PETA: Please Excuse the Atrocities

May 9th, 2007

In 1987, Laird Wilcox of rather nonexistent fame outlined 21 traits of an extremist organization, using the Republican and Democratic parties as examples. Among these traits were character assassination, generalizations, double standards, tolerance of "bad" in the name of "good", a moral superiority complex, bipolarity, and doomsday thinking, among many others.

I personally prefer to couple these traits with Aristotle's own ideas, that any virtue in excess or deficiency is a vice (for instance, courage is a middle ground between cowardice and foolhardiness.)

So, why am I babbling about philosophy in a journal entry about PETA? These above statements come straight out of Philosophy 101, and PETA stands for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. They even italicize the 'e' in their logo. Therefore, one can assume that PETA is a bastion of moral philosophy.

PETA opposes the use of animals with anything in the human world, including research, keeping pets, circuses, and especially food and fur. As an avid eater of meat, and a SPCA volunteer, you can say I have a few "beefs" with PETA.

Beef #1: The "Holocaust on your Plate": In a nutshell, PETA released a campaign claiming that farming livestock is the moral equivalent of Nazi concentration camps. To prove their point, they juxtaposed grayscale images of factory farms with photos from Auschwitz.

Thank you, assholes. As a Jew, let me be the first to say I appreciate being placed on the same level as a pig.

While we're on the same page, allow me to juxtapose images of Animal Liberation Front (ALF) vandalism with Anti-Semitic imagery:

Beef #2: Speaking of the ALF, these are guys who break into research centers, set free the lab animals, graffiti, and sometimes arson the place.

The banner at the bottom of the image above belongs to the ELF, or Earth Liberation Front, opponents of anything urban. The FBI lists them as domestic terrorists. They love to burn things.

Well, gee Fenris, it's obvious these guys are crazy, but what's that got to do with PETA? Isn't this journal about PETA, after all? Naturally, you'd think such a prestigious organization as PETA would step away from these extremists. Nope! They stand right beside them, in fact!

PETA has donated over $45,000 to the legal defense of Rodney Coronado of the ALF, and another $25,000 to Rodney's father in 1995. Another $27,000 went to Roger Troen, guilty of burglary and firebombing the University of Oregon in 1986. $7,500 went to Fran Stephanie Trutt, arrested for the attempted murder of a medlab president. Yet another $5,000 was granted to Josh Harper in 2000, who smokebombed, shot off flares, and sprayed chemical fire extinguishers at Inuit whalers. Finally, PETA donated $1,500 to the ELF. According to the Centers for Consumer Freedom, over $150,000 has gone to the defense of convicted arsonists, who in turn have caused over $90 million in damage.

After over 3 years in federal prison for one proven arson and six admitted arsons, Rodney Coronado now speaks on college campuses. One video of him showed students how to make a proper Molotov Cocktail.

Then there's Gary Yourofsky. This guy's the founder of ADAPTT (Animals Deserve Absolute Protection Today and Tomorrow) and PETA's official "humane education lecturer." I guess its only coincidence that he's an ex-ALF with 13 arrests to his name, as well as six months in a Canadian supermax prison.

I guess I don't hold the arrests against him. He claims he was, after all, guilty of "random acts of kindness and compassion" kinda like "Ghandi, MLK, Nelson Mandela, and Jesus."

Holy shit, the Bible's wrong! Jesus didn't go fishing with his disciples! He arsoned trout farms and released the liberated fish in the woods! They were so grateful they flopped around and did tricks for him, like floating upside-down!

Here's a favorite quote of mine:

"I think it would be great if all of the fast-food outlets, slaughterhouses, these laboratories and the banks who fund them exploded tomorrow. -Bruce Friedrich, PETA Campaign Director

And another:

"I will be the last person in the world to condemn the ALF." -Ingrid Newkirk, PETA Co-Founder and President

One more:

"Arson, property destruction, burglary, and theft are 'acceptable crimes' when used for the animal cause." -Alex Pacheco, PETA Co-Founder

Arson is actually quite a retarded concept. When you burn a multi-million dollar research facility, you also feel the burn. Let me explain: it takes YOUR taxes to rebuild the facilities. Then the government grant to reestablish lost research and continue what was going on beforehand comes out of YOUR pocket. Finally, preventative measures such as hired security make it difficult for you to repeat the act, and again, are compensated with YOUR taxes, and give the said researchers ample opportunity to kick their work up a notch.

But Fenris! The arsonists didn't KILL anyone! Thankfully, no lives (human, at least) have been lost at the hands of the ALF or the ELF. Yet. I say that because I have my doubts a murder by an eco-terrorist is far off. We've already got physical assaults (see above,) and these interesting quotes:

I think [food producers] should appreciate that were only targeting their property. Because frankly I think its time to start targeting them. - Rodney Coronado, ALF member and PETA spokesperson
"If I had more guts, Id light a match." -Ingrid Newkirk
"It's hard to say where this is going, but we're not giving in Right now, I think it's inevitable that somebody's going to get hurt." - Bryan Pease, PETA spokesperson, guilty of assault with a stun gun

They're not above celebrating murderers, either. PETA outreach director Dan Matthews named serial killer Andrew Cunanan "Man of the Year" for the murder of costume designer Gianna Versace in 1997, and Campaign Director Bruce Friedrich congratulated Timothy McVeigh for his decision of a meat-free last meal. Someone should tell him that McVeigh's last meal of ice cream (yes, ice cream, and ONLY ice cream) goes against all vegan principles.

But these animals that were set free...they're alright, right? Whoops! They have never learned to survive in the wild! Hello, coyote food.

Beef #3: Pets PETA opposes pet ownership; likening the concept to slavery (click.) Kinda a shame that the majority of their donations come from pet owners. On top of that, I spoke to a supporter and visitor to the headquarters. Apparently, the majority of the employees have at least one pet...but they don't tell anyone that.

In fact, they tell you the opposite: PETA's infamous comic pamplet, Your Mommy Kills Animals, has the following quote in it on the second page:

Do you have a puppy you take for walks or play ball with? Or a kitty who likes to chase string? Everyone knows that its fun to love and play with our animal friends. But how would you feel if someone took away your kitty or puppy, stomped on their head, and ripped their skin off their bodies? It would make you feel sad, wouldn't it? Why would anybody be so mean?

One small problem: PETA hates pets! What the hell do you have to hide that you can show children pictures of gutted rabbits and skinned foxes but can't reveal to them the entirety of your frigging ideology?

Beef #4: PETA opposes no-kill animal shelters. Even writing this several months after finding this out, I'm still surprised. Theoretically, no-kill shelters cannot sustain large amounts of animals. On this page, PETA alludes to a man who tried to get his dog into a Pennsylvania no-kill shelter, but was told to wait two weeks...so he ran over his dog.

Why do I smell rotten meat? It sounds more like a story of a man being an asshole than an animal shelter being corrupt. Also, this story is used to excuse an even more disturbing fact about PETA's own shelters: that in the past eight years, PETA has euthanized over 15,000 of the animals it sheltered, or about 85% of all its victims.

That's right...PETA, an organization that claims to be an ethical example for animal owners everywhere, kills the vast majority of its potential adoptees.

Ingrid Newkirk, the co-founder and president of PETA, has admitted to having euthanized about a thousand cats and dogs herself.

But Fenris! Why would PETA do something like that? There's GOTTA be a reason! Actually, PETA has given an official response: that they don't have the facilities to house the heavy amount of pets they receive, and that most of the pets they receive are unadoptable, and therefore must be given a humane way out.

Let's do the math: according to ActivistCash.com, PETA received almost $29 million in donations at the end of the 2004 tax year. $25 million was spent, primarily on campaigning. At the end of the year, they were ahead $11 million. Damn, I don't think any nonprofit organization would mind a kick to the pocketbooks like that!

The second claim holds even less water, when tacked up against national averages. I emailed the ASPCA, and they said that nationally, they euthanize about 60% of their pets. Not a very good number, but still a far cry from PETA's averages. The Norfolk SPCA, less than four miles from PETA headquarters, is able to get 73% of all their animals adopted. You can't tell me that 90% of Norfolk's pets were unadoptable, or that nine out of ten sheltered pets in the entire nation (about 11 million out of 12 million, according to the HSUS) have to be put down.

My shelter is a no-kill shelter, Since it opened in 1967, our total euthanasia rate amounted to less than 1%. Does that mean we're crowded and unable to care for all our guests? Hell no! We'll gladly keep cats and dogs there for years before adoption. We have gone against veterinary advice multiple times and chose not to euthanize terminally ill animals that later would be adopted.

A good example would be Dotty, about six years old, who came in with distemper a year before this article was written. Normally, almost certainly in adult dogs, distemper is lethal. If it doesn't kill, it leaves dogs with severe brain damage. The veterinarian contracted by my SPCA recommended that Dotty be put down.

Dotty recovered, and got adopted eleven months later.

Without the multimillion dollar budget, mind you, and with absolutely no government funding.

Okay, we're "limited admission," but what does that mean? PETA interprets that as "leave it to someone else to kill your animal." It means that we guarantee the survival of our guests, unlike PETA. What I observe with having a no-kill shelter in your area is that it promotes public responsibility. If you have to keep your pet for a few weeks until there's room to admit, or a few months, you're less likely to just drop off puppies when they aren't cute anymore. If you can't care for your pet, don't purchase one in the first place.

Did we euthanize some animals who could have been adopted? Maybe. - Daphna Nachminovitch, Domestic Animal Issues & Abuse Department director, PETA

Chipped Beef: The following are minor screw-ups that PETA made for themselves: not really enough to make a full-blown article, but still worth pointing out.

PETA hates Steve Irwin. According to Dan Matthews, "it comes as no shock at all that Steve Irwin should die provoking a dangerous animal."

In 2005, PETA sent a letter to KFC, allegedly written and signed by the Beastie Boys. Band member Adam Yauch denied making that letter, claiming that their signatures were scanned from an unrelated petition and pasted into the letter.

Similar tactics were used in misrepresenting letters by the Dalai Lama and NAACP president Kweisi Mfume.

PETA sued for trademark infringement when the parody website People Eating Tasty Animals registered the domain name peta.org, calling the owners of the site the "lowest of the low." While still in legal proceedings, PETA registered the domain names ringlingbrothers.com and voguemagazine.com. They later surrendered the domain names under the threat of legal action for *gasp* trademark infringement.

"Even if animal tests produced a cure for AIDS, wed be against it." - Ingrid Newkirk.

PETA unsuccessfully tried to change the names of several towns whey didn't like: Hamburg, NY to Veggieburg; Fishkill, NY; and Rodeo, CA. Little did they know that "-kill" or "-skill" is actually a commonplace suffix in New York town names, Dutch for "creek." What did they promise in return for the name change? Veggie burgers.

That "Holocaust on Your Plate" I mentioned earlier? PETA apologized for that, but there's a new campaign juxtaposing animals with black slaves. Right on the front page: an image of a black man next to a monkey. Thanks again, assholes.

PETA is opposed to organizations such as Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, Quail Unlimited, the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Organization, Safari Club International, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, and the National Wild Turkey Foundation. Not surprising; they're founded and run by game hunters. However, these organizations collectively spent $380 million on wildlife habitat restoration. Such habitats are beneficial to game and non-game animals alike. PETA has yet to spend a cent on restoring a habitat. One of PETA's slogans is "Be an angel to animals." Who's the angel again?

Remember those 21 traits of extremism I mentioned earlier? From the top...

1: Character Assassination. A primo example would be their annual "Worst Dressed List" on furisdead.com. This year, they even insulted various actresses for being anorexic.
2: Name-calling and labeling. "Murderer" or "Nazi" is the most obvious, but "Sell-Out" is becoming common, especially in reference to Cindy Crawford.
3: Irresponsible sweeping generalizations. I don't know where to start...if it's a farm, it's definitely gonna be some overbearing "Meatrix" corporation with dim fluorescent lights and chickens dying in their own feces. And yes, your mommy does indeed kill animals.
4: Inadequate proof for assertions. Okay, they try, I'll give them that. Of course, there's the whole claim that animal research is unscientific, because animals and humans react too differently to the same medicines. Really? I could've sworn that insulin, streptomycin, penicillin, organ transplantation, hormonal supplements, chemo, prosthetic implants such as pacemakers, and vaccinations for ye olde medieval pandemics, all of which used animal research, seem to work fine on us humans.
5: Advocacy of double standards. It's simply unacceptable that insulin was developed using research on dogs, but MaryBeth Sweetland, PETA vice president, has no regrets injecting herself daily for her Type-II diabetes. She needs her life, after all, and we don't need ours. (Did I mention that vegan diets prevent diabetes?)
6: Viewing of opponents as evil. Care for a little Holocaust on your Plate? Next, please.
7: Manichean (bipolar) world view. Middle grounds that I've seen with the APSCA and similar groups flat-out do not exist within PETA. Good, bad, that's it.
8: Advocacy of censorship and/or oppression. I'll give them that, they don't censor. However, like Bruce Friedrich said, they wouldn't mind if every KFC and college med school in America blew up tomorrow. Does that count?
9: Tendency to identify oneself in terms of who their enemies are. PETA would not exist if there wasn't Neiman Marcus and Iams for them to hate.
10: Intimidation. "Our nonviolent tactics are not as effective. We ask nicely for years and get nothing. Someone makes a threat, and it works." -Ingrid Newkirk, 4-8-2002
11: Slogans, buzzwords, and thought-stopping cliches. Meet your meat, your mommy kills animals, how many animals have you killed today, I'd rather go naked than wear fur, eating meat mocks God...
12: Assumption of moral superiority over others. This one's a dead giveaway: People for the ETHICAL Treatment of Animals. Ethics implies morals. They assume a moral compass.
13: Doomsday thinking. Shit! Cows are going extinct!
14: Permissiveness towards bad things in the name of good. Again with the funding towards the ALF...
15: Emphasis on emotional response. THE BIG ONE! What type of a campaign would it be without photos of cute animals in cages? Good thing plants don't normally look cute, or they'd make us eat Centrum Silver.
16: Hypersensitivity and vigilance. Actually, they don't perceive too much unrealistic hostility towards them. They've got too many Hollywood celebs on their side.
17: Divine rationale. JesusVeg.com, IslamVeg.com. Any questions?
18: Problems tolerating ambiguity. Sounds kinda like the Manichean world view from a few lines up. I did a Google search, and "maybe" doesn't show up often on their sites.
19: Groupthink. If you step out of line, you'll be ostracized. Just look at Cindy Crawford.
20: Tendency to personalize hostility. Often, when misfortune befalls one of their enemies, they "deserved it." For example, when Steve Irwin died, PETA released a statement claiming that "it comes as no shock at all that Steve Irwin should die provoking a dangerous animal." -Dan Matthews, 9-19-06.
21: The system's defective if they don't win. There isn't a lot I can really say about this one.

18 out of 21 traits. I'll leave you to decide.

I found an interesting petition by the Centers for Consumer Freedom: to remove PETA's tax-exempt status. If they're successful, it'll cost PETA about $3.5 million a year. That leaves them a surplus of $7.5 million; still enough to make a decent animal shelter...yanno, 'cause they don't have the facilities.

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