Content warning: genocide, euthanization, animal abuse, objectification of women, sexism, slavery, r*pe, ableism, sexual violence, sexual assault, abuse, the Holocaust, anti-Semitism, fat-shaming.
Additional warning: links may contain graphic imagery and visual representations of the things listed above.
This recent Thanksgiving, PETA made this incredibly insensitive and disgraceful statement:
Instead of using their large platform to shed light on the genocide of Native Americans that Thanksgiving celebrates, they instead completely dehumanize and ignore the oppression of Native Americans that continues to this day. Once again, PETA has proven that they don’t value human beings.
However, this isn’t the first harmful thing PETA has said or done. In fact, they have a long history of weaponizing and exploiting the oppression of marginalized minorities to forward their animal advocacy, even perpetrating this oppression countless times.
PETA is an organisation that capitalizes and financially profits off of the suffering of minorities, wrapped up in the illusion of animal advocacy. Vegan or not, we all must take a stand against this horrible excuse for activism.
Along with their recent harmful statement towards Native Americans, below are 10 reasons why you should not support PETA.
1. PETA kills tens of thousands of pets and domestic animals
Despite advocating for the rights of animals, PETA has one of the largest kill shelters in America. In 2016, 71.9% of cats and dogs taken in by PETA were euthanized, and only 2.9% were adopted. Additionally, from 2003 to 2013, a total of 29,426 domestic animals such as dogs, cats and rabbits were killed by PETA. Not to mention that various instances have come to light where pets were forcibly taken and euthanized without their owner’s consent. This certainly is a disgustingly high amount of domestic animals being killed for an organisation who claims to not only be in support of animal rights, but whose primary mission with their animal shelters is to find a permanent home for pets.
2. PETA is sexist
Whether it’s putting naked pregnant women in cages or comparing women to cows, PETA has an obsession with using and exploiting women’s bodies as allegories for the suffering animals endure. While there is a conversation to be had about this suffering, objectifying women to make a point about animal abuse is blatant dehumanization and sexism.
3. PETA compares animal slaughter to the suffering of black people
In 2005, PETA promoted the slogan, “Are Animals the New Slaves?”, and in 2007, PETA released an advertisement comparing the American Kennel Club to the KKK. In addition to this, PETA actually sued SeaWorld, claiming that five orcas should be freed under the 13th Amendment. You read correctly. According to them, five orcas are apparently the same as the forced displacement, enslavement, lynching, rape and murder of millions of black slaves, and this is somehow acceptable because, “orcas are, by definition, slaves”, according to PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk.
4. PETA claims that dairy products cause autism
There seems to be a never-ending amount of misconceptions about autism out there, and PETA aren’t helping. They claim:
This outrageous claim isn’t actually backed up by any valid evidence. They cite two out-dated studies done over 15 years ago, and with a tiny sample pool of just 20 children. Furthermore, in 2010, The University of Texas investigated these studies and found them to be scientifically inaccurate, and two additional overviews in 2008 and 2014 have further debunked these claims. The fact that to this day, PETA so openly and proudly perpetrates the notion that dairy products cause autism is atrocious and incredibly ableist.
5. PETA dehumanizes and invalidates rape survivors
In November 2016, PETA published an advertisement called, “Women Explain What Rape Feels Like for Animals in the Food Industry”, featuring a series of women sharing their experiences with rape. However, this seemingly meaningful beginning is undermined by what follows:
“Every year, billions of animals are born into the meat, egg and dairy industries. Almost all of them are a result of forcible artificial insemination. Almost all of them are a result of rape. Don’t participate, go vegan”.
Not only is this incredibly triggering for many rape survivors, but this further admonishes them, as it is suggested that their suffering and trauma is somehow comparable to that of a cow’s. While the sexual violence animals experience is important and needs to be discussed, it can be done without dehumanizing rape survivors and invalidating their trauma.
6. PETA mocks survivors of abuse
In an advertisement called, “Boyfriend went Vegan”, a woman is depicted in a neck brace and as suffering from “BWVAKTBOOM: Boyfriend Went Vegan And Knocked The Bottom Out Of Me”. It is implied that the energy and strength the boyfriend had from going vegan caused him to violently push her head through a wall. In other words: abuse. Not only is this advertisement intended to be comedic, it also mocks public service announcements about abuse, and just completely disregards the seriousness of abuse.
7. PETA makes anti-Semitic Holocaust analogies
PETA have a horribly long history of using the suffering of Jewish people in their ad campaigns. Not only have they used traumatic Holocaust imagery as a parallel to animal suffering, but they’ve even mocked Hitler’s idea of a ‘master race’, comparing it to breedism (the idea that a dog’s worth can be based off of its breed). These campaign strategies are clearly insensitive and anti-Semitic.
8. PETA has a history of fatshaming
With slogans such as, “Fight obesity: go vegan”, and, “Lose the blubber: go vegetarian”, PETA is not even trying to hide their blatant fatshaming. This glorification of weight loss is incredibly harmful, and completely disrespects the countless vegans of size who do amazing work to promote veganism and animal rights.
9. PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk disparages the importance of Seeing Eye dogs
According to PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk, Seeing Eye dogs are “servants” to blind people, and she has even forcibly taken at least one dog from its blind owner. Despite doing nothing to support blind people or to dismantle the ableist system that makes it so that blind people need these services, Newkirk actively promotes their oppression and exclusion from public life by attempting to strip them of these services. Instead of accosting and shaming disabled people for needing these resources, abled people like Newkirk need to stop actively perpetrating the oppression of disabled people.
10. PETA supports white supremacist Joe Arpaio
PETA has applauded and allied with white supremacist Joe Arpaio, all because he cut meat out of prisoner’s diets as it was too expensive and saves the country $200,000 per year (not because he actually cares about vegetarianism or veganism). Joe Arpaio is blatantly racist and anti-immigrant, and has been leading an anti-Latinx campaign in Arizona for years. In 2011, the Justice Department concluded that he “oversaw the worst pattern of racial profiling by a law enforcement agency in U.S. history”. In addition to this, Arpaio has forced imprisoned women to sleep in their own menstrual blood, assaulted pregnant women, stalked Latina women and unlawfully detained innocent Latinx people, to say the least. The fact that PETA has sides with a notable racist and sexist man in the name of ‘animal rights’ clearly shoes how PETA views the lives of people of color and women (as well as other minorities).
I think we’d all like to believe that PETA just doesn’t know any better and are trying to make the world a better place. But this is not the case. For decades now, PETA has used the oppression of marginalized minorities as marketing strategies. They financially profit off of deliberately provocative and triggering advertisement campaigns in an attempt to get their message out there. They are aware of the damage and harm that they are causing. But they don’t care.
PETA is a dangerous organization that must not be supported. They euthanize tens of thousands of perfectly healthy animals that could have otherwise been adopted by someone who would have actually taken care of them. No matter where you stand on veganism or vegetarianism, we all must stand together against the wretched excuse for activism that is PETA.