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February 8, 2013 3:43 AM   Subscribe

Ad agency Ogilvy & Mather has created a new animated campaign for PETA

From the New York Times article about the campaign:

The advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather has created an animated video for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, just in time for Fashion Week. In a reversal of roles, animals in exotic outfits are seen preening on a catwalk, while backstage naked humans are confined to cages. Although the spot doesn’t directly target China or other Asian countries that supply fur and leather products, including India, the only caged human clearly visible is a Chinese girl. Ogilvy’s Beijing office produced the video.

PETA must take a different approach with China, in part because protests aren’t allowed, said Dan Mathews, its senior vice president. The animal-rights group has been successful enlisting Chinese media stars to wear anti-fur T-shirts. PETA has also worked with animal protection groups to raise public awareness. “That sort of thing has been fine,” Mr. Mathews said. “It’s about making a lifestyle choice. We’ve had to be very careful because of cultural sensitivities.”

On the cosmetics front, PETA has been increasingly successful changing attitudes in China about the use of animals in testing for beauty products. China has become a major consumer of Western cosmetics brands but, according to Mr. Mathews, doesn’t observe the strict testing standards initiated by the United States and the European Union. He’s confident, though, that things are changing. “We’ve replaced protests with diplomacy,” he said.
posted by Megami (60 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
...pledge never to wear fur, leather, wool, down, or exotic skins.

I'm not sure I would be morally averse to human hair being made into fashionable gowns, but I certainly wouldn't want to be around if they caught fire.
posted by monkeymadness at 3:55 AM on February 8, 2013


> The animal-rights group has been successful enlisting Chinese media stars to wear anti-fur T-shirts.

Cotton has a soul too, you monsters.
posted by davelog at 4:35 AM on February 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


No mention of the fact that the animals are wearing people skin?

Interesting, but grotesque enough, dark enough, and confusing enough that I would tend to turn if off the instant it came on the screen.
posted by HuronBob at 4:37 AM on February 8, 2013


I think that, for pretty much anyone who hasn't grown up in the US, PETA will probably always seem like a bunch of nutters. They perfectly encapsulate how Americans will often take an ostensibly sensible idea (not being cruel to other animals) and turn it into a kind of weird and embarrassing circus. See also US politics.
posted by pipeski at 4:40 AM on February 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Let's not generalize from PETA to "Americans"....
posted by HuronBob at 4:44 AM on February 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


There is a strange asymmetricallity to this and all the campaigns like it I've ever seen. They're all about cruelty in fashion, furs, cosmetics, feathers, and ladies leather gloves; but you never see any that encourage us to judge men for their choices in leather jackets, or wool shirts, rabbit foot tchotchkes, decapitated wall ornaments, tooth necklaces, or car interiors. No one ever dumps red paint on fully decked out bikers in leather everything, only women who just seem so much more natural to judge.

I wonder why.
posted by Blasdelb at 4:45 AM on February 8, 2013 [51 favorites]


"No one ever dumps red paint on fully decked out bikers in leather everything".... Maybe, just maybe, it has something to do with not wanting to get your ass kicked, eh? Perhaps the folks at PETA aren't willing to make THAT sacrifice for their beliefs?
posted by HuronBob at 4:55 AM on February 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


"Maybe, just maybe, it has something to do with not wanting to get your ass kicked, eh?"

They don't dump red paint on businessman wearing leather shoes, leather belts, and silk ties either.
posted by Blasdelb at 5:14 AM on February 8, 2013 [9 favorites]


Oh great, give PETA more media coverage, like they aren't already a bunch of attention whores who get way too much attention with stupid provocative shock stunts that don't amount to a hill of beans.

They cast a negative light on everyone who might have ever thought to themselves in a quiet moment it might be nice to be respectful to animals instead of treating them only as things to hunt or profit from. It'd be better if they just went away.
posted by JHarris at 5:18 AM on February 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Let's not generalize from PETA to "Americans"....

Sorry, no intention to imply that the majority of Americans aren't perfectly normal. It's just that there's a tendency for vocal minorities of crazy people to drown out the signal.
posted by pipeski at 5:23 AM on February 8, 2013


Uhm, the entire ad is sure visceral in the message it presents, but as someone who is not a Peta member, and also thinks that fur/animal skin is unnecessary for modern clothing, that ad wouldn't make me into a Peta supporter.

Revulsion doesn't normally lead to support for a cause.
posted by Faintdreams at 5:25 AM on February 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Going on record as an American to say most of us think PETA is just a bunch of nutters. Believe me when I say I don't really know of anyone that sees PETA as a normal, level-headed and well adjusted group.
posted by Twain Device at 5:44 AM on February 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


well it's better than comparing fur-wearers to the Greyhound bus cannibal guy, I guess.
posted by angrycat at 5:54 AM on February 8, 2013


I'm not sure that the point of PETA is to significantly change the use of animal products. I rather think it's to make less extremist organisations look moderate, allowing them to be effective.
posted by Spanner Nic at 6:02 AM on February 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


...pledge never to wear fur, leather, wool, down, or exotic skins.

I'm not sure I would be morally averse to human hair being made into fashionable gowns, but I certainly wouldn't want to be around if they caught fire.


Wool "has lower rate of flame spread, low heat release, low heat of combustion, and does not melt or drip; it forms a char which is insulating and self-extinguishing, and contributes less to toxic gases and smoke than other flooring products, when used in carpets. Wool carpets are specified for high safety environments, such as trains and aircraft. Wool is usually specified for garments for firefighters, soldiers, and others in occupations where they are exposed to the likelihood of fire."

Um, yeah, I knit.
posted by like_neon at 6:05 AM on February 8, 2013 [10 favorites]


It's horrible that they think wearing animal products is the moral equivalent to keeping children and adults in cages. Also note that they usually have a few naked women draped somewhere in their pitiful shock campaigns. While they claim to have a moral high-ground, objectification of women clearly falls outside the boundary of what they care about.
posted by a womble is an active kind of sloth at 6:12 AM on February 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm not sure that the point of PETA is to significantly change the use of animal products. I rather think it's to make less extremist organisations look moderate, allowing them to be effective.

Or conversely, to suck all the oxygen out of the room on the subject of animal rights. If PETA isn't (on at least some level of the organization) a false-flag operation specifically designed to discredit the larger animal-rights movement through crazy antics, I'd be very surprised.
posted by Strange Interlude at 6:14 AM on February 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Interestingly, a few of my friends follow PETA (perhaps PETA Canada?) on facebook and repost a lot of their pictures. They're consistently good, from a perspective of being convincing and not egregiously sexist or problematic.

Not sure why - I wonder if, being "lesser" than the traditional media, it's run primarily by a crew that gets a bit less oversight from HQ.
posted by Lemurrhea at 6:15 AM on February 8, 2013


Revulsion doesn't normally lead to support for a cause.

Briefly playing devil's advocate (I loathe PETA, mostly because they have awful gender politics), different people are moved to support different causes for many different reasons. Revulsion, love, outrage, hope, fear. There's nothing wrong with more than one approach, because what speaks to one person won't speak to another, and just because one group's approach doesn't speak to us personally, that doesn't mean it's wrong or ineffective.

A lot of criticism here is coming from people who aren't ever going to get involved in animal rights anyway. Well, guess what? The ad probably wasn't for you. But I could definitely see it giving that last little nudge to someone already having serious doubts for the first time about how our culture uses other living things.

Even when I first went vegan I wasn't fond of PETA at all. But disgust is a valid tactic. I just wish this group had more cards than the two they play: disgust and naked women. They seem to emulate so much about the culture which creates the problems they oppose.
posted by Mike Smith at 6:16 AM on February 8, 2013 [6 favorites]


I love animals but I ignore everything PETA has ever done.
posted by tommasz at 6:16 AM on February 8, 2013


"I'm not sure that the point of PETA is to significantly change the use of animal products. I rather think it's to make less extremist organisations look moderate, allowing them to be effective."

"Or conversely, to suck all the oxygen out of the room on the subject of animal rights. If PETA isn't (on at least some level of the organization) a false-flag operation specifically designed to discredit the larger animal-rights movement through crazy antics, I'd be very surprised."
While we all fall over each other to distance ourselves from the crazy people at PETA, I found these two opposing yet bizarrely equal models for understanding the PETA phenomenon fascinating. It’s almost like the idea that a minority of people will take a vaguely agreeable idea and just run with it past any sense of proportion is somehow implausible in the face of a possible massive coordinated conspiracy.
posted by Blasdelb at 6:31 AM on February 8, 2013


I'm sure most Peta members are just run-of-the-mill vegetarians and vegans. Nice, mild, reasonable creatures, no worse than anyone here. The over-the-top ads are calculated to get people talking and thinking about animal rights. It works over and over again. Every damn time they put out an ad, someone posts about it here.

I haven't seen any ad test results, so I don't know whether they actually convert anyone directly, but (as shown by threads like this) they certainly get over the first and hardest hurdle, which is to get meat-loving, leather-wearing, fur-wearing people to listen to a message about something they otherwise might not think about (animal rights, vegetarianism, veganism, etc.). Here is their claim:
This approach has proved amazingly successful: In the three decades since PETA was founded, it has grown into the largest animal rights group in the country, with more than 3 million members and supporters worldwide. We have also had major groundbreaking successes, such as bringing about the first-ever cruelty conviction against an animal experimenter in the case of the now-famous Silver Spring Monkeys; orchestrating the first-ever raid on an agricultural facility (a factory farm in upstate New York that raised ducks for foie gras under horribly cruel conditions); and convincing more than 200 cosmetics companies to permanently abandon animal tests.
How would you convert people to vegetarianism? If you have a brilliant idea for getting Joe Average to stop eating hamburgers and wearing leather, and to energize people who are already on their side, I'm sure Peta has a lot of advertising dollars to throw at you.
posted by pracowity at 6:35 AM on February 8, 2013 [7 favorites]


I personally wear steel wool sweaters, shorn from the finest electric sheep.
posted by symbioid at 6:38 AM on February 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I just wish this group had more cards than the two they play: disgust and naked women.

But they do. It's just that their shock tactics get more press. Around campus here there are lots of newspaper boxes full of on of their pamphlets. It's a very straightforward introduction to vegetarianism. There's a little bit of rhetoric and lots of recipes. Russell Simmons is on the cover, smiling and fully clothed.

Cotton has a soul too, you monsters.

That didn't take long.
posted by hydrophonic at 6:41 AM on February 8, 2013


It's funny, my young niece is gradually converting me [back] to being mostly vegetarian without sermons, without moralizing, and without shock tactics or histrionics. She's just been a vegetarian since she was young enough to have announced that she was going to become a "vegtabletarian," and is healthy and wise for her age and has been for some time. She leads by example, without being doctrinaire, and I think that's a very good way to spread any message.
posted by sonascope at 7:20 AM on February 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


Cotton has a soul too, you monsters.

That didn't take long.


Seriously.

If anyone happens to be fond of these kinds of "jokes," they should know that a friend's dad was also fond of them a quarter century ago. But if you're cool recycling jokes that operate at an '80s Prairie Accountant Dad level of humour, git on with yer bad self, I guess.

She leads by example, without being doctrinaire, and I think that's a very good way to spread any message.

Fantastic. Sincerely. Meanwhile, I was convinced, way back in the day, by an incredibly preachy punk rock album. Being provocative in itself isn't wrong.
posted by Mike Smith at 7:26 AM on February 8, 2013 [1 favorite]



Wonder how PETA feels about pet ownership? Animals claiming ownership/property rights over other animals. Are all the animals in the barnyard equal? Animals exploit animals ethics only seem to matter to well fed animals of leisure.
posted by pdxpogo at 7:44 AM on February 8, 2013


I was a vegetarian for 20 years and I've always hated PETA.

pdxpogo, PETA is against pet ownership. Always has been. In fact, 10 or 15 years ago when the topic of bans on Pit Bulls was suggested, PETA said that they were for it--and for euthenasia of the dogs as well because that was better than having them live as enslaved animals.

They're also against animal testing or use in medication. So, for instance, in insulin, which contains animal products. What about diabetics who need the insulin? Fuck 'em, let 'em die. Unless they're one of PETA's own higher-ups, in which case the organization is for it because, like, "who will look out for the animals?" I shit you not--hypocrites through and through.

PETA is the left's NRA.
posted by dobbs at 7:49 AM on February 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


Here's Penn and Teller on PETA.
posted by dobbs at 7:53 AM on February 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


I thought it was a brilliant ad that displayed the barbarity of the whole situation quite well.
posted by asra at 7:55 AM on February 8, 2013 [7 favorites]


I thought the ad was effective and interesting, and I suspect it will in small ways affect my shopping behaviors. (I'm a vegetarian already. I've probably not bought my last pair of leather shoes, but the ad helps remind me that it's not just about food---and reminds me generally, and with a very easy to remember image, how bad treatment of animals can be.)

Then again also I enjoy corny old jokes.

I've felt some ambivalence about the ethics of pet-owning, pdxpogo. It would be interesting to hear thoughtful discussion about it.
posted by spbmp at 8:14 AM on February 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


I applied to work at PETA a while back, when I first moved to LA. Their interview process raised some concerns for me (posted about anonymously here) and I ended up not taking the job. Funnily enough, a few weeks later I was at an event where I met some PETA people from that same office... and they were totally nice and normal, and I felt kind of bad for missing out on the opportunity*.


*not to mention that right now I'm going through an even more ridiculous interview process for an even less glamorous job, which has already required two-inperson interviews, two days of working interview and is now asking for an additional week of working interview!
posted by Aubergine at 8:38 AM on February 8, 2013


I think that, for pretty much anyone who hasn't grown up in the US, PETA will probably always seem like a bunch of nutters. They perfectly encapsulate how Americans will often take an ostensibly sensible idea (not being cruel to other animals) and turn it into a kind of weird and embarrassing circus. See also US politics.

I always wonder who PETA's American constituency actually is, because I have literally never ever met anyone who likes them, and I hang around a very vegan/vegetarian/gluten-free/soy-free/nut-free/can't-eat-anything-but-celery-due-to-"sensitivities" crowd. (Well, I knew one girl back in high school who was a PETA member, but that was before they went off the tracks.)

I mean, they're grossly misogynist. They're transphobic. They appeal to some really dumb ideas about body shape. They are really "you must look like a model to count as a politically legitimate person". Their various local branches have done racist stuff, although unlike the transphobic stuff it didn't seem to come from the central office. Everyone I have ever met hates them. Vegans in my social circle routinely explain that they are vegan "but not like those people in PETA". If you ever need to bond with people who are a little uneasy about the whole veganism thing, a sure topic of conversation is how much everyone in the room loathes PETA. I don't know anyone who donates to them. I don't know anyone who views their ads as anything except a harmful embarrassment that actually gets in the way of organizing around food issues.

But even that is giving them too much credit - I spend plenty of time around people who do food access and food education work, who are vegan or vegetarian, and who just....consider PETA completely irrelevant. While we all hate PETA, nothing PETA-related ever comes up in the work that we do, because PETA does absolutely fuck all that is real and meaningful. I am just baffled by them when I can overcome my dislike.

Where does PETA get their money? I have often wondered if they aren't funded as a stalking horse by the meat industry.
posted by Frowner at 8:48 AM on February 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


I admit I found it kind of enjoyable as a bizarre grand guignol spectacle, up until the heavy-handed people in cages part. I mean, heavy-handed for me personally. I'm not a fur guy, there are very few fur guys in the US, but since this was done by Ogilvy Beijing, I give the benefit of the doubt here and assume that there is perhaps less awareness of the toll of cruelty levied on these animals in the production of furs etc.
posted by Mister_A at 9:14 AM on February 8, 2013


There is a strange asymmetricallity to this and all the campaigns like it I've ever seen. They're all about cruelty in fashion, furs, cosmetics, feathers, and ladies leather gloves; but you never see any that encourage us to judge men for their choices in leather jackets, or wool shirts, rabbit foot tchotchkes, decapitated wall ornaments, tooth necklaces, or car interiors. No one ever dumps red paint on fully decked out bikers in leather everything, only women who just seem so much more natural to judge.

There's a very long tradition of seeing luxury goods for women as a the quintessential markers of civilization pushed to the point of diseased superfluity. PETA are happy to push whatever buttons they know will work, and that's a button that has been pretty firmly wired into our patterns of thought from Mary Magdalene onwards.

On the ad itself, like all PETA ads it's simply begging the question. If you accept that there's no ethical difference between skinning humans and skinning cows then you'll find the ad effective--but then if you accept that you presumably already don't wear leather. If you do wear leather, you presumably do see an ethical difference, and so the ad just seems a non sequitur.
posted by yoink at 9:52 AM on February 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


I think that, for pretty much anyone who hasn't grown up in the US, PETA will probably always seem like a bunch of nutters.

I found it surprising to see so many YouTube comments in favor. Usually, it's very much the other way around.

Effective ad, imo.

I was a vegetarian for 20 years and I've always hated PETA.

Heh, that's probably why you're not a vegetarian anymore?

I have been vegetarian for 22 years and counting, and I ♥ PETA.

PETA is the left's NRA.

Go on ... where's the financial interest for PETA? What takes the place of the firearms industry and lobby in that analogy? Those powerful vegetable farmers?

They are really "you must look like a model to count as a politically legitimate person".

Some examples, please, or I call "projection."
posted by mrgrimm at 11:19 AM on February 8, 2013


Where does PETA get their money? I have often wondered if they aren't funded as a stalking horse by the meat industry.

Slander litigation? ;)

Who funds PETA? I do. You can too.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:23 AM on February 8, 2013


and ...
Name three of PETA's top contributors. Hint: "The Price Is Right" B.D.C. (before Drew Carey), "Real Time" and Jack Donaghy.

The correct answer: TV celebs Bob Barker, Bill Maher and Alec Baldwin.

In PETA's recently issued annual report, Barker and the Alec Baldwin Foundation appear among 17 names in the "President's Circle," listing contributors who donated more than 100 grand.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:28 AM on February 8, 2013


I always wonder who PETA's American constituency actually is, because I have literally never ever met anyone who likes them, and I hang around a very vegan/vegetarian/gluten-free/soy-free/nut-free/can't-eat-anything-but-celery-due-to-"sensitivities" crowd.

People I know in AR tend to be very interested in, aware of, and often involved in other struggles. For a lot of vegans willing to see animal rights in a broader context than diet and clothing choices alone, I think PETA is often repulsive or something to be tolerated at a distance.

There are probably also a lot of people who like them but feel pressure to not say so.
posted by Mike Smith at 11:34 AM on February 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


There are probably also a lot of people who like them but feel pressure to not say so.

Good point, considering the USDA has labled PETA supporters as "domestic special interest terrorists."

Lack of insider access to all levels of government is another pretty significant failure point in the PETA = NRA analogy.

You'll get a little more traction with the PETA = Al Qaeda analogy, except that PETA actually exists as a legal 501(c)(3).
posted by mrgrimm at 11:50 AM on February 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


In a reversal of roles, animals in exotic outfits are seen preening on a catwalk, while backstage naked humans are confined to cages.

Doesn't this already happen in China?
posted by FJT at 12:05 PM on February 8, 2013


PETA is the left's NRA.

That's actually a bad analogy because the NRA has an income model based on endorsement from an industry. While I'm sure a range of companies are happy to boast cruelty-free production (and more power to them) they aren't using PETA as a marketing face for animal welfare the way the gun lobby uses the NRA to, well, sell guns.

PETA, on the other hand, is a tightly-knit group of fanatics with a high level of legal and financial acumen that uses shock tactics as a marketing campaign. So as I have oft said in other conversations about them, a much better analogy is that they're the left's Westboro Baptist Church.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 2:12 PM on February 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


Blasdelb: "They're all about cruelty in fashion, furs, cosmetics, feathers, and ladies leather gloves; but you never see any that encourage us to judge men for their choices in leather jackets, or wool shirts, rabbit foot tchotchkes, decapitated wall ornaments, tooth necklaces, or car interiors. No one ever dumps red paint on fully decked out bikers in leather everything, only women who just seem so much more natural to judge. "

Not to pick a fight about this, but isn't there going to more than enough leather to go around, as long as some of us are eating beef or drinking milk?

Obviously, I can see why PETA would never take this approach publicly, but as long as cattle aren't being slaughtered specifically for leather production (which I don't think happens?), it's not a great use of the organization's resources to fight leather consumption.

If PETA are really interested in reducing cruel treatment of animals (rather than making a scene), they'll go after the low-hanging fruit, and encourage people to eat (and waste) less meat. Furs and wall ornaments are another good target, because they symbolize the wanton slaughter of animals for purposes of pure vanity.

It wouldn't surprise me at all if PETA were sexist, but as far I can tell, it's pretty silly for the organization to spend money protesting wall ornaments, leather jackets, or furs, given that all of these items are either relatively harmless, or very rare in modern society.

Seriously. Who still wears furs?
posted by schmod at 2:27 PM on February 8, 2013


It's horrible that they think wearing animal products is the moral equivalent to keeping children and adults in cages.

Why? It seems like a legitimate opinion. Do livestock not suffer? Can you articulate a moral difference? Is that difference one of kind or degree? How many animals can I hold captive, torture, kill and eat before I've done the moral equivalent of the same to a human? One, one million, a billion, infinite? What's the quality of our suffering that makes it morally superior to animal suffering? How do we condemn someone for having a moral opinion we don't share without showing our moral reasoning?

I'm genuinely curious here. I've been vegetarian and gone back to eating meat, but I'm not sure I can ever morally justify it by any rational calculus.
posted by BrotherCaine at 2:43 PM on February 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


If PETA are really interested in reducing cruel treatment of animals (rather than making a scene), they'll go after the low-hanging fruit, and encourage people to eat (and waste) less meat. Furs and wall ornaments are another good target, because they symbolize the wanton slaughter of animals for purposes of pure vanity.

This seems to me to make no sense at all from an animal rights perspective. If the life of every cow is as valuable and ethically significant as the life of every other animal then, really, why spend an ounce of effort on saving a few thousand mink when there are millions upon millions of cows being slaughtered every year? A 1% reduction in the number of slaughtered cows saves more lives than eliminating the fur trade in its entirety. That, surely, is the "low hanging fruit" here.

And why is a fur coat "pure vanity" any more than any other article of clothing? Furs are fantastically efficient at keeping you warm for their weight; in any cold weather climate they're very sensible clothing.

I've been vegetarian and gone back to eating meat, but I'm not sure I can ever morally justify it by any rational calculus.

I don't think any ethical position can be arrived at by "rational calculus." They are all, at base, articles if faith. You cannot derive an "ought" from an "is."
posted by yoink at 2:47 PM on February 8, 2013


Go on ... where's the financial interest for PETA? What takes the place of the firearms industry and lobby in that analogy? Those powerful vegetable farmers?

What I meant when I said PETA is the left's NRA is that their marketing claims to speak for animal lovers, vegetarians, vegans, etc, just as the NRA is equated with "gun owners", not necessarily "crazy people who own guns". In reality, PETA doesn't really speak for anyone except for themselves.

When I was in university, they'd hit the campasses (much like Greenpeace) and solicit donations showing pictures of lab animals and medical testing and youngsters like myself would hand over cash thinking it was the enlightened thing to do. But rarely would anyone I know bother to check into what they really do with that money because the assumption is that if they're against evil things then they must be doing good things with the cash. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Also, they're constantly preaching to the choir and have no idea how to effectively market any of their ideas (probably because those ideas are rooted in crazy and hypocrisy), just like the NRA. Any time either one of those organizations runs a new campaign, all people talk about is how crazy and out of touch they are--rarely is the topic even discussed.

I mean, seriously, MrGrimm, how can you give money to an organization who wishes to outlaw insulin when their own VP for many years uses the stuff and justifies it by basically claiming it's okay for her, but not those other people? There is no justification. It's madness.
posted by dobbs at 2:52 PM on February 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Is there a cite on the outlaw insulin thing, or is it inferred from their tendency to boycott products tested on animals?

I'm an insulin dependent diabetic, and it would definitely make me take a hard line stance against PETA if they were advocating getting rid of insulin. For what, to save yeast & e coli?
posted by BrotherCaine at 3:54 PM on February 8, 2013


Yeah, since 2006 all U.S.-manufactured insulin has been made from bacteria. It used to come from animals, mostly pigs. So this is an old, dead argument.

And fur has come back, even in trickle-down fashion. Nordstrom's website features several fur items this winter, and I wrote them a letter decrying it. I live in the DC area and it seems some of the Lifestyle-Lifted women in their 60s have either purchased new furs or unwrapped the old ones this year.

PETA isn't my favorite organization, but they are as adamant that people shouldn't eat and wear cows as they are anti-fur. They run great vegan recipes on their website, and good lists of which companies test their chemicals on animals, and which do not. But they also euthanize just about every pet that people drop off at their headquarters, because they are too boneheaded to start a real shelter. They're problematic, and I wish one of the smaller animal rights organizations would shove them out of the way.

That said, I liked this commercial. The fur industry is disgusting, and just ask Upton Sinclair if people aren't affected by disgust.
posted by juniper at 4:37 PM on February 8, 2013


PETA is against pet ownership. Always has been.

The PETA website says For every lucky dog or cat who has a comfortable home, nutritious food, and loving guardians, countless other dogs and cats are suffering at the hands of incompetent or abusive people, are struggling to survive on the streets, or are waiting in animal shelters for a good home.

That doesn't sound like they are against pet ownership.
posted by layceepee at 4:48 PM on February 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't think any ethical position can be arrived at by "rational calculus." They are all, at base, articles if faith. You cannot derive an "ought" from an "is."

But when your actions have repercussions outside of yourself, you'd better be able to justify them.
posted by BrotherCaine at 5:50 PM on February 8, 2013


layceepee, their site also says that humans wanting pets causes immeasurable suffering because it deprives the animals of their natural environment.

PETA are basically shysters. Today they're this and tomorrow they're that--whatever opens your wallet faster. Today they're against euthanizing animals, tomorrow they're doing the euthanizing. Today they're against animal use in medicine and tomorrow they're ingesting and injecting such medicine in their own bodies. They're against Hollywood using animals in their "propaganda" but PETA has no problem using images and footage of animals to separate you from your money. They're against seeing eye dogs (and all working animals) but you can bet your bottom dollar that if Ingrid Newkirk went blind tomorrow they'd find a way to make an exception.
posted by dobbs at 7:57 PM on February 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm sure most Peta members are just run-of-the-mill vegetarians and vegans. Nice, mild, reasonable creatures, no worse than anyone here.

But they support ridiculous shock tactics, and so by funding them those "nice, mild, reasonable creatures" are themselves obnoxious by the transitive property. I directly oppose the assumption that there's no such thing as bad publicity -- PETA has gained as much ground as they're ever going to get through these tactics, because there is no depth to them, they aren't making arguments, they're just pointing and saying "you just don't get it, DO YOU?"

The over-the-top ads are calculated to get people talking and thinking about animal rights. It works over and over again. Every damn time they put out an ad, someone posts about it here.

But they aren't convincing anyone. If you provoke conversation enough times, eventually people stop listening to you, and then what have you got? They are being greviously short-sighted.

You can't change anyone's opinions. You can only help them see that your opinions are right. To do that, you have to actually talk to them, and to do that you have to do more than shout incoherently. But they keep shouting. This is what's led me to believe, as dobbs just said, they are more concerned about perpetuating their own existence and keeping the contributions coming in than actually doing anything to limit animal suffering.
posted by JHarris at 8:43 PM on February 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


That doesn't sound like they are against pet ownership.

That's why they phrased it that way.
Make no mistake: when they say "total animal liberation," they mean just that.
posted by ShutterBun at 10:09 PM on February 8, 2013


just ask Upton Sinclair if people aren't affected by disgust.

A bit of a misnomer, as Sinclair's original point was not (entirely) about animal cruelty or unsafe food practices, but rather the plight of the stockyard workers. The Food & Drug Act ultimately had little effect on Sinclair's intended target.
posted by ShutterBun at 10:13 PM on February 8, 2013


But they support ridiculous shock tactics, and so by funding them those "nice, mild, reasonable creatures" are themselves obnoxious by the transitive property.

Given how secretive PETA is about some of its top-level goals and tactics, I'd be inclined to give the mild-mannered folks the benefit of the doubt, and assume they don't really know much about PETA beyond "they're the folks that are against animal cruelty and fur, right?"

Let's face it, if PETA's manifesto could be condensed into, say, 10 bullet points, I bet the average do-gooder would probably agree with 6 or 7 of them right off the bat.
posted by ShutterBun at 10:28 PM on February 8, 2013


Yeah, but those remaining ones. I was mistrustful of PETA before, but when I heard about their being against pets and euthanizing animals, that flipped my opinion of them over from "kinda standoffish" to "active loathing."

I wonder if primary contributor Bob Barker, who for decades ended The Price Is Right with a plea to spay and neuter pets, knows about the pet thing?

Even the considerably-more-radical Animal Liberation Front (hello again rabbit-cuddling ninja), who actually break into places to free animals, accepts people keeping pets.
posted by JHarris at 10:59 PM on February 8, 2013


I think that, for pretty much anyone who hasn't grown up in the US, PETA will probably always seem like a bunch of nutters.

Also, for almost anyone who has.
posted by dersins at 12:26 AM on February 9, 2013


their site also says that humans wanting pets causes immeasurable suffering because it deprives the animals of their natural environment.

Cite please, because I have looked over their site and done some googling and don't find that. Instead, I found this which again suggests PETA has no oppostion to companion animals in principle, although it criticizes some aspects of pet ownership and the commercialization of the pet industry: Breeders, pet shops, puppy mills, and people who don't spay or neuter their animals are fueling this crisis by bringing more animals into a world that is already desperately short of good homes.


Make no mistake: when they say "total animal liberation," they mean just that.

Well that's begging the question, because you are assuming "total animal liberation" means no companion animals. Can you cite some instance of PETA taking a stand against having pets per se?
posted by layceepee at 6:35 AM on February 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Here, layceepee.

PETA is only "for" pets because they know it's unrealistic to expect any sane person to agree with them that all pets and other animals be set free.

However, their ideal is no animals under captivity anywhere ever. PETA is not synonymous with "loving animals". Their synonymous with thinking animals have just as many rights as humans on this planet and therefore should never be kept by humans. That is unequivocally their belief. Anyone who tells you different is misinformed or lying.
posted by dobbs at 4:28 PM on February 9, 2013


dobbs, I think the posting you linked is more subtle than that. It seems to have no ethical objection to people taking in an animal from a shelter, for instance. They're against breeding, and they're for spaying/neutering pets (even if they confusingly define "pet keeping" as breeding)
posted by spbmp at 8:39 PM on February 16, 2013


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