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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.   
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  
  • At June 4, 2009 at 12:32 PM, Blogger Lucas said…

    I think your theory is very interesting - that PETA is a patsy for the meat industry. There is quite a history of COINTEL PRO and other infiltrations of movements, I don't see why the "animal rights and/or vegan movement" would be any different. It's clear that vegans and animal rights activists pose a serious threat to the profitable status quo; capitalism, consumerimsm, exploitation, and oppression. Between PETA desperately attempting to, and often mirroring, the status quo and "animal rights activists/strict vegans" (from the descriptions in the news) making it to the top of the list of domestic terrorists, I'd say that a movement founded on non-violence, non-exploitation, anti-oppression, and compassion has been seriously compromised. Intentionally? Well, I look forward to you working through your theory in order to explore that topic some more.
    Great stuff!


  • At June 5, 2009 at 8:24 AM, Blogger The Venerable Vegan Empress said…

    Yes, and the way COINTELPRO got activists fighting amongst and against each other is another great example of what PETA does. I haven't seen them dividing and inflaming the conservative community -- they really actually unite them. But by being an enormously misogynist, racist, transphobic, homophobic, ableist and classist group, and because animal rights is more often embraced by progressives, they really, really divide the community. If you think about it, PETA is a conservative's wet dream, because it gets progressives attacking each other every time PETA comes up with a new campaign, and at the same time their campaigns add more hateful, stereotypical representations of oppressed people to the world, so it's a great win-win situation for conservatives -- progressives are busy throwing punches at each other, and more people are exposed to hateful images of the groups conservatives dislike (women, trans people, black people, Jewish people, etc).

    This also really crystallized in my mind after reading the threads on this ad at Shakesville and Feministe. In both cases, the comment threads turned into a clusterfuck of anger and misunderstanding, with opportunistic PETA trolls coming in to inflame things, and eventually comments on both threads were closed down. At Shakesville, Melissa hasn't been around since then; if she ends up closing the blog because PETA's bullshit put her over the edge, I swear to Isis and every Goddess in history that I am going to get PETA shut down. This is too far. It is way, way too far; not only are they destroying animal rights, they're destroying the entire progressive movement.

  • At June 5, 2009 at 9:39 AM, Blogger Topher said…

    I don't know about PETA being a patsy for the meat industry (entirely possible). I think that PETA really has just fallen in love with celebrity. Its willingness to exploit tragedies, women, GLBT, and the poor, as means to that end. Makes me wonder if they view animal rights the same way, as a means to get on TV. Rather then pursue methods that might actually work to change people's minds, PETA does some stupid, offensive, stunt and signs up five teenagers looking for an excuse to hide their eating disorders and offends tons of people who might be persuaded to change some of their eating habits.

    This love of celebrity only makes it harder for attention to go to groups that really are pursuing effective strategies to further animal rights and change people's eating habits. I think it all comes down to PETA really loves seeing PETA on TV. It cares shit about animals. That is just a means to an end.

  • At June 6, 2009 at 6:56 PM, Blogger The Venerable Vegan Empress said…

    Hi Topher! Yeah, those are definitely good points as well. I'll fully admit there are plenty of things that don't fit with the possibility of PETA being a meat industry pawn, such as the fact that Ingrid Newkirk was there at the beginning when PETA really did good things, yet she's the one who's at the helm now and most of their really bad ideas come from or are enthusiastically supported by her. Of course, her background in law enforcement and past position as a deputy sheriff also make me a little suspicious -- not that all law enforcement people are OMG TEH EVIL, but, well, a lot of them are pretty awful, and it also means that she could have some contacts from her old world who might have persuaded her to use PETA for not-so-vegan ends. Plus she's so super secretive about her life and hardly ever even lets anybody come to her apartment and doesn't appear to have any real friends. Maybe I think this is typical of an FBI agent because I've watched too many movies about FBI agents, though! :)

    In addition, I also know the depths of misogyny and racism and other bigotries that many progressives paradoxically harbor. Sometimes I wonder if my PETA theory isn't also rooted in my own disbelief that progressives could be so mean and bigoted, when I know perfectly well that they can, just like anybody else.

    And I was just thinking the same thing the other day re: PETA's true attitude toward animal rights -- if they really view human lives so callously and as being so disposable, how can they possibly view animal rights seriously? Compassion is compassion, period. Seeking attention for the sake of attention does nothing to further compassion generally or animal rights specifically.

  • At May 18, 2010 at 4:23 AM, Blogger Vanilla Rose said…

    I don't like PETA, and the choice of location seems very bad taste. But I do see the logic in general behind the slogan.


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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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