PETA’s Latest Stunt May Be Their Most Offensive Yet

AP PHOTO/RICK RYCROFT

AP PHOTO/RICK RYCROFT

If you ever want to unite people from all walks of life, all backgrounds, all ideologies and political affiliations, show them the latest crappy promotion that PETA is doing. Watch libertarians and Marxists; anti-racist activists; feminists; macho cowboys; conservatives; liberals and progressives; meat-eaters; vegetarians; and vegans of all ethnic, religious and socio-economic stripe and all ages trash PETA because they’re horribly exploitative. This time, they decided to cash in on the humanitarian crisis of the Detroit Water shut-offs to recruit new vegans.

While the city has put a temporary moratorium on shutting off water for residents under intense media and international scrutiny, the problem is not over for hundreds of thousands of families who are still facing rising costs. Their bills have not been forgiven, they’re just given some time to find the money. Detroit and Michigan (and make no mistake, this is Michigan’s baby) are not really helping, they’re more-or-less delaying the inevitable for the vast majority of families. This will continue to happen if they don’t forgive these bills and drastically reduce others. People will find themselves without water soon.

But don’t you worry! Mighty PETA is here to protect you, Detroit. Ten lucky families will be selected to have their entire back bills forgiven… IF they choose to try a vegan diet for one month. But don’t worry, families of Detroit. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals knows it’s hard for people, let alone families, let alone families struggling to pay bills, surrounded in communities where many if not most of the residents are also in similar boats of un- or underemployment, to go vegan. Vegan is, after all, a lifestyle. A will which, if one is not born into a culture or family of pragmatic veganism (say, some Hindu communities), is a pretty demanding and difficult change to enter into.

But don’t worry, Detroitians! PETA knows that starting the vegan life ain’t a walk in the park and they’ll even help out.

We’ll also help them get started by giving each family a basket of healthy vegan foods and recipes.

Now, ain’t they sumpin’ special? A whoooole basket. Starter kits are cool and all, except if – like PETA acknowledged in their press release – you don’t have a lot of income and you live in a food desert. It’s not like one can just go to the corner store and buy a month’s worth of seitan.

One of the primary problems with this gimmick (let’s call it what it is) is that PETA could be spreading the animal rights message in a way that isn’t compulsory. They could give a well-needed boost to their image by sponsoring ten families and get their publicity through that. They could have said, “We believe in all animals and people are people too. Access to water is a people’s rights issue.” [That’s for free, PETA! You want more? Email me! I’ll do your PR.] They could still spread their message and not be clueless assholes while doing it.

Think of it this way, if a religious charity said homeless people had to convert in order to receive their services, we’d be mad as hell at them, right? “Try Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, stop smoking, drinking and listening to that foul devil music and we will allow you into our soup kitchen!” No, even some of the worst offenders wouldn’t do that because they’ve found it’s better to persuade through showing than to outright force. As if poor black people aren’t already compelled to do all sorts of acts and jump through hoops for upper-middle class people’s amusement.

If it were just this one time, just this one flub of a classist, racist PR mistake, we could probably look aside. But PETA has a history of being less-than-ethical to ostracized, marginalized people. Some of its most famous campaigns have been about objectifying the female body – not just for the no-fur campaigns centered on lean, white, young models, but also ads and shows where female bodies were displayed as pieces of butchered meat. You know, because apparently to PETA, domestic violence and violence against women in general aren’t things to worry about.

So I don’t think they’re exactly pro-family. And let’s not forget their racist actions. They’ve compared factory farming to the Holocaust and the systemic slaughter of Jewish people. They had people dressed as KKK members passing out leaflets comparing animal hierarchy to the racist domestic terrorists.

It seems they always target woman and minorities for their racist and misogynistic exploitation. So forgive people if we don’t trust their motives. We’re supposed to believe they’re going into Detroit to help black families – or anyone for that matter? Please. PETA needs to be ethical to people.

Meanwhile, if you want to actually help struggling families in Detroit, here’s a link to directly assist paying water bills for families in need. Please share.


jasdye

When he’s not riding both his city’s public transit system and evil mayor, Jasdye teaches at a community college and writes about the intersection of equality and faith - with an occasional focus on Chicago - at the Left Cheek blog and on the Left Cheek: the Blog Facebook page. Check out more from Jasdye in his archives as well!

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  • Bine646

    Why do you waste time and energy writing these pointless articles? Take that waste and travel to Detroit to help instead of sitting behind your computer

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    • Rebecca Mashaw

      Uh, to let other people know what’s happening? That’s the usual point of writing articles. And the fact that someone writes an article doesn’t preclude their taking direct action to help, as well. There’s nothing pointless about that.

      • Bine646

        This article is a pure opinion piece which is asinine- comparing converting to a religion w trying a diet for a month. Guy is a clown

    • Did you not read the last paragraph?

      • Bine646

        Thats what you set up personally?

  • Grannie Cool

    I’m sorry, but I am not offended or outraged at anything except this hateful article. PETA has done a WORLD of good for animal rights & enlightening people about the environment & food. I like them a lot more than I like this nasty post !

    • Would you deny that they also do misogynistic and racist stunts? That’s kind of the point, to me. That while the overall cause is good, they treat innocent human beings like garbage in the process.

      • AndrewAndrewAndrew

        This is not one of their better moments, but you seem to have a stick up your butt about the group. Other stunts they pull are not misogynistic or racist. They simply try to get people already enlightened about misogyny and racism to understand that what we do to animals is an extension of the same underlying attitudes.

      • I take my cues on these things from other POC and feminists – and I’ve not met any who were all “Oh, that was cool! NOW I understand what they were trying to say and it wasn’t exploitative at all to compare me to the KKK or domestic violence to eating ham!”

      • Roccano

        How about one of their more recent stunts, with the Pokemon game that they made aimed towards kids? That thing was an abomination and skewed so much about the game just to suit their needs at the time. Then they made a second one which was worse than the first.

        And how about the many billboards they have up where it shows a pig and a dog saying “Why would you eat one and not the other?” with a child holding a leash?

        Oh, and what about their “No kill” shelters? And the pictures of dumpsters filled with the bodies of euthanized animals? Ones that ARENT photoshopped?

        Im sorry, but at this point ive just put peta down as an animal terrorist group. What with how they kill animals and such, they need to be taken down for what they do, The negative effects they have, outshine any of the good ones they have.

        Hell, they tried to get the Tanuki suit changed in Mario!

    • Fullerene

      Peta shelter’s are a sham. They make very little effort is placing animals. They seem much happier to euthanize them, or neglect them until they die. But since PETA is concerned with an ideology and not actual living, breathing animals, it makes sense to them. They think animals should not be pets. They really don’t give a [email protected] about the animals, though. And they don’t care any more about people.

      As radical ideologues, they’ve alienated a lot of people. They’ve done far more harm than good. I only hope the plague that PETA is disappears, for the sake of the animals at least.

      • Gregory Brown

        You’re right. They are a bunch of pretentious douchenozzles who never actually live up to within hailing distance of their alleged ideals, and kill lots and lots of animals.

  • Guile Williams

    Hell I’d go vegetarian for a month for a chance to have my water bill paid. Meat IS fairly expensive these days so it is actually a good idea because it saves you money even if you don’t get selected.

  • AndrewAndrewAndrew

    This is not one of their better moments, but the author seems to have a stick up his butt about the group. The group is is not misogynistic or racist. They simply try to get people already enlightened about misogyny and racism to understand that what we do to animals is an extension of the same underlying attitudes.

    • Kat

      I saw a stray dog on the side of the road. Poor thing was incredibly thirsty. I plan on giving him water, just as soon as he performs “sit”, “roll over” and “stay” to my satisfaction.

    • Spoken like a true, clueless upper class white male, AndrewAndrewAndrew.

  • Charles Vincent

    WTH did someone replace that cantankerous Jasdye with an alien clone or is the world coming to an end I actually agree with most of this article…

  • Gregory Brown

    Lie your butts off. Accept the stupid basket and if there’s anything actually edible in there, eat that, chuck the rest. Then go to the grocery store and get your usual food.

  • Jillian Brown

    One thing that should have been pointed out is that most urban poor live in a “food desert”. Nothing but fast food restaurants and convenience stores, if anything at all. And a lot of vegan food is pretty expensive, not to mention that the working poor often don’t have the time or energy to cook. And I’m speaking as someone who only makes about $14k a year in suburban Los Angeles. PETA doesn’t understand crap about poor people. It only wants to promote its extreme agenda.

  • Matthew Reece

    PETA is known to have sent money to domestic terrorist groups like ELF. According to the FBI, ELF–the Environmental Liberation Front–is one of America’s largest domestic terrorist groups. It has a long history of violence including arson, firebombing, explosives, and attempted murder.