I should love PETA. As a vegetarian, the biggest profile animal rights group in the world should instil great confidence and excitement in me, as well as a desire to associate with them and throw their name around. Unfortunately, for years they have been shooting themselves in the foot with some dubious standpoints that have to be carefully considered in terms of both animal and human rights.
The biggest problem with PETA is the constant euthanasia that has been going on for around 14 years. Thanks to public record requests in the US, we know that since 2002 they have consistently killed at least 85% of the pets that enter through their doors. PETA pretend that these animals are all “broken”, but it is just unbelievable that such a consistently high percentage of animals that need protection are ultimately aggressive or painfully suffering; sometimes they only need a good vet and a new home, or even just the latter. To constantly berate circuses, meat and dairy farmers, fishermen and zoos, among others, PETA needs to have the moral high ground, but alas, it seems they do not. PETA’s president (and co-founder) Ingrid Newkirk has actually indicated that they could immediately run a no-kill shelter but that would mean less press stunts and celebrity photo shoots. An ethical balance needs to be made.
Secondly, Newkirk once declared that even if animal research resulted in an actual cure for AIDS, the organisation would be wholly against it. Now, I do not condone animal testing whatsoever, but if someone suddenly turned out a bona fide cure for AIDS and it then came out that they had tested on animals, I would be very happy for the greater good. A big argument for vegetarianism is that without growing so many crops for animals to eat before being killed for meat, there would be more room to grow crops for the world’s hungry; it would help these same poor people to cure them of AIDS, so perhaps PETA only care about them- and other helplessly ill people- when it suits them. (A similar angle to the euthanised animals, actually).
Equally, feminists often take issue with PETA using rather scantily clad women in their adverts, particularly those combating the wearing of fur. Besides the stupidity of constantly choosing controversial campaigns that always seem to anger someone, surely it is usually women who need to be stopped wearing fur, so why target them with these sorts of adverts? Take the audience seriously and they might take you seriously, PETA. All feminists are really demanding is respect; it’s not hard to give it to them, and they might want to help you out in return. I won’t even go into the fact that they have given thousands of dollars to arsonists and other criminal groups, because I don’t know why they’ve done it and it is just one of their nonsensical gestures that confuse the population where they need to be educated and helped.
In theory, PETA is an essential and good idea; without some of PETA’s influence and literature, I don’t know if I would have become a vegetarian at the age of 12 (peta2 was perfectly informative and a good introduction to the cause). I only wish that they didn’t send out such confusing mixed messages and perhaps could redirect some of the “terrorist” money towards their animal shelters in order to help the homeless animals get better and re-housed before it’s “too late”, because in an ideal world there shouldn’t be a deadline on the animals’ lives.