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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.   
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Read it and puke
Into my inbox this morning has dribbled a vile little bit of word vomit, courtesy of PETA's aforementioned Holocaust on Your Plate campaign. It's from PETA's blog, and apparently even though they apologized for the ad in 2005, they're not sorry for it anymore and are willing to spend tons of donor money to appeal a ruling banning the campaign in Germany:

Back in 2004, PETA launched our Holocaust on Your Plate (HOYP) traveling display, which juxtaposes images of animals in slaughterhouses and factory farms with images of humans in Nazi concentration camps. The display was inspired by a passage from Nobel-prize–winning Jewish author Isaac Bashevis Singer's book, The Letter Writer: "In relation to them, all people are Nazis; for the animals it is an eternal Treblinka." This struck a chord with one of our Jewish staffers, who proposed the idea of creating a display that he hoped would encourage people to consider that the same mindset that allows the routine and systematic murder of animals also allows the routine and systematic murder of human beings.

The HOYP display—which was also funded by a Jewish PETA member—traveled all over the U.S., where it sparked a tremendous amount of debate and discussion about both animal rights and human rights issues. Then across the pond, PETA Germany took the idea and ran with it. And that's where the trouble began. Yesterday, Germany's high court banned PETA Germany’s Holocaust display, stating that it would have made "the fate of the victims of the Holocaust appear banal and trivial."

This ruling left the staffers of our German affiliate scratching their heads, because the display only renders the humans' suffering "banal and trivial" if the animals' suffering is considered banal and trivial. Which is the whole point of the display …

Anyway, PETA Germany is, of course, appealing the ruling, and it is confident that free speech will win out in the end.

So what do you think, PETA Files readers? Did the campaign go too far? Was the German high court justified in banning it—or should free speech have reigned supreme?

Hey, I think we've almost got racist bingo!

Anyhow, it's pretty goddamn sick that PETA uses the old canard of "a person of this group said it, so we as a non-Jewish American-based organization with no understanding of Jewish or German culture are perfectly justified in using this group's misery to our own bullying ends!" Second, I don't really give a shit that the staffer who liked this stupid idea was Jewish, and neither do most people in the Jewish community. He is one person who likes this fucked idea compared with millions of Jews who are outraged and hurt by it. Also, as my Ingrid Newkirk post discusses and the anti-racist bingo card mentions, plenty of people are completely willing to sell out their oppressed group for temporary power from the dominant group. After all, would any sane person ever go to Clarence Thomas or Michael Steele for enlightened commentary on racial issues? (And one has to wonder what PETA means by "Jewish" with regards to their staffer. Do they mean a practicing Jew, or somebody who's like one-sixteenth Jewish and only goes to temple once in a while as a way of "connecting" with their Jewish heritage?) And why does PETA go on about how Matt Prescott, the self-hating Jewish guy who ran this campaign, had relatives who died in the Holocaust? I mean, so do a lot of Jewish people, and Anti-Defamation League National director Abraham H. Foxman is a Holocaust survivor and has roundly denounced PETA's display. And Nobel Laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, who was shown without his permission in one of the pictures, also denounced PETA's campaign (emphasis is mine, and the article is from Google's cache as it doesn't show up on the paper's main site anymore):

Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel was unaware until a visit to California this week that his photograph was being used in an animal-rights campaign that compares livestock awaiting slaughter to victims of Nazi concentration camps in World War II.

During an interview before a speech this week, the 1986 Nobel Peace Prize winner was asked by a reporter to review a portion of the campaign, which has been labeled "The Holocaust on Your Plate."

In the advertisement, which Wiesel hadn't seen before, he recognized himself.

"They even have my picture here," Wiesel said as he looked at the ad. "They shouldn't do that."

The photo was of emaciated Jewish men on bunks in the Nazi death camp Buchenwald, where Wiesel and his father were taken and where Wiesel's father died before the camp was liberated in 1945 by allied troops. Wiesel, now 74, pointed to the upper right corner of the photo, to the recognizable dark eyebrows, to confirm it was him.

That image is juxtaposed against a picture of chickens in cages in the national campaign launched last week by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA.


Wiesel said that the PETA campaign exemplifies perhaps his greatest disappointment in life.

"I am not afraid of forgetfulness," he said. "I am afraid of banalization, of trivialization and this is part of it."

You know PETA has stooped low when they are perhaps the greatest disappointment in a Holocaust survivor's life.

Similarly, just because Jewish scholar Isaac Bashevis Singer once compared meat-eating to Nazism does not mean that he would have wanted his words used in this way coupled with such images and used by a non-Jewish group that doesn't give two craps about Jews or the Holocaust. Conveniently, Singer died in 1991, before PETA ever started the Holocaust on Your Plate campaign, so he's not around to say whether he would have wanted his work co-opted like this. Interesting that PETA didn't find the work of a living Jewish author to use in their campaign, even though Judaism has a relatively strong tradition of vegetarianism -- one can only presume that they knew it would have been extremely unlikely they would have found a Jewish scholar willing to go along with such an idea. In fact, PETA even used deceit and lies to get the photos of Holocaust victims because they knew the Holocaust Museum wouldn't release the pictures if they knew what they were for:

PETA had purchased the photo rights from the U.S. Holocaust Museum in Washington, which issued a cease and desist order against the organization last year, saying in a letter to PETA that its "exploitation of these materials [is] a gross perversion of our mission," and noting that the photo rights were "obtained deceitfully from the museum."

Wow, PETA. Way to show respect for the Jewish community there. Readers may also have noticed in the article about Matt Prescott that PETA promoted the same Holocaust-and-animals comparison at the beginning of the Palestinian intifada in Israel in 2000. So, all I can say to PETA and their hideous, triggering, beyond insensitive antics is "lech lehizdayen!" And if you don't know what that means without a dictionary, PETA staffers, then you don't know enough about Jewish culture to be running ads that co-opt the most traumatic chapter in Jewish history.

posted by The Venerable Vegan Empress @ 2:41 PM   5 comments
Friday, March 27, 2009
Who runs a Holocaust ad in Germany, anyhow?
All right, I'm not sure why this is happening now, but Germany's highest constitutional court has just ruled that PETA's 2003 Holocaust on Your Plate campaign is offensive and has banned it (although I don't know if it's running anymore, or if this case was the initial reason why the campaign stopped):

March 26 (Bloomberg) -- Germany’s highest constitutional court ruled that an animal-rights campaign comparing the slaughter of animals for consumption with the murder of Jews by the Nazis is forbidden by law because it offends Holocaust survivors.

The Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe today upheld a lower-court ruling that sidelined the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals campaign, entitled “The Holocaust on your plate.” PETA in March 2004 had presented a picture of animals being prepared for slaughter next to victims of a Nazi-era concentration camp.

The animal-rights campaign represents “a minimization and banalization of the plight of Holocaust survivors,” the court said in a statement. Denying the Holocaust is a crime in Germany.

Damn right. What I'm still not sure of is how the hell PETA ever thought this campaign would be acceptable anywhere, let alone in Germany. They did end up apologizing for the ad campaign, which makes you wonder why they haven't apologized for their lynching campaigns or the commercial with the woman being beaten to death for wearing fur -- maybe because they've never faced a real threat of legal action from those, I would guess. To be honest, I didn't even realize they were running the Holocaust campaign in Germany, though I'm not surprised they did. This is, as one of my favorite ecofeminists Pattrice Jones has noted, trying to win an argument by brute force. You don't care what the effects are on your audience; you just want to bully them into doing what you want. You want to scare them, you don't want to engage in respectful dialogue, you assume your audience is too stupid to be swayed by any other method. The end justifies the means, no matter how horrible the means and no matter how many people are hurt along the way.

Anyhow, Germany, although your legal system clearly needs to speed the hell up, you rock!

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posted by The Venerable Vegan Empress @ 9:30 AM   0 comments
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Vegans Against PETA: First unintentional bid for world domination a success!
Holy crap! Vegans Against PETA made its first international debut yesterday, courtesy of my FAVO(U)RITE NEWSPAPER OF ALL TIME, The Guardian:

I have to admit, I have no idea where the Guardian found this blog, or for that matter how they ever noticed my description in the upper right hand corner, as Blogger continues to mock my best-laid schemes to change it to a readable color. What I do know is that I also got a fat promotion at work last week, so I reckon this is the universe's way of rewarding me for standing up for my fellow humans and animals by revealing the evils of PETA. You, too, can be a beneficiary of the universe's goodwill if only you click on this blog every day, link to it and tell all your friends and local news outlets about it! Why, just look at PETA basher lagusta -- the universe has blessed her with awesome shoes and tons of chocolate! And sparklyfanta has stopped procrastinating, and has been bestowed with impeccable taste by the universe as evidenced by her love of super-rad show Firefly! What's not to love?

In other fantastic news about this blog, one of my friends today informed me that she actually had PETA in her will, but after reading this blog they are OUT of it. Holy crap again! Maybe I need to add a subtitle to my blog title: "Vegans Against PETA: World Domination Express." Except, of course, I am against systems of hierarchy and domination, so said subtitle will happen when somebody starts giving a shit about animals because they saw some airbrushed supermodel in a bikini. In other words, never.

posted by The Venerable Vegan Empress @ 5:49 PM   0 comments
Friday, March 20, 2009
I learn about Ingrid Newkirk so you don't have to
I have an obsession that's been festering since Sarah Palin's run for vice president. It has recently been inflamed by two wackaloon women journalists who have worked themselves up into a frenzy over Obama announcing the creation of a Council on Women and Girls, because that's apparently sexist and degrading to men or some shit.

Basically, I am obsessed with women who revel in their own oppression. I am obsessed with women who actively seek to oppress other women. Call them collaborators, self-haters, female Uncle Toms, they're all the same at heart. Whether it's Camille Paglia or Phyllis Schlafly, they all seem to have this belief, like collaborators in wars, that pleasing and appeasing their oppressors will somehow gain them a measure of privilege, that they will somehow become not-woman, that their oppressors will give them a piece of the pie and they will transcend gender. Of course, as far as I can tell it hasn't worked for a single woman, but that doesn't stop these appeasers from trying. In the animal rights movement, of course, that person is PETA president Ingrid Newkirk, who when confronted with the misogyny of PETA pulls out all the pathetic stops in defending it. Aside from the fact that objectifying women is, as I've written here, only going to result in more animals being tortured for beauty, how the hell does a woman get her head so far up her ass that she can't even see what she's doing to her own sisters? Is she crazy?

Well, maybe. One blogger surmises that Newkirk has Münchausen By Proxy Syndrome (I've linked the cache both because that blog takes forever to load otherwise and I'm not sure whether they deserve much traffic). I have my own reasons for not thinking that's the case, including how gendered that diagnosis is. I also have my reasons for feeling kind of bad discussing this, because it's not as if women aren't already labeled crazy for the slightest thing. But because this blog is about PETA, and because the damage Ingrid Newkirk is doing both to animal rights and women's rights is incalculable, I've decided a little introduction to her is necessary.

Right. So, one of the most searched things about Newkirk is her will. Because it's batshit fuckin' nutzoid. A few, er, tidbits include:

a. That the “meat” of my body, or a portion thereof, be used for a human barbecue, to remind the world that the meat of a corpse is all flesh, regardless of whether it comes from a human being or another animal, and that flesh foods are not needed.

d. That one of my eyes be removed, mounted, and delivered to the administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as a reminder that PETA will continue to be watching the agency until it stops poisoning and torturing animals.

e. That my pointing finger be delivered to Kenneth Feld, owner of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, or to a circus museum to stand as the “Greatest Accusation on Earth” on behalf of the countless elephants, lions, tigers, bears, and other animals who have been kidnapped from their families and removed from their homelands

Of course, there's no mention of the poor sap who's gonna have to execute this will. My guess is they won't find any takers, unless they find some Jeffrey Dahmer type who'd take joy in it rather than learning any valuable lesson about animal rights.

OK. On to her Wikipedia article!

The first thing you'll note is mention of her crazy-ass will, though there's no real discussion of anything in it, which is sad because it prevents the masses from learning about the Real Ingrid.

Another irking thing is her constant invoking of the term "press sluts." Somebody needs to tell this woman that derogatory slurs that denigrate an entire group of people are so not cool. Next thing you know she'll be calling meat-eaters "dietary n***ers." And nobody will be surprised when she does.

Onward. Sister likes Formula One racing? Wow, so much for the fucking environment. And, it's like SEX! Grody. I'll take my vagina without gasoline in it, thanks.

We also see her get all self-righteous and indignant about the woman at the shelter who euthanized her neighbor's unwanted kittens, but as this blog and her Wikipedia article show, Newkirk is now a full-fledged Kitty Killer herself. In fact, she is no longer simply the one who carries out those killings, but the one who orders them. She is the grim reaper of all creatures sweet and fluffy.

When she talks about becoming vegetarian, we get a glimpse into why, perhaps, she sympathizes almost exclusively with men and we see just how childish her understanding of gender is when she talks about how she loved meat and "would eat roadkill if [she] could":

"I'd eat burgers, steak, anything. I love car racing and meat. I am a boy at heart, I am my father's son."

Yup. Gender essentialism is part of what makes you stupid, Ingrid. Just a tiny part, because there are so many things that make you stupid, but it takes many drops of water to make a flood, right? For the sake of brevity I won't get into why gendering every little last goddamn thing in the world is beyond ridiculous, but perhaps that can be another post for another time. (And you'd think maybe after being told several million times to read "The Sexual Politics of Meat," girl might give it a thought. But that would require challenging her assumptions, which we all know Ingrid Newkirk does. not. do.)

This little part, which gives some background on the history of the animal rights movement, also made me snicker, in a sad way:

The concept of animal rights was at that time almost unheard of in the United States. The modern animal rights movement had started in England eight years earlier, in 1972, when a group of Oxford University scholars, particularly philosophers, had formed the "Oxford group" to promote the idea that discrimination against individuals on the basis of their species is as irrational as discrimination on the basis of race or sex.

But apparently in today's Brave Newkirk World, racism and sexism are perfectly rational, while animal abuse somehow isn't. Good one, Ingrid!

And speaking of, now we get to the racism! You knew there would be racism, right? This is PETA's president we're talking about, after all. Newkirk told Michael Specter of the New Yorker that "she has had to stop vacationing in tropical or poor countries like Mexico, because she spends the entire time rescuing animals from what she calls their 'horrid owners.'"

Holy fucking hell, right? Is Ingie Poo saying that it's worse for animals to be abused by brown people? Because that's sure as fuck what it sounds like. You'd think she'd know from her activism in the United States that we have 1,930,208,488 ways to abuse and treat animals brutally and are no better than anybody else in this regard. But no, she can't even go to fucking Mexico because she might see the same thing she could see here, except it's infinitely more traumatic because brown people are doing it. Hey, I've got an idea, Ingrid -- since there's so much animal abuse here on Earth and you've made clear that you can't stand to be around it, how about you go live on Mars? It's even the Dudely Planet, which would be right up your alley since you're so above all things female.

Well, that's about all I got for the Wikipedia article, since I can't stand to parse it for a second longer.

One final thing needs saying, however. You may have noticed that as you type in Firefox's Google toolbar, it makes suggestions for what you might be looking for based on commonly searched words and phrases. Well, if you type "Ingrid Newkirk" into the Google toolbar of Firefox, it doesn't suggest "animal rights" or "veganism" to go with it. It suggests "will," "quotes," "insulin," "diabetes," etc. (For the record, Mary Beth Sweetland, a PETA VP, has diabetes, not Newkirk.) If you type the letter "a" after Newkirk's name, the only suggestion is AIDS, due to the fact that she once said PETA would be against a cure for AIDS if it was brought about through animal testing. Now, if you type in "MLK," many of the suggestions include civil rights. If you type in Malcolm X, Black Power is heavily associated with his name. If you type in Gandhi, non violence is a suggestion, all of which makes perfect sense. But how pathetic are you, and how much of a failure is your activism, if people don't even associate you with your cause? In fact, the majority of the most common searches on her name suggest that people are just looking to point and laugh at her (which will happen no matter what type of a search you do on her).

God, reading all this crap about Newkirk has been one of the most obnoxious experiences of my life. In summary, I've figured out a little bit about her allegiance to patriarchy, but in the end, this is all I've got:

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posted by The Venerable Vegan Empress @ 9:16 AM   3 comments
Monday, March 16, 2009
Famous dude gets fat sucked out for PETA
In this post, I wrote about how PETA encourages people to have cosmetic procedures that are tested on animals and how their tactics only encourage the continued exploitation of animals for beauty. Well, I never quite expected that anybody would directly attribute their cosmetic surgery to PETA, but it looks like former child star Corey Feldman got liposuction last year after seeing a PETA poster of himself in which he apparently felt his stomach looked fat and disgusting (it didn't, though of course Susie Feldman looks like a total helpless object in a way that Yoko Ono never did in the bed-in photos.)

It will probably shock exactly no one who read my Blasphemy post to learn that liposuction is tested on animals:

In the animal studies, it appears that tumescent liposuction combined with microwave power between 30–40 W yields less blood in the suctioned fat while improving the ease of passing the cannula.

If you don't have access to the link, don't worry -- all you need to know is in the part I quoted. (That is, unless you want to see the really nasty fat pictures that went with it.) If you want to find out more about how you can look PETA-fabulous with the help of this animal-tested, PETA-approved procedure, Google's got the goods.

If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times: PETA's beauty standards are not compatible with animal rights or respect for the environment. They never have been, and they never will be.

Edited to add: Shit, I just reread this post and wanted to clarify that by "nasty fat pictures" I mean actual pictures of fat that's been sucked out of people and, I don't know, microwaved or whatever it is that gets done to sucked-out fat in this study. It's nasty because it's something best left inside one's body and not microwaved, kind of like a heart, pictures of which also gross me out.

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posted by The Venerable Vegan Empress @ 10:20 AM   0 comments
Saturday, March 14, 2009
PETA and Objectification
Greetings, readers! The following post comes to us from Alderson Warm-Fork of Directionless Bones, who will also be blogging here on occasion. Someday I will figure out how to create different users for this account so my introduction won't be necessary, but I must also someday figure out how to get a decent tax return, make my own jewelry and engage in urban foraging without poisoning myself. Thus, I hope no one is holding their breath when I say I will "someday" do something.

PETA and Objectification

One of the main claims urged against PETA is that their numerous sexual images of women constitute ‘objectification’, which is bad. In this post I want to explain this idea as clearly as possible.

‘Object’ has a lot of meanings – vernacular, grammatical, philosophical. In broad terms it can be used relatively as ‘the object of my attention’, ‘the object of my desire’, etc. to mean that thing which a certain action is targeted towards. It can correspondingly be used absolutely, as ‘an object’ full stop, to mean the sort of thing which in general has things done to it, rather than doing things.

‘Objectification’ then means a pattern of words or images of whatever that emphasises and prioritises the things that are done to something over the things that it does. This has an important relationship with two other ideas: personhood and hate speech.

Personhood is related because although clearly persons are objects, in that they can be seen, felt, thought of, and acted upon, what is distinctive about persons is a certain sort of activity. Perceiving, thinking, reasoning, understanding, deciding, desiring, aiming, etc. are the distinctive activities of persons, and it is these activities, not any perceptible difference, that identifies persons (persons don’t, for example, feel different to the touch from non-persons).

So one consequence of objectification is that what is objectified is de-personalised; its personhood is devalued relative to what persons can do to it.

Hate speech is another phrase with often unclear meanings, but I present it in a certain sense – as speech which legitimises violence, which presents a class of beings as by nature fit targets for violence. This is clearly a species of objectification – indeed all objectification will have a certain tinge of ‘hate speech’ because to be acted on, to be used like an object, is typically a violent experience.

So how does this relate to animals? Food animals are supremely objectified. The single most accurate way to sum up the way they are treated is – they are treated as objects. They are resources, property, things. Even animals which are spoken about hatefully as, for example, ‘beasts’, as dangerous and threatening and hence deserving extermination, are presented as having more agency and activity than the broiler chicken, which is in a sense merely a KFC bargain bucket on legs.

And the ‘hate speech’ component of objectification comes through here very clearly. Nobody literally ‘hates’ broiler chickens – nobody thinks ‘yeah, those fucking chickens are going to get it now!’. But the objectification, the seeing them simply as resources for human use, justifies and legitimates the single most extensive and large-scale systematic act of violence on earth – the killing of billions of chickens every year. Objectification legitimises violence.

How does this relate to PETA adverts showing nude or effectively-nude women? This trend, this societal obsession with the naked female form, fits the definition of objectification because it “emphasises and prioritises” the things that can be done to that form – things ranging from ‘desiring’, ‘fantasising about’, to ‘touching’ and ‘having sex with’. Even the action of ‘seeing’ is emphasised – the whole point is not just what this woman looks like but that she is showing herself. No individual image need carry such an emphasis – the pattern of endless repetition clearly does so.

And as with animals, objectification is linked with violence. If the principal feature of women is their suitability to be acted upon, to be seen and desired and touched and had sex with, then their other traits (such as the ability to choose, to make rational decisions) are obscured, and actions, such as rape or harassment, which conform to that ‘essential nature’ (sexual object) while conflicting with the secondary trait (rational chooser) make a lot more sense. Indeed, if a woman’s essence is to be desired, then any action which displays desire, from wolf-whistling to badgering her into unwanted sex, can be seen as a ‘compliment’, a benevolent act.

Female humans are not killed on the same scale as chickens. But the fact that so many of them experience sexual violence, the fact that historically most sex has been non-consensual (since marriage was seen as making consent irrelevant), the ratio of women killed by men who claim to love them compared to men killed by women, constitute a no less serious crisis.

Empirical arguments about causal links need not be central: if we can recognise objectification of chickens as a component of the complex of ideas which support ongoing violence against them, then we should recognise that same taint in objectification of women. Organisations which try to oppose one system should not do so by participating in the other.

Cross-posted at Directionless Bones

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posted by The Venerable Vegan Empress @ 2:14 PM   1 comments
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Blasphemy, beauty and animal rights
I am a traitor to the animal rights cause, I admit it. Last week I was at the doctor to have my ears flushed out, and decided while I was at it that I am sick and goddamn tired of my face being constantly covered in pimples when I'm in my late twenties. So, I asked my doctor what could be done, hoping to be put on some type of low dose birth control. But due to the side effects of birth control and my history of reacting severely to oral medications, she put me on two topical bacteria-killing gels. Now, I try to avoid conventional Western medications at all cost, but I am really at the end of my rope with this acne business. So without a second thought I marched myself down to the pharmacy, had my prescriptions filled and started using them. Three days later I was already like a new woman. Only my forehead has persisted in looking like it belongs to a fourteen-year-old, and I haven't even had much drying. There's only one problem, which I thought of a few days later.

Both these products, being prescription-only, are tested on animals.

There, I've said it. And don't worry, I've berated myself enough for it so you won't have to. But you know, there's a good reason why I was desperate enough to get medication for something that is abso-fucking-lutely not a threat to my immediate physical health. Because, even though my brother has pretty much the same type and severity of acne as I do, I get constantly reproached and ridiculed for it, far more than he ever has. I've also heard men in the animal rights movement say that such-and-such a woman isn't a good representative of veganism or vegetarianism because she's fat, or has acne, or is ugly in some other way.

The problem is, so much of the animal rights movement, thanks mostly to PETA, has built itself around the idea that vegans, particularly vegan women, are hot (or, as I and my favorite bloggers like to say, "hawt"). They try to convince people that being vegan will automatically make you hot if you're a woman, and if you're a dude you'll suddenly have all these hot women flocking to you. Never mind that PETA and other animal rights groups have amassed enough videos of genuine animal torture in slaughterhouses to cover a large town, and never mind that people who go veg for moral reasons, such as myself, are probably a hell of a lot more likely to stick with it. I first went vegetarian when I was 12, never having heard any of this hooey about sex-ay vegetarians. I mean, how many human rights movements have told people things like, "Supporting South African liberation will make you sexy!" or "Going on freedom rides to Mississippi will give you giant tits and clear skin!" No, hell no. And you know why? They didn't have to. They built a case that was strong enough for people to give a shit, and they didn't actively alienate members of their cause.

Now, if you're a whiny little PETA sycophant, you're probably all, "but but but that's DIFFERENT! What you eat CAN affect how you look!" Well, sure, if you starve yourself you might start to look really, well, starved, and if you don't get enough, say, vitamin C, you'll probably get scurvy, which has physical manifestations as do other deficiencies. But unless you're really, really deficient in certain vitamins, what you eat is not going to have a whole hell of a lot of bearing on how you look aside from the fact that you won't have those physical deficiency manifestations that I talked about. Now, for SOME people certain foods may cause acne or what have you, but when you get down to it, genetics are really the determining factor. After all, what else would explain why both my parents had acne, despite having reasonably different diets during adolescence, and why my brother and I, despite having totally opposite
diets, have pretty much identical acne? And what does this emphasis on looks mean for us vegans who don't measure up, for vegans who are fat or have acne or, like me, have thin hair (and yes, I've also had people suggest I have thin hair because of some dietary deficiency)?

What does it mean for us? It means we're a failure. Yes, you read that right, and no, I'm not exaggerating. Because I don't believe in giving assholes traffic, I'm not going to post a link to this asshat who calls himself a doctor, but let's just see one outcome of the Vegan Obsession With Hawtness:

Fat vegans, however, have failed one important animal: themselves. Furthermore, their audiences of meat-eaters and animal-abusers may be so distracted by their appearance that they cannot hear the vital issues of animal rights and the environment; resulting in an unacknowledged setback for a fat vegan’s hard work for change.
Yup, that's right, fatties! You are singlehandedly bringing down the movement! God, what were you thinking by going vegan, anyways? You wanna make the rest of us look like fools? Why don't you just take your fat self to a corner and not talk to us, as we are obviously far too good for you simply by having been born with higher metabolisms. (Since a discussion of why food is really not all that linked to weight, and why fatness is not in fact unhealthy is beyond the scope of this post, I shall direct any doubters to this brilliant post at one of my favorite blogs.)

Oh yeah, and even if food were linked to fatness, wouldn't fat vegans actually be doing more than the rest of us to help keep great vegan restaurants and co-ops in business? How much sense does it make to have a movement whose success is based largely on convincing businesses to offer a certain kind of food, yet in order to be worthy of that movement we have to starve ourselves?

So now we have a fat vegan who's been told she's an embarrassment to the movement and a failure. But no matter how little she eats, she's never going to be as thin as PETA says women should be. Hell, most thin women aren't as thin as PETA says women should be. What's a girl to do?

Enter ephedrine, a well-known weight loss drug. But does it work? And what are the side effects? Well, let's see. Here it is! A study showing that ephedrine increases ventricular arrhythmias in conscious dogs after myocardial infarction.

But wait, dogs? Conscious dogs? We're talking a vegan here!

But if she doesn't get thin, she's a failure and doesn't deserve to represent us. Just like I'm a failure if I don't get clear skin and represent properly, regardless of what it's doing to my body or animals.

Yet if PETA ever wanted to berate me for my use of acne medications, they don't have a leg to stand on. Because Pamela Anderson, their favorite spokesobject, has implants. Actually, she's gotten them twice. She had them once, removed them, and later changed her mind and had larger ones put in. What do we know about breast implants? Here's a smattering from Google:

Prior to approving the Trilucent breast implants, researchers conducted animal studies; injecting the filler material into rabbits with no toxic or allergic reaction.

And this:

The animal studies do not, however, establish the connection with certainty, particularly since they were designed to intentionally stimulate an antibody response by mixing a known antigen with the silicone.

Here's my personal favorite:

Wistar rats underwent submammary implantation with either smooth or textured silicone gel implants and were administrated 200 mg/kg of PFD daily. The control group received saline. The animals were killed at 8 weeks. The capsular tissue of both implants was removed for histologic and molecular analyses.

Aren't we all better people now that we know what it took for PETA's darling to get breast implants?

Hey, speaking of PETA's spokesobjects, have you ever noticed how young they all are, or at least how young they look? Not a line on any of their faces, bless their hearts! Could it be the result of creams or a great skin care routine? Not bloody likely. If you want great results for young, wrinkle-free skin, you gotta go with Botox. But if you've been in animal rights circles for a while, you probably know all about the creepy, barbaric experiments that have gone into getting Botox ready for human trials -- tests that have to be re-done before shipping each batch of Botox because the stuff is so dangerous.

From the Humane Society of the United States:

Imagine that you are one of the animals unfortunate enough to be used in assessing the potency of new batches of Botox® Cosmetic. A popular anti-wrinkle treatment, Botox Cosmetic's active ingredient—Botulinum toxin—is one of the most poisonous of known substances.

First, the toxic substance or the full product is injected into your stomach. Then, as it courses through your bloodstream, the toxin causes nausea and then brings on a wave of muscle paralysis that spreads throughout your body. Finally, over the course of the three-to-four day test, you suffocate to death.

Welcome to the ugly world of testing the most common cosmetic procedure in the United States—testing that uses a method known as "LD50" which leaves at least 50% of its animal subjects—mice—dead. A recent development in HSUS's campaign to end Botox testing on animals has the potential to change the look of that world, and to help protect mice from this gruesome death. (HSUS website) There are also YouTube videos.

I've looked for updates on this, and it doesn't look like Allergan has budged -- and given FDA regulations, it's questionable whether they actually could. I don't say that to apologize for what they do, because it's reprehensible, but I point it out to highlight the fact that when we as a society have such absurd expectations of women's beauty that medical procedures are the only way to measure up, it's necessary to point out that those medical interventions cannot, by law, happen without animal testing first. (See number three.) They can't even get to tests on humans without animal tests, let alone get to final FDA approval.

And this isn't all. Tooth whiteners, contact lenses (ever seen a PETA model with glasses?) most of the more affordable cosmetics, all test on animals. Sure, you can buy cosmetics that aren't tested on animals, but they usually cost more, and consider that in the UK, where it's illegal to test cosmetics on animals, at least one company was found to still be testing on animals.
Mind you, this is in a country where there are actual legal consequences for testing on animals, not the United States where your only punishment is ZOMG THE WRATH OF PETA. (Okay, and the wrath of the rest of us vegans.) I also simply love the fact that PETA's "Fur trim is unattractive ad," which mocks women who don't meticulously shave their pubes, was put out around the same time PETA was in a huge fight with Gillette over their animal testing policies. Got hypocrisy, PETA?

Now, I know another argument would be that the FDA shouldn't require animal testing and we should have alternatives. Obviously that's true, but we don't have alternatives right now so until we do, women can't live up to PETA's standards without engaging in some form of animal abuse. (And I would argue that even then, they shouldn't have to.) Furthermore, contrary to the views of many, though not all, animal rights environmentalist folks, entirely plant-based makeup and other beauty enhancements are simply never going to have the effectiveness of chemicals and invasive procedures. Many of my comrades are very defensive about this, seeing it as a claim that plants and other natural remedies are a failure. But I'm an environmentalist too, and rather than seeing it as a failure of plants, we should see it as a failure of impossible beauty standards. Because if plants are such an utter failure at making women look a certain way, that simply means that it's not natural to expect women to look the way we're expected to. This defensiveness about plants as great beauty aids does none of us any good, especially when there are so many genuinely great, effective things about plants that we could be focusing on.

The take-home message? The cult of beauty is simply not compatible with animal rights or environmentalism. If you, as an animal rights organization, are intentionally and knowingly furthering fascist beauty standards through your use of ads, you are doing worse than nothing for animal rights. You are encouraging people to engage in practices that require the torture of animals. You are encouraging women to spend money on animal torture. You are encouraging mindless consumerism and destruction of the planet through unnecessary packaging and toxins that we wash off our faces or excrete into sewer systems. You are encouraging your own models to use animal torture to enhance the so-called beauty that you demand of them. You are encouraging women to hate themselves. You are alienating vegans who don't fit your fascist beauty standards and who have no interest in engaging in animal torture to achieve your standards. In short, you have lost. the. plot.

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posted by The Venerable Vegan Empress @ 6:35 PM   6 comments
Sunday, March 8, 2009
Blog theme: A boring, non-PETA-related post
Just in case anybody's wondering (or even reading, LOL!) the green rainbow theme I have up right now isn't permanent. I really like it, aside from the fact that the title is separated from the text by that cute picture, but I don't think it really captures the atmosphere of this blog. If anybody can point me to any resources, I'd be eternally grateful. I feel like I've been all over the Internet looking for a good theme, but nothing has really struck me yet. To make things still more difficult, art and design are totally not my thing, otherwise I'd just make one myself. Bah humbug.

UPDATE: Okay, I got rid of the bears-and-rainbows banner, but now I have to figure out how to change my blog description to a readable color rather than the grey that Blogger thinks it should be. Unfortunately, this is proving almost as difficult as convincing PETA that the KKK isn't funny.

posted by The Venerable Vegan Empress @ 4:02 PM   0 comments
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Now what?
Well, damn. I did not expect to be starting a blog today, but lately I've been consumed with thoughts of how much I hate PETA, and since "Vegans Against PETA" is one of the most-searched terms on Google, I decided I'd better start this blog before the hate group that is PETA tries to make one of their interns register it or something.

Anyhow, why do I hate PETA, especially given the fact that I myself am vegan? Well, I really hope you're not too attached to PETA, because I really don't have anything nice to say about them. In fact, I'll probably call you names and make you cry if you try to defend them, so maybe you should just head over to instead of wasting your time here.*

But for those of you who are genuinely curious as to why I and many many other vegans hate PETA, or if you're feeling masochistic and just want a recap, here's just the briefest list before I retire to my richly canopied brocade and damask bed (I am an empress, you know):

PETA hates women. A whole lot. Okay, that's not entirely true. They really like dead and/or abused women. It could be their new motto! "The only good woman is a sexy dead one." Hey, dead women don't eat meat, right, PETA?

Although PETA is perfectly willing to exploit women's bodies to get attention, they also think we should be ashamed of our natural bodies. Funny that.

PETA hates transpeople. When viewing this ad, please keep in mind that transfolk are 17 times more likely than cisgender people to be murdered, and are the most likely to be murdered of any minority group. Every year in November a day of remembrance is held throughout the United States where the names of all transgender murder victims from the past year are read, and candles are lit for them; oftentimes the programs for these events are out of date by the time the vigil happens because another murder has happened in the few days between printing and the Day of Remembrance. Given these facts, the blood on the transwoman in this ad cannot be construed as anything other than a mockery of the rampant murder of transgender people.

PETA hates black people.

PETA hates Jewish people.

PETA thinks lesbian relationships are a big ole' fucking joke and that lesbians should only exist for the pleasure of straight men. (In one of the videos of this bile -- I don't know if it's in this one, I'm not watching it again -- one of the women in the video giggles at the end, "But we're straight!")

PETA comes into towns where other animal rights groups have done hard work to make changes, then takes the credit for those changes. In some cases they prevent those changes from happening at all. (Although other posters at this forum discuss it, I'm thinking especially of Mary's post at June 19, 2005, 10:22 am.)

PETA has their very own craptastic "rescue" program, in which 97 percent of animals they take in wind up being euthanized. By contrast, humane societies in Virginia (PETA's home state) typically euthanize 35 percent of the animals they take in. Read this if you want to learn a little more about how sick they are on this front.

For all their hoopla about the evils of fur, they're not nearly as militant about leather. Oh sure, they have their totally objectified leather police (not linking) and have a few leather campaigns, but I have yet to see them douse a member of a biker gang with flour for wearing leather. (And how cool does Samantha Ronson sound in this article, seriously? PETA could take some tips from her on Being a Responsible and Rational Adult.) I'm thinking this isn't so much an oversight as yet another manifestation of PETA's rampant misogyny, because as the saying goes, "People are more violently opposed to fur than leather because it's safer to harass rich women than motorcycle gangs."

They use pit bulls to get donations and sympathy, yet support totally exterminating the entire breed -- supposedly because they're too likely to be abused. I wonder if they think women should be exterminated, too? Except oh wait, then they'd have a lot fewer people to exploit in their ads....

Anyhow, that brocade and damask bed. It's calling me now. I leave you with a poem that, according to legend, was created by some brilliant minds at Vegan Freak. At some point in the future I shall pontificate upon the rules and philosophy of this blog and how to ensure that it doesn't have the unintended effect of giving PETA free publicity and furthering the hate they spew. But for now:

Hush lil' baby don't say a word
Ingrid Newkirk is a big ole turd.
And if she cooks you food to eat.
It will be stuffed with "happy meat."

*Ha ha, that site doesn't really exist, you dumbshit PETA interns!

“You can stand tall without standing on someone. You can be a victor without having victims.”
--Harriet Woods.

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posted by The Venerable Vegan Empress @ 6:45 PM   6 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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