Veganuary: The Problem with P.E.T.A.

Where do I begin?

PETA is People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, probably the most well-known animal activist groups. Founded in the 1980s, its platform is: “Animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, use for entertainment, or abuse in any other way.” A pretty noble cause, if you ask me. A lot of vegans either actively or passively support the organization and often cite them as a good resource.

However, it doesn’t take a thorough Google search to find its atrocities and heavy criticisms.

Perhaps the best-known of these hypocritical acts is euthanizing animals brought into its shelters, exceeding even the kill rate of local shelters. Although the PETA spokesperson defended these as mercy killings, the organization kills 84 percent of supposedly “unadoptable” animals within 24 hours of their arrival. So much for second chances. Not only killing the animals, two employees were charged with 21 counts of animal cruelty after dumping the corpses of killed dogs in a dumpster. God knows how many other crimes of cruelty and “mercy killings” are still under wraps. With a whole website dedicated to reporting PETA’s hypocritical killings, it’s hard to refute the evidence and defend the organization’s actions.

PETA has also gotten a lot of backlash for its distasteful and sometimes offensive advertisements. My personal least favorites from this article include “To animals, all people are Nazis,comparing the tragic murder of Tim McLean to animal slaughter, “Save the whales,” which body shames people into going vegetarian and “Got autism?” which faultily links autism to dairy consumption. In addition to comparing consuming animals to the Holocaust and the African salve trade (they ran photos comparing African American slaves to animals being transported for slaughter), PETA also undermines the experience of human rape victims by comparing it to factory farming. So messed up.

A bit of a side note: my basic argument for not comparing animal agriculture to experiences of oppressed is not on because slavery, genocide and rape effect the individual for the rest of their life and the group of oppressed people for future generations. While I do believe animals are capable of similar suffering similarly to humans, I do not believe they are capable of cultural inheritance where these experiences can be passed between generations. I will expand on this argument in a separate point at some point in the future, but that is my stance.

PETA uses unsound studies, shock factor and blatant lies to guilt people into taking their side. Organizations who resort to such methods clearly have nothing more to offer. There is plenty of truth out there and fact should reason enough to reject animal abuse. If those reasons aren’t enough, odds are the person won’t turn, no matter how you twist the story.

Photo by Gustavo Zambelli.

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