Thursday, January 04, 2007


Don't Pity PETA, boys, run like hell in the other direction!

I've been reflecting on the earlier post about the research being done on "gay sheep" ("and the sheepherders who run with them"??). People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals—PETA—publicized some research being done here in Oregon on the brains of rams that liked other rams better than ewes. PETA saw the research as an attempt to eliminate gay sheep. Somehow they got Martina Navratalova to speak out on the rights of sheep to be gay. Honest. It turned out to be a bit different than PETA made it out to be. That's not surprising: PETA really digs publicity and is one of the most publicity-horny groups out there.

Anyhow, I've been thinking about PETA and some of it's alignments over the last few years...

A few unkind words about People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals—
PETA, of course, got a lot of quick fame for releasing lab animals (where many of them promptly self-destructed), conducting flamboyant campaigns against fur (and leather and basically any animal product including food), and going for the sky-rocket effect: flash, bam! They were sort of environmental martyrs-in-waiting.

Like Earth Liberation Front and Animal Liberation Front and Sea Shepherd, they confused publicity with acceptance and progress. I know it worked to an extent—those groups were able to recruit some 2nd-String celebrities and got some financial backing. But the country is diverse, and what plays well in Pasadena doesn’t necessarily play well in Spokane or Pendleton.

I first started paying attention to these groups back when the Makah Indians decided they would resume their traditional activity of ceremonial whale hunting. The pro-animal groups were utterly outraged: their idealized Indians didn’t behave in a way they thought they should. I remember one ALF/PETA/Sea Shepherd-type actually saying the Indians should eat tofu. When the Makah were unconvinced by this argument, the attacks on Indians increased, both philosophic and physical. Lies were manufactured and distributed to the media. Finally, the “pro-animal” front aligned themselves with white racists over the whaling issue. It was shocking. Indian schools in Washington state were threatened; signs appeared “Save a whale: harpoon an Indian!”

That’s when the PETA-symps moved into the realm of fantasy and delusion. There was so much arrogance and pomposity in the west coast versions of those groups that it was inevitable they’d fall. And they did, in a serious of arrents in the last year or so; they had no internal security and they bragged. Crash. Deals were made and sentences handed out; several I remember are now behind the stone walls and iron gates.

No, I don’t have a flood of good thoughts about PETA or any of those groups.

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