dec. 7, 2009 issue, The Campanil published an editorial titled “Pornography for the Ethical Treatment of Animals?” condemning the actions of animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment For Animals (PETA) as blindly single-issue and offensive.  Recently, PETA announced they will, indeed, soon be launching a porn site.

That’s right:  if you thought the “I’d Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur” campaign was racy, that was vanilla compared PETA’s newest scheme.  While watching the XXX-rated content, viewers will be intermittently exposed to other graphic images, namely videos depicting different brutality and suffering experienced by animals in various locations, (i.e., laboratories, factory farms).  What better way to think about the politics of an animal product-dependent society, right?

Certainly PETA is aware of the “controversial” nature of their campaigns, evidenced by the Huffington Post’s quote from spokeswoman Lindsay Rajt: “We live in a 24 hour news cycle world, and we learn the racy things we do are sometimes the most effective way that we can reach particular individuals.”

Uh, which particular individuals are those, exactly?  Maybe these individuals will have an epiphany that will go something like this: “Hm, sexy chicks getting boned spliced with footage of chickens getting their beaks sawed off?  That’s kind of bizarre — and disgusting.  Wow, maybe I should really start reading up on vegetarianism and
animal rights!”

We can only hope that this new campaign — which, honestly makes sense as the climax (ha) to years of porny ads — will result in some group of vegans who actually practice anti-oppression lifestyles marching over to PETA’s HQ and beating everyone senseless with a copy of The Sexual Politics of Meat.

What makes us even angrier is that PETA receives more resources than any other animal rights group — their donations totalled over $32 million for its 2009 fiscal year.  It makes sense — ludicrous, alienating campaign after campaign probably gets really expensive, plus there’s PETA international President Ingrid Newkirk’s salary to pay.

PETA has long embarrassed those of us who identify as vegetarians or animal lovers (and especially The Campanil’s lone vegan), declaring idiotic ploys as “activism.”

We are tired of being associated with the sleazy vegangelicals over at PETA and we’re pretty tired of PETA itself, too.