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Vegans Against PETA
This is a blog for animal rights activists who are concerned about the misogynist, racist, homophobic and transphobic tactics used by PETA.   
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Don't befriend sociopaths
Holy fucking hell, it's like I ate a poison apple and fell asleep for....well, however long you fall asleep when you eat a poison apple in those fairy tales. I guess in my case, two months. And luckily, I didn't even have to have some schmalzy prince come and wake me up with a kiss. Victory!

Anyhow, I apologize for my crappy posting record lately -- shit's been crazy, plus I had a minor crisis last summer when it turned out I'd made friends with a sociopath. Better yet, she was somewhat active in the animal rights movement, so it lessened my enthusiasm for this blog considerably, and in the meantime I got involved in other activities, which means I now have even LESS time than I did before. I guess the moral of this story is don't make friends with sociopaths, and don't expect a better posting record from me. Ha. Now I sound like a total asshole.

Also, I absolutely have to share this with y'all -- it's Defensive Omnivore Bingo (I found it because one of the spaces links here). If you're not familiar with this phenomenon, just look at it and imagine yourself putting down bingo chips as you converse with an omnivore and they share their vast knowledge of veganism with you. Trust me, you've totally had this conversation before. The cards should probably be called Déjà Vu Bingo. Earlier great bingo cards in this vein include White Liberal Bingo and Anti-Feminist Bingo. Actually, if you go over to Cara's place, she's got a whole list on the far right hand side, underneath her blogroll. Enjoy!

posted by The Venerable Vegan Empress @ 7:17 PM   1 comments
Thanks PETA, now I just spit all over everything.

All right, I swear to all the gods in the universe that if Sinéad O'Connor turns up wearing some fucking fur I'm going to lose all faith in humanity. Why, you ask? Certainly not because of anything Sinéad's done, first of all. I've mentioned my crazy love of her in the past, but before Sinéad, another female singer had my heart and changed my life with this insanely amazing album.

From the time I was nine years old, Janet Jackson was my idol. I dressed like her, I pissed off every last redneck in my small-town school by spouting the anti-racist mantras I learned from Rhythm Nation, and as an adult, I've cried myself to sleep many a time listening to her amazing song What About (be warned that the video, while powerful, could be triggering) and found healing in songs like Better Days and Enjoy. I still adore the hell out of Janet and credit her with shaping my political beliefs -- without her, it's safe to assume this blog wouldn't exist because I wouldn't care enough about racism, sexism and other -isms to see the error of PETA's approach. Hell, I probably wouldn't even be vegan at all. After all, I was 12 when I became a vegetarian, but I was nine when Rhythm Nation made me aware of the world around me. If you're not familiar with the album, at least watch the video for the title track. You won't regret it.

So imagine my dismay when I found out that Janet is posing for a line of ads for luxury fur company BlackGlama. It's especially shocking because she is (or was, I guess) supposedly vegan. Not to mention she's well known for being an animal lover, and her song God's Stepchild even mentions that as a child she often used her "four-legged friends" as a conduit for speaking to God. It doesn't make any sense on so many levels – it doesn't fit the type of style icon she is, it doesn't fit her image as an animal lover, and it doesn't match with her overall reputation for compassion that makes me and others love her so much. And it's pissed off a lot of people -- including PETA. Not surprisingly, PETA's statement is where I start spitting on things and forgetting my disappointment with Janet:

"It's amazing what celebrities will do when their careers are on a downslide, but we didn't think that Janet was this desperate. Surely, she knows enough about suffering and unjustified death to recognize that both occur in the production of a fur coat. We are asking her to think again and to donate these stolen skins to be used as bedding for animals orphaned by other human-caused disasters, such as loss of habitat," PETA spokeswoman Amanda Schinke said in a statement.

Okay, let's start small. That crack about Janet's career? First of all, where the hell are the careers of PETA's celebrity spokespeople? I haven't seen any of them starring in a blockbuster movie, or performing on the finale of American Idol, or headlining the Essence music festival. In fact, it seems to me that the last really big movie Alicia Silverstone starred in was 1999's Blast From the Past -- and I don't say that to insult Alicia; despite her PETA support, I really like her. Also, let's not forget that ageism, misogyny and racism are a big part of why Janet's music career has waned in the last several years -- I really hope I don't need to explain this, but in case you're confused, start by heading to your local beach and counting how many male titties you see casually and uncontroversially on display.

But what really gobsmacked me was the "unjustified death" comment, which caused me to scream the F word with so much enthusiasm that I accidentally launched a spit attack on my entire desk. Because, PETA, are you saying what I think you're saying? I...wow. How do you think Janet's gonna listen to you now, when you're bringing her DEAD BROTHER into this out of absolutely nowhere? (Either that or they're talking about slavery, which doesn't exactly improve the situation.) Did it ever occur to you that this is why nobody listens to you, why you're a water cooler punchline? Plus, given Janet's past commitment to compassionate causes, maybe you shouldn't have gone into this with the attitude that the only thing you have to gain is pissing her off. If PETA approached Janet respectfully, there's a good chance she'd listen, as she did when she stopped using a panther in her Rhythm Nation tour after animals rights groups protested.

And what the hell kind of bizarre-ass phrasing is "unjustified death," anyways? I mean, is that as opposed to justified death, like when somebody breaks into your home to kill you and you whack them in the head with a frying pan? How did we get from fur to killing home intruders anyhow? Now you've made everybody so confused that they forgot what the topic was. Good job, PETA.

It also occurred to me as I was agonizing over this that, wait a minute, what about Audrina Partridge, who was a PETA spokesperson before advertising for Carl's Jr? Do you think PETA slams her on their blog, or their favorite spokesobject, Pamela Anderson, who helped at the launch of a steakhouse/strip club in New York last year? Nope, because if you've done a photo shoot for PETA in the past, they'll never criticize you again, it seems. And let's not forget the time Olivia Munn showed up at a PETA event wearing leather boots and the PETA staffers actually defended her.

It also seems that they won't criticize you if you're a part of, shall we say, certain demographic groups. After all, aren't there tons of celebrities who wear leather that PETA isn't going after? WTF is up with that? Frankly, I'm so sick of the "fur is worse than leather" argument that claims it's worse to wear fur because leather is a byproduct of the cattle industry, and using the whole animal is apparently A-OK as long as it's a white dude doing it. Doesn't it make more sense to say that if we deal a blow to the leather industry, we also deal a blow to the cattle industry? You're taking out two targets at once if you actually try to take on the leather industry. Activist multitasking! (But given PETA's difficulty understanding the connectedness of human and animal struggles, I can't say I'm surprised that they don't get this connection, either.)

So, is PETA consistent on the no-animal-skins front? Puh-lease, you do remember who we're dealing with, right?

Behold, the dudes whom PETA apparently has no problem with: Vin Diesel wore a leather kilt while co-hosting MTV Europe Video Music Awards in 2003, and has often been photographed in leather, such as this photo where he's wearing leather pants and a leather jacket. And with how often Nathan Fillion wears leather jackets, you'd think they're his natural habitat -- just look him up on Google Images. Neither Diesel nor Fillion are mentioned anywhere on PETA's blog. 50 Cent loves his extravagant fur coats, but his only mention on PETA's blog is flattering. Adam Lambert wears so much leather so often I'm surprised the damn stuff isn't coming out of his pores, yet he's also AWOL on PETA's site.

But of course, when PETA chooses to excoriate a celebrity for wearing leather, it's a woman -- Jessica Simpson. They call women who wear fur "fur hags" but have no equivalent term for men who wear fur or leather. In fact, if you look on the right hand side of that link, you'll see that all the contestants for their 2010 Worst Dressed List are women. Now, they have called out Kanye for wearing fur, but don't think I haven't noticed that the only dude they've called out recently just so happens to be black. And, they made sure to call his girlfriend "sleazy" while they were at it, because a party wouldn't be a party at PETA HQ if nobody was being sexist and racist, amirite?

The bottom line is, PETA doesn't deal respectfully with the people they disagree with, and then they have the audacity to wonder why fur keeps coming back into style every few years. It's because people stopped wearing fur out of fear, not genuine moral conviction. PETA's like the Dutch kid with his finger in the dam, temporarily stopping the leak but doing nothing to help in the long term (and, quite possibly, HARMING in the long term). This whole debacle, particularly Janet's former veganism, also proves why you can't use celebrities as reason to go vegan, because if you're using someone else, particularly a famous person, as your moral compass, you'll never really commit yourself to a cause; for many, their commitment to a cause will forever be linked to the commitment of their idol, and that's never going to work in the long term.

I guess what I've really taken out of this is that I wish, more than ever, that we had an animal rights organization as prolific as PETA that could discuss these issues RESPECTFULLY and be taken seriously. I don't want someone I admire so much to roll her eyes and turn up her nose at PETA's statements, but given the heinousness of that statement, I can't say I'd blame Janet. I'm still hoping she'll come to her senses and stop this nonsense and donate Blackglama's money to a decent animal rights group (like one of the ones in my blogroll!) but I'm not going to hold my breath. I will, however hope that Janet remembers her words about critics who said Rhythm Nation didn't matter: "Even if only one person out of all those who listen to the album makes a change, that's an accomplishment." Because if even one person who sees this fur ad buys a fur coat, that's NOT an accomplishment. That's 240 more dead, tortured animals who absolutely did not deserve such a fate.


Note: Often I'm taken aback at the way in which animal rights activists interact with each other, both in person and online. I made the change requested by a commenter in a comment rejected for its holier-than-thou tone, but let's not be condescending about it, shall we? (See how patronizing and snooty that sounded, commenter?)

posted by The Venerable Vegan Empress @ 6:33 AM   1 comments
Thursday, May 13, 2010
OMG, you guys, PETA is, like, TOTALLY feminist!
I have proof. On their blog, they've written two articles that mention feminism! Never mind that one is a pitiful attempt to justify their bullshit treatment of women, ending with a call for opinions that won't be used if they're toooo critical of PETA. (Trust me, I know this from experience.) I guess I'd better close this blog now that we have the final proof that PETA are our Feminist Saviors.

posted by The Venerable Vegan Empress @ 6:55 PM   0 comments
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
This is what happens when you sell your soul
Ah, PETA. You really don't care, do you?

Model/actress/G4 TV-host Olivia Munn, quite popular among gaming and sci-fi nerds (like myself), just did a campaign with PETA to combat circus cruelty and showed up to the PETA event wearing leather boots. A protestor asked, “Are those boots leather?” To which PETA staff retorted, “This isn’t a leather campaign.”

And in case you didn't click on the link, yes, Olivia Munn is naked in accordance with PETA's apparent mandate that all women in their ads must be naked and/or objectified in some way. Seriously, at this point it's like they're just phoning it in. I can hardly find anything in my inbox to get riled up about anymore because it is the same. damn. thing. over and over again. Titty this and titty that and titties titties titties everywhere! Although between this and the Crustastun fiasco, it does seem that PETA is making their true colors more and more obvious. Now I almost feel like it's unfair to welfare orgs to call PETA one -- my new theory is that PETA might just be a group of pathetic groupies who are trying to get the attention of celebrities in the hopes of being able to schmooze with the rich and famous. Which is, like, sooooo 2005.*

*I did a quick bit of research to make sure that 2005 was, indeed, the time when all those partying celebrities were in the news, and I discovered that Paris Hilton does not even come up on Google's Autocomplete anymore! Seriously, I thought maybe I was misspelling her name, or that I'd imagined her entire existence. I guess hope does spring eternal.

posted by The Venerable Vegan Empress @ 5:12 PM   4 comments
Monday, March 1, 2010
Prediction
Today while reading the news about Obama's marginally high cholesterol , I looked into my crystal ball and came up with the following prediction:

PETA's going to come up with a really obnoxious PR release any second now. It'll tell Obama all about how going vegetarian will fix his cholesterol, pass health care, end the strife in Israel and Palestine, and cause him to fart rose-scented rainbows for the rest of his life.

Okay, so some of that is an exaggeration. But I'm betting my favorite pair of Vegetarian Shoes that they're gonna come up with something about this. And it's going to be annoying as shit.

posted by The Venerable Vegan Empress @ 10:18 AM   3 comments
Saturday, February 13, 2010
PETA, please go fuck yourself
Well. This is appalling. PETA is having losers vote on their website for their annual worst-dressed celebrity list (meaning: women and black men who wear fur; since leather is very commonly worn by straight white men, they don't typically include leather wearers in their list). Of course, the usual misogynist slurs toward women who wear fur are in full effect, but PETA decided to go the extra mile and also make light of domestic violence when including Rihanna in their poll:

You'd think that being a victim of violence would have opened Rihanna's heart to the suffering of others—like the animals who were beaten, drowned, and electrocuted for her fur coats. Girl, you've got beautiful eyes: Use them to see the pain and suffering your wardrobe causes.
Of course, I'm sure whatever ignorant intern wrote that is patting themselves on the back for the COMPASSION they showed in noting that Rihanna has beautiful eyes. (Because compliments on a woman's looks totally make it okay that her ex beat the shit out of her!) But ya know, when you drag somebody's traumatic past into the picture, that makes you a first-class insensitive asshole. If it weren't so awful, I'd be amused at the fact that domestic violence and women's rights activists have been trying to tell PETA all along that there's a link between exploiting people and exploiting animals, and that when you exploit people in the interests of animal rights you're actually strengthening the structures that also lead to animal abuse. But comments like these just show that the problem isn't that PETA doesn't get the interconnectedness of all forms of violence, as they're perfectly willing to make arguments like this. The problem is that PETA knows all violence is connected -- they just don't care about it if it happens to humans, which does absolutely nothing to help animals.

posted by The Venerable Vegan Empress @ 8:15 PM   8 comments
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
PETA, just another welfare org....
So I thought this was some PR smear against PETA, until I found it at their own blog:

In a perfect world, lobsters and crabs would be able to do their deep sea thing without being preyed upon by humans hell-bent on turning sea life into seafood. Unfortunately, we live in a woefully imperfect world in which crustaceans are routinely boiled alive or cut open while they are still conscious. That's why we're hoping that the Crustastun will catch on.

A less cruel method of slaughter, the Crustastun uses a low-voltage current to instantly render crustaceans unconscious and to kill them within five to 10 seconds. I don't think that I need to tell you what a huge improvement this is over the three minutes of pure agony that lobsters suffer though when they are cooked alive!

....

Knowing that this method will spare our crustacean comrades untold agony, we recently reached out to Tucson's Child & Family Resources concerning its upcoming annual lobster dinner fundraiser. Last year, another organization reached out to the event's organizers and tried to get them to dump the lobsters from their menu. The organizers refused, but this year we convinced them to allow to us to provide them with a Crustastun to use. The inventors of the Crustastun will be on hand to train the staff in how to use the device, which is easy to operate and guarantees the lobster a quick and painless death. And while we don't condone this event and we hope that the organization's future fundraisers will not include harming animals, we're glad that we can at least help reduce the suffering of these lobsters.


Okay, this alone would be bad enough, but what actually happened at the event was that the CrustaStuns never arrived, and the lobsters were boiled alive anyhow.

Now, I'm sure we can go around and around with this all day long, but I think any animal rights activist who's ever argued with a meat-eater knows that it's a hell of a lot harder to convince the one who eats free range animals to give it up, because the free-ranger believes that treating animals badly is okay just as long as it's done in a hipster organicy kind of way rather than as badly as they imagine it's done by hicks in Hicksville. If we start letting welfarists rule the day, animals will never enjoy the freedom and dignity they deserve -- I mean, hell, would YOU want to be fenced in all your life, kept pregnant all your life and have your children snatched from you for slaughter, only to be slaughtered yourself in the end? Would all this magically become okay just because you occasionally get to see the sun? Yeah, didn't think so.

Another thing I found interesting though profoundly irritating is this idiotic blog in the Phoenix Times (really, do they hire their bloggers at Hank's Corner Pub and have them write before they get a chance to sober up?). The top photo is a play on PETA's brain-dead anti-woman campaigns, and it's pretty goddamn clear from the entry that A) The schnockered-off-his-ass author is familiar with PETA's titty campaigns and B) is very much against animal rights. Which leads us to the probability that C) TITTY ADS DON'T WORK! AT ALL!

I'm going to say it again: An organization that can't even be bothered to care about the most basic of human rights isn't going to truly give a shit about animals, either. Compassion is compassion, and you either have it or you don't. Clearly, PETA has none, for humans OR animals.


Hilarious update: I just received a funny comment from some dude whose undies are all in a knot over the fact that PETA didn't sponsor this event ($800 to the first person who finds where I DID say that!) and claims that, therefore, this article is untrue. So, just to make sure, I clicked over to PETA's original blog post, the one linked to at the beginning of this article, and it's GONE. Seriously. That's how badly PETA knows they fucked up, but rather than apologize, they're just going to act like it never happened. AND I never would have known about their little restructuring of history if this douche-balloon hadn't come around trying to act like King Shit of Know-it-All Mountain. Awesome.

posted by The Venerable Vegan Empress @ 6:20 AM   7 comments

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Name: The Venerable Vegan Empress
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If you have any ideas for an article here or would like to write a post, I'd love that! I work full time, volunteer and take classes at my city's university, so I don't work on this project nearly as often as I'd like. Just send me a comment with your contact info -- I approve all comments before posting, so if you include info that you don't want published let me know and I won't publish your comment.
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