Oh, PETA. You do perplex me.

Posted: March 25, 2010 in Thoughts
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

PETA. It’s one of those organizations that, if you know a bit more about them and seen their PR-stunts, makes you either scratch your head in bewilderment or get pissed off. They manage to piss off feminists and rednecks alike, which is pretty impressive. To their credit, without PETA there would probably not be any laws protecting animal rights, and without dedicated activists most organizations wouldn’t get anything done. That being said… I would be so interested to hear a seminar from the people responsible for PETA’s publicity stunts… I respect that they dare to use such aggressive and provocative means to get their points across, but then there’s stuff like this:
"Got Autism?" A PETA ad

… that makes me go “oh, honey, just… no. don’t do that.”

I’m just not sure how their reasoning went there. I know some people with Asperger’s and high-functioning Autism who are on a non-dairy, non-gluten diet because one study implied that the digestive system worked slightly different in people in the autism spectrum. The same study also showed that some kids with autism who were put on a non-dairy, non-gluten diet improved slightly, but I’m not sure in what aspect. I don’t know much about the study, but I remember discussing the causes of autism with some people who have some form of autism a while back. I said something about Jenny McCarthy, and her claim that she cured her son’s autism by using that diet. To be honest, I found it to be pretty ridiculous at the time I heard about it, but  the general opinion about that particular diet was that “it might work a bit and it isn’t harmful”… but as far as I know, no one ever said that milk causes autism.

I’ve always admired people who choose to restrict their diet out of ethical, political or even health reasons. So many may argue about how we’re ruining the environment and how unethical animal testing is, but there’s relatively few people who are willing to make any big changes in their own life for their cause. It takes self-discipline and a strong will. And I do think that the world would benefit if those who were able to would choose a vegetarian or vegan diet. That being said, I’m very much not a big fan of spreading false belief through fear… the whole thing gives me associations to Fundie Christian’s abstinence tactics. Meh. Using autism to do so is such a shitty thing to do too, since people used to believe that it was caused by “coldhearted” moms. Poor moms. So my issue with that ad is that they’re ok with using weak facts, twists them into something they’re not, and imply that “if you hadn’t given your kid cow milk, s/he wouldn’t have had autism”, which once again puts the blame on the parents.

I don’t believe PETA as an organization has any particular interest in the causes or cure for autism. I don’t think they believe that milk causes it. There’s a video out there somewhere from PETA which promotes a vegetarian diet, with the slogan “vegetarians have better sex”. I like that. I doubt there’s any strong evidence behind the statement, but it doesn’t really hurt anyone, and I don’t think PETA actually believes anyone is going to go veg just to have better sex. They probably don’t really care about your sex life either, unless it happens to involve animals, in which case.. nevermind. I accept that being provocative and stretching facts to get a point across works well in PR, but doing it at the cost of an already struggling minority is pretty low. You’d think PETA’s PR person would’ve figured that people would react to that in a negative way.

Anyhow, this just popped into my mind as I was reading that Jaeuqin Phoenix apparently was in a new PETA video. You can read about some of PETA’s PR-stunts here:

“Top 10 of PETAs most insane publicity stunts.”

“The best of PETAs worst”

“A history of PETAs craziest publicity stunts”

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Comments
  1. Jodi says:

    Excellent thoughts! I am a lifetime vegetarian and remain perplexed daily as to the motivation behind PETA at times.

    Enjoyed your words. Thanks!

  2. Tom says:

    Massive suggestion you DON’T look up … ooooh shit what is it called.

    facilitated communication. . . apart from being like evil it is just WRONG and yet people will still do it.

    I know a few people who did it back in the early 90’s because “it was the thing that was done” and they knew it was wrong.they even know someone who has a criminal record because of it.

    let me know if you want more random info .

    + i am off to the circus on monday and BOUND to have some PETA people there I am SO excited, I want to take a monkey on a crucifix OR at least complain that they have no monkeys.

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