If you’re a meat eater, you’ve probably heard of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (P.E.T.A.) Wait…let’s rephrase. If you’re a human being, you’ve probably heard of P.E.T.A., which is an organization based out of Virginia and headed by Ingrid Newkirk. At 2 million+ members strong, the organization has most definitely left its mark in history. The organization aims to emphasize the importance of animal rights, specifically through protests, literature, and publicity stunts that are nothing less than shocking. The group also highlights and spreads the importance of the vegan and vegetarian lifestyles, promoting its healthfulness.
While the group definitely has good intentions, it’s safe to say that at times it seems some of the marbles are a little loose up there. P.E.T.A is well known for its publicity stunts, some of which are tolerable. However, most are seen as offensive and just downright crazy. Below is a list of stunts that P.E.T.A has done over the years that are sure to make you scratch you head.
10. Veggie Sex Superbowl Commercials
Superbowl commercials aim to be comical yet still be able to advertise some company or product. It is said that around 100 million people tune in to watch. Obviously making note of the huge number of people watching each year, P.E.T.A decided that this was a prime opportunity to spread the word. Hopeful, the organization sent in an ad to NBC, which was rejected and deemed as “depicting a level of sexuality exceeding NBC standards.” The problem is, though P.E.T.A would have grabbed a lot of attention with the sexy women in their ad, the fact that they were all doing some sort of sexual gesture with vegetables definitely makes one wonder. To top it all off, the video’s tagline stated “Studies Show Vegetarians Have Better Sex.”
While sex may sell, sex with veggies most definitely doesn’t. Unless you’re into women getting really “into” carrots, broccoli, etc, this commercial most definitely not for you. Maybe they can tone it down for the next Superbowl.
9. Take Kentucky Fried Cruelty to Your Grave
If you know anything about P.E.T.A, you know their long-standing hatred of Kentucky Fried Chicken. The organization claims that KFC brutally slaughters the chickens that are served. To further show their hatred, the group made a visit to Col. Harland Sanders’s burial site at Cave Hill Cemetery, and found their own way to say goodbye. At the cemetery, P.E.T.A purchased a plot near Col. Harland Sanders’ grave and placed a gravestone there with the name Matthew Prescott on it, a living P.E.T.A die-hard. Though the gravestone was originally approved by the cemetery, as it seemed like a nice farewell to Sanders, a further look shows that it actually spells out “KFC Tortures Birds” in red letters if you piece together the first letter of each line. Of course the cemetery director eventually realized this, planned to take up the stone, and banned P.E.T.A from the cemetery.
From this, it’s safe to say that P.E.T.A followers are willing, and seemingly like to, play dead for the sake of spreading their KFC hatred. Hopefully P.E.T.A learned that bright red letters are too obvious when you’re doing a bad deed. Try just black next time.
8. Cow’s Milk = Autism
We’ve all seen the “Got Milk?” advertisements in magazines, t-shirts, and bumper stickers and since the phrase became so popular, you’ve probably seen playoffs of it with plenty of other nouns replacing milk. But, have you ever seen “Got Autism?” If you live in Newark, NJ, you just might have. Relying on studies done at Rome University, P.E.T.A immediately jumped on the results that there was improvement in those with autism when dairy products weren’t consumed, as the substance casein was eliminated from the diet. With this, P.E.T.A came to the claim that cow’s milk causes autism, though the study said nothing of that. To spread the word, P.E.T.A decided that a billboard was needed, in no place other then Newark, NJ. Why Newark? It’s said that this location has the highest autism rates out of 14 states. Of course, P.E.T.A got this information from just one study conducted.
One phrase sums up this entire publicity stunt: ad Dictum simpliciter. Simply, P.E.T.A jumped to conclusions without looking at what details were actually given. While casein may have some sort of link to behavior in those with autism, it most definitely doesn’t cause it, nor is it only found in cow’s milk. Maybe it’s time to send P.E.T.A back to Psychology and Nutrition 101.
7. Whips, Chains, and Kinky Cows
Who doesn’t love Barnum and Bailey’s Circus? Apparently P.E.T.A doesn’t. Staying with the sex sells theme, the group decided to go to large cities, including Cincinnati and New York, and spread the word of how abusive and traumatizing the circus is to animals. In Cincinnati, two P.E.T.A activists decided to show that whips and chains used in the circus don’t exactly belong there. Instead, they belong in the bedroom, as stated by their sign “Whips and Chains Belong in the Bedroom, Not in the Circus.” One woman dressed up as a dominatrix, in vinyl of course, and stood on a busy public street whipping the other. In New York, a very similar stunt went on, except the vinyl-clad dominatrix wasn’t whipping another woman, but instead a fiberglass cow.
Sticks and stones may break my bones but whips and chains excite…P.E.T.A, or something of that nature. Of course, P.E.T.A learned that their scantily-dressed dominatrix was no match for the circus, which still continues today. Though I’m sure some passersby enjoyed the show.
6. Human Barbecue
Mmm, I love the smell of barbecue, but human barbecue? Not so much. On a busy Tennessee street in Nashville, P.E.T.A set up their own barbecue with nothing else on the menu but…a human. The organization created their own grill-like platform that was surrounded by paper flames. In the center of the grill was a human, more specifically a naked female, who was barbecuing away. Those who passed-by were given the chance to use black, orange, and red spray-paint in order to symbolize cooking flesh, similar to that of chicken, pork, and beef. Of course, P.E.T.A did get the word out, but most who joined in seemed to make nothing of it but a laughing matter.
Naked women on fake grills with fake spray painted flames is funny, maybe arousing for some, but not something that most are going to take to heart. Instead, more people were probably enjoying the nude woman instead of giving two thoughts about the message.
5. Will of all Wills
Wills aren’t meant to be shocking or weird, but when we take a look at Ingrid Newkirk’s will, you may just wonder what is going on in her head. According to her will, published online on the P.E.T.A website, she wants to donate her body to “alleviate animal suffering” and also “draws attention to needless animal suffering and exploitation.” She claims that she wants the “meat” of her body, or at least a portion of it to be barbecued, her skin taken off and made into leather items, such as purses and shoes, her legs cut off and used as umbrella stands, her eyes taken out and delivered to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, her index finger by removed and given to Kenneth Feld, the owner of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, and numerous other odd requests. You can view her entire will here.
P.E.T.A’s owner is nothing short of insane, but also that she is apparently extremely devoted to her thoughts, even after death. As she once said, P.E.T.A is full of “press sluts,” and yes, this will most definitely get them the attention and press they’ve always sought.
4. Meat Eaters Are Jeffrey Dahmers
In 1991, when the rave about serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer was taking newscasters and newspapers by storm, P.E.T.A found their own way to spread the word and incorporate Dahmer into their message. In the ad, P.E.T.A relates Dahmer’s acts to things that are done to 16 million animals each year. In essence, the ad is calling all meat-eaters the next Jeffrey Dahmers, who was convicted of murder and cannibalism, as well as comparing slaughtered animals to human victims of murder. Apparently, P.E.T.A’s idea was to show that humans do the exact things that Jeffrey Dahmer did, and that we should also be afraid and creeped out by ourselves. However, this wasn’t the last time P.E.T.A would compare a serial killer’s victims to human victims. In 2007, the group ran a similar ad in B.C., Canada with a picture of a pig and a battered woman’s face with the saying “Neither of Us Is Meat.” The pictured woman was said to correlate to a victim of Robert Pickton.
P.E.T.A probably learned how to up the shock value in their stunts, but may have also learned that they are subject to higher amounts of censorship and outright rejection. The public was able to see just how far P.E.T.A is willing to cross the line.
3. Holocaust on Your Plate
If you thought P.E.T.A stunts couldn’t get any worse when comparing human life to animal life, this one will surely shock you. Using 66 square feet posters depicting Holocaust victims as well as slaughter house animals, P.E.T.A shared the message that the victimization of millions during the Holocaust is just like the suffering animals go through before being slaughtered. As said by P.E.T.A, both are ripped away from their mothers and families, shipped off to unknown places, stacked on top of each other, and killed in an assembly line. Of course, to get the press and outrage they want, P.E.T.A took this display to nowhere else but Germany. Despite the pure bizarre comparison, a few Jewish writers did side with P.E.T.A, stating that to animals, all humans are Nazis. P.E.T.A also pointed out the fact that 6 millions Jews died in the Holocaust, but 12 million animals are killed every four hours in the U.S.
If you want to get some attention, bring up Jews in Germany. Anyone who brings up the Holocaust usually gets some sort of media attention, which is just what P.E.T.A aims for. However, P.E.T.A also learned that the Federal Constitutional Court in Germany doesn’t care much for their ideas, throwing out their claim that their free speech was violated when the stunt was shut down.
2. American Kennel Club = Klux Kanine Klan
Dog shows are of tradition, and have been for awhile, but P.E.T.A decided that these dog shows are harmful to the pets. To go against the American Kennel Club (AKC), P.E.T.A has begun to stage yearly protests at the Westminster Dog Show. Protests are fine and legal in the U.S., but the crazy part is that those protesting for P.E.T.A were dressed in white sheet-like clothing to evoke the presence of the KKK. Somehow, P.E.T.A has come to the conclusion that the AKC is attempting to build a master race of pure-breed dogs, and that by doing so, it is extremely unhealthy to all dogs. So, to depict this, protests handed out papers with their message clear and dry-cut.
While some AKC breeders are way too picky and judgmental of other dogs for their own good, I don’t think they exactly relate to the KKK. P.E.T.A again took certain details that proved their point, and left out other majorly important ones. When the AKC Westminster Dog Show starts to lynch and burn dogs at the stake, then I’ll gladly go along with the KKK schpiel.
1. Breast milk Ice Cream
Ice cream is an extremely popular dessert. With companies such as Ben & Jerry’s, Baskin-Robbins, and Cold Stone Creamery topping the charts with ice cream sales, it’s no wonder that so many enjoy the milky, chocolately, strawberry (you get the point) goodness. But of course, with all things good, wonderful, and enjoyable, P.E.T.A will surely come along and put a twist to it. After hearing that a Swiss restaurant owner planned to buy breast milk from nursing mothers, the light bulbs went off in many P.E.T.A heads and immediately they went straight for no other company but Ben & Jerry’s. The organization decided to send letters to the owners of the company, pleading with them to considering using breast milk as an alternative to cow’s milk in their ice cream. Of course, the owners declined, stating that breast milk is most suitable for children, not everyone.
Breast milk goes out of style once you’re no longer a kid. Could you imagine eating Apple Pie à la breast milk mode? I couldn’t. Either way, more milk for the newborns.
Some images from PETA website