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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.   
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Sexualisation for the Sake of it
Aloha, anti-PETA expositors! This scorching summer day brings you a fabulous takedown of PETA's latest buffoonery, courtesy of Alderson Warm-Fork, author of Directionless Bones. It regards the ridiculous stunt described here, which sadly, is PETA's first campaign in South America. I mean, really, PETA? You couldn't start with an exposé of factory farms or otherwise describe where the meat on people's plates comes from? That says it all with regard to what PETA thinks of South Americans' values and intelligence, I think -- at least in the States and Europe they've done some actual uncovering of factory farm conditions.

Anyhow, without further ado, allow me to hand it over to Alderson:

A recurrent theme in animal-rights rhetoric is an attempt to connect with other
struggles against oppression, to present the abuse of animals as similar to the
abuse of different sorts of humans.

Now, for many people, the leftist revolutionaries of Latin America, from Fidel
Castro to Evo Morales to Salvador Allende, are a key example of that struggle
against oppression. So if you were an animal rights group and you found that the
granddaughter of Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara was a vegetarian and was willing to work
with you, it would seem that you have a campaign ready made.

You might, for example, have her in an outfit and posture that echoes famous
poses that Che Guevara often held. You could use a slogan like “Join the
vegetarian revolution”. It’s a brilliant plan. It’s got a striking image with a
lot of resonance, and it’s also got a point that can be backed up (the
connections between different forms of oppression, the need for revolutionary
change in human-animal relations, the willingness to endorse militant tactics,

It’s controversial, sure – Guevara is a controversial figure, hated by some and
loved by others. But let’s suppose you have no problem taking controversial
stances. And perhaps your main plan is to run the campaign in Latin America,
where Guevara’s very popular.

But now, imagine that you’re also PETA. Now a problem emerges. There’s a woman
in your poster, but there’s nothing sexual about it. Nobody’s going to get a
boner out of simply seeing someone in an inspiring pose of resolute defiance.
What can you do?

I guess you’ll just have to make her semi-naked. Get her tits out, yeah? Cover
them with an ammo belt of carrots, sure, but make sure that she’s clearly in a
state of undress. After all, she’d rather go naked than wear fur, amiright?

Never mind that there’s absolutely no reason for a sexualised image in a poster
themed around Che Guevara and revolution. He is hardly famous for having posed
nude while storming Havana.

And never mind that it introduces a completely conflicting message that is
liable to undermine the actual point – that will encourage viewers to look and
think ‘I’d like to do her’ rather than ‘I’d like to aid her in doing something

Never mind that you’re sending the message that women must always be sexual,
even when the subject at issue – political relatives – has nothing to do with
sex at all. Never mind that you’re encouraging a culture where every bit of the
media features soft-core porn and women are pervasively judged in sexual terms.

That’s all beside the point. This campaign might get more attention now, and
that’s all that matters. Nice one PETA.

posted by The Venerable Vegan Empress @ 6:00 AM   1 comments
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Non-violence, my ass

PETA makes me realize that the English language simply does not have enough angry swear words, or enough non-degrading ways to express contempt. In their latest woman-hating stunt, PETA has "offered" to buy the clinic of slain abortion doctor George Tiller -- yes, in Wichita, the very same city where they were attempting to traumatize residents and capitalize on Tiller's murder by posting these billboards.

And what do they want to call it? "The Nonviolence for All Beings Center." Sometimes I wonder if PETA's PR people aren't plucked straight from the Onion's newsroom, except that the Onion's humor is intentional and sometimes actually has redeeming social value. PETA's humor, on the other hand, just serves to show how self-centered and hypocritical they are. Really, PETA endorsing non-violence for everybody? The people who show videos of a woman being stripped and beaten to death, who make the rampant murder of transgender people a joke, who dress up as the KKK, who stick women half-naked into cages, who steal from the Holocaust museum and show women as half-naked murdered meat on the street? Everything about PETA, from their actual campaigns to the number of dogs and cats they euthanize to their ways of interacting with oppressed people, is violent. I absolutely cannot believe that they would co-opt the work that non-violence activists have done and twist it for their own hateful, bigoted ends, ends which every day have less and less to do with helping animals and more and more to do with their own greed for attention and hatred for oppressed groups.

posted by The Venerable Vegan Empress @ 10:43 AM   0 comments
Friday, June 12, 2009
Animal rights and control of women's bodies
I am so at the fucking end of my rope right now with the goddamn animal rights movement. No, I'm not going to go out and eat a goddamn steak or some immature, illogical shit like that, because it's not like cows ask some vegans to be obnoxious, vicious, triggering assholes. I would, however, like the animal rights movement to extend 1,209,348th of the respect to women's bodies, and all human bodies, that they extend to animals.

This is because I just went to a speech by a supposedly famous vegan who I'd never heard of before that literally has me wanting to hurt myself really badly. It's a good thing I'm a fucking hairy feminist or I'd know right where my razors are and I'd be up and running with them – of course PETA would disagree about hiding razors and be mortified that I'd rather be hairy and female than bleeding all over the carpet and sheets – but that's a story for another time.

Anyhow, in the aforementioned speech, a schmancy-ass vegan from New York obsessed over food and told us how going vegan made! her! skinny! Which is really funny, because it's made me gain 20 pounds in the last year since I started again. I've been struggling with my weight gain a lot, although I don't even weigh that much, and it's made my relationship with food really disordered and fucked up. The only time it's been this messed up was after I was raped and lost tons of weight, thus becoming a Model of Good Veganism. I haven't yet begun restricting my food intake as much as I did then because physically I feel better than I have for a long time, although this starts to recede every time I look in the mirror.

The thing is, for rape survivors, a HUUUUUGE part of recovery is becoming comfortable and non-hateful toward your body once again. When I was really little I hated how I looked because of Disney movies, yet although I never really came close to actually liking my body, I grew into an acceptance and natural flow with it. As long as I treated it well, it treated me well and that was all that really mattered.

But of course, rape changes that. The act itself, obviously, is the worst loss of control you can imagine. What happens after that, for many survivors, is an epically nightmarish continuation of that. Assholes who don't give a shit about ending rape fault you if you don't report it and criticize every aspect of your recovery, every shitnozzle in the world feels entitled to tell you how to get over it and when to get over it, you have vicious nightmares that you can't control, you have waking nightmares in the middle of the workday or when you're out with friends, you argue with longtime friends because they all think rape is hee-larious, your muscles start to tense up and even spasm because you're under so much stress all the time until your entire upper body is a fire pit of pain; basically nothing is under your control anymore, and you realize just how little ever was within your control.

Fast forward to years later, and suddenly you realize that one of the most important aspects of your life is being twisted by people who would like to control your body and actions in much the same way that the aftermath of rape did. I'm not talking about the (obvious) fact that vegans ask people not to eat animal products – indeed, consumption of animal products is simply asking people to not do something to other beings without their consent, so the control issues there really lie with omnivores.

However, the animal rights movement seems to increasingly be co-opted by people who equate thinness and obsessive exercise with moral goodness. This speaker harped on everybody in the audience about the importance of exercise, self-righteously telling us to go to the gym nearly every day (because hey, we all have the money for that, right?!?) and at one point she even said, “I don't care if you hate physical activity -- do it anyways!” And then she tried to go on about how oh, she hated gym in school too, but now she looooves exercise!

Well, I'm sorry Ms. Society, but you obviously didn't experience what some people did in gym. I'm not disparaging the importance of exercising, but just saying that to be that flippant about it is callous and extremely privileged. Why not say, “If you hate exercise, try to get therapy so you can perhaps work out your issues with it, or try out some types of activity you haven't tried before?” I mean, hell, girls get raped quite frequently by athletes in locker rooms after phy ed, and some kids have really, really serious issues that arise from how they were treated in gym. One of my first elementary school memories is of a group of boys surrounding a fat kid in gym, a kid who was one of the sweetest, most harmless people you could ever meet, dancing around him screaming “Horny Henriett-AH, Horny Henriett-AH!!!” while he cried and lashed out at them and the teachers did nothing. To this day I can still see the looks on most of their faces, including the boy who was their target, and it was horrifying. If it was that horrifying for me, I can only imagine what it was like for him – and from then on, all through elementary, middle and high school, he was a favorite target of bullies in gym class. One could hardly blame him, I think, if he hated exercise to this day and rarely engaged in it.

I was also a target, not to the same extent, but because of a minor eye disability I'm really shitty at sports and have had a hard time finding enjoyable ways to exercise, for both physical and emotional reasons. (For example, I don't have emotional issues with biking, because we never did it in gym, but my disability makes it difficult in certain situations.) And the thing is, sure, exercise is good for you, but why the fuck does it become a moral issue, particularly in the animal rights movement? Aren't we advocating for justice for animals, not the eradication of ZOMG FAT!!!!?!?!

Furthermore, is it only a moral choice if not exercising makes you fat? What about all the thin people who don't exercise – are they A-OK because they're not shaming the animal rights movement with their unsightly, un-patriarchy-approved fatness? After all, if it were really about health we should also be shaming people who smoke, or who work in dangerous environments, or people who don't get their houses tested for radon, which is the second leading cause of lung cancer. Given the environmental issues surrounding radon, one would think this would be something the animal rights movement would be hopping right on, since the environment affects animals too. And really, not getting your house tested for radon affects EVERYONE in your house, whereas not exercising affects only you – so why the obsession with exercise and thinness in animal rights? I mean, if you're going to encourage exercise so we can run away from angry security guards after an undercover filming of a factory farm, hey, that I could get behind – but until I plan to participate in something like that, you have NO FUCKING RIGHT to tell me what to do with my body. And really, we all know it's not so we can run away from security guards -- it's because some assholes think beautiful people will better attract followers to our cause than exposing abuse of animals in factory farms.

And so, they start telling us what we can and can't do as vegans, and telling irrelevant, alienating stories about their weight. Well, I am a woman. I am a rape survivor. I have had about all I can stand of people telling me what I can and can't do with my body, and if it doesn't benefit animals, it has no fucking place in the animal rights movement. Start your own goddamn exercise movement if you want, but leave me in peace and don't give me any more reasons to hate my body. I already have plenty. I came here to save animals, not shame myself, so move the fuck out of the way and let me do that. Because I sure as shit will not be a lot of help to the movement when I'm starving and sobbing in my bed, as I will be for many nights to come after this drivel.

posted by The Venerable Vegan Empress @ 9:01 PM   3 comments
Monday, June 8, 2009
Perhaps people will start seeing the light now...
PETA's exploitation of Dr. George Tiller's murder has sparked a shitstorm the likes of which I haven't yet seen against them. I don't know why their other heinous stunts haven't caused quite this level of outrage (since those other stunts still, in many cases, exploit tragedies) but hey, at least more vegans and vegetarians are finally publicly giving them the ol' finger.

The latest awesome screed to pop into my inbox is from the North Star Writers Group:

I’ve been abstaining from meat-eating for a little over four years now, and I relate to PeTA’s goals and aims, but their execution is intentionally offensive and terribly miscalculated. I’ve never met a meat-eater who was talked into vegetarianism by a PeTA ad (granted, one of their underground slaughterhouse exposés solidified my vegetarianism, but the video showed raw facts as opposed to the inflated, controversial rhetoric of some of their recent campaigns). And yet I’ve heard plenty of people exclaim: “Just for that, PeTA, I’m going to go grill me a nice 24-ounce steak.”

Anti-PETA vegetarians and vegans, unite, and let us flock to Mercy for Animals, or Compassion Over Killing, or HSUS, or Farm Sanctuary, or, well, any AR group but PETA!

posted by The Venerable Vegan Empress @ 5:35 PM   0 comments
Saturday, June 6, 2009
Stupid PETA news round-up
Since I know we all just crave the feeling of moral and intellectual superiority that only learning about PETA can give us, here's a roundup of stupid PETA tricks that I just didn't have the stomach or time to write about.

At the always-fabulous Muslimah Media Watch, Krista has the breakdown of PETA's latest racist stunt -- they've claimed that beating women is part of local practice in the Middle East. (Funny, because beating women is part of local practice at PETA, too.) Glass houses, PETA shitheads, glass houses. Also note that PETA idiotface Dan Mathews is quoted often in this article; the guy's an ignorant, hateful nutcase and I'm gonna have an article on him soon. Oh, and PETA's official position is now that Canadians are "Neanderthals." Stay classy, PETA, and keep showing the people how much you respect them...

A college newspaper called the Advocate (not the same as the LGBT mag) has a great article called PETA: A lesson in staggering irrelevance.

Gay Wired reports (with a stupidly offensive headline) that PETA spokesobject Audrina Partridge is starring in an ad for burger joint Carl's Jr. She salivates at the burgers when she arrives on set and wears a skimpy gold bikini that would make the PETA idiots proud, if only she were doing it to prove that only vegans are sexy! In the woman-hating pissing match between PETA and the meat industry, I shall be cheering for casualties.

A friend sent along an article called The Problem with PETA. Here's an excerpt from the beginning:

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) was founded in 1980 and has since become the most recognizable animal protection group in the world. They deserve a lot of credit for almost single-handedly putting animal rights issues on the radar of the U.S. public. As concern for animals becomes more mainstream, however, much of PETA's public education work seems outdated and potentially even counterproductive. Has PETA outlived its usefulness and/or has its approach to generating media tarnished the image of its fellow animal advocates? Whatever the answer, it's a question worth asking.

Finally, it is a sad comment that PETA's celebrity craziness has me confused every time I see a headline on their thoughts on seal hunting. When I see such headlines, I keep wondering why anybody would hunt a talented British singer.

posted by The Venerable Vegan Empress @ 8:26 PM   0 comments
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
PETA wants to own your uterus

Most people who read this blog have likely heard already, but PETA's now hoping to capitalize on the murder of Kansas abortion provider Dr. George Tiller. They want to get these billboards put up in Wichita, where Tiller practiced and where he was murdered. In addition to what I would hope are the obvious problems with such an idea, PETA seems to take the right-wing view that pro-choicers want to force women into getting abortions rather than that we want women to be able to CHOOSE whatever is right for them; we don't say, "Pro-choice? Choose abortion!" We say, "Pro-choice? Make an informed decision and do whatever is best for you." And that may be any number of things, from giving birth and raising a child to adoption to abortion. And I'm just gonna go out on a limb here and say I'm guessing PETA's position isn't that people should choose to be meat-eaters, pescetarians or vegans and that all choices are equally valid. Under this approach, there really is no accurate way to draw a parallel between abortion and vegetarianism -- although I do find it interesting that after being so often compared to pro-life extremists, PETA now seems to be aligning themselves with that camp by cheapening and exploiting Tiller's murder and insinuating that pro-choicers are out to tell everyone what to do while using language that is eerily reminiscent of pro-lifers' "Choose Life" mantra.

I suppose I shouldn't be surprised -- PETA has already tried to capitalize on murder and misogyny in the past by comparing the women murdered by pig farmer Robert Pickton to pigs. (To see the actual ad, go here.) Therefore, I shouldn't be at all surprised to see that PETA sees murder and brutal violence and assaults on women's freedom as a marketing opportunity, since they flat-out see women's bodies as nothing but marketing opportunities anyhow, but this is a new low even for PETA. It really, really furthers my theory that they're some kind of patsy for the meat industry. Nobody who wants to discourage animal cruelty (or be a decent fucking person) can honestly think this is a good idea, can they?

UPDATE: Two major billboard owners in Wichita, George Lay Signs and Clear Channel, have rejected PETA's ads, thankfully. Although PETA's still grandstanding as though they have other options, if Wichita is like most other American cities, Clear Channel likely owns the vast majority of billboard space. I really never thought I'd see the day when I'd agree with Clear Channel on anything, frankly.

posted by The Venerable Vegan Empress @ 8:28 PM   5 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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