Every major cause has at least one major action group behind it. American Cancer Society, National Rifle Association, Mothers Against Drunk Driving and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. All groups have its detractors and supporters but here recently PETA has been pushed into the spotlight by some vegans on their new campaign promoting go vegetarian as a way to lose weight. Billboards which have been showing up in the Jacksonville, Florida area have been drawing heavy criticism and in a press release PETA’s Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman states, “Anyone wishing to achieve a hot “beach bod” is reminded that studies show that vegetarians are, on average, about 10 to 20 pounds lighter than meat-eaters. Trying to hide your thunder thighs and balloon belly is no day at the beach”
PETA has made efforts in the past to combat factory farms and the animal cruelty plight found there by sending undercover workers in to film actions and document the violations. They have tried to place themselves as the foremost group in the fight against animal cruelty and as an advocate for vegetarianism However, many vegetarians, and even more-so, vegans, fail to see PETA’s actions in a positive light. Many cite their actions of near-nude demonstrations and paint-throwing as shining a bad light on a good cause. The majority of responses I received on Twitter when asking how others felt about the organization were in line with just that idea:
@RogerYates PeTA have become a bloated welfare corporation. They need shutting down. With www we don’t need such orgs anymore.
@ccaum I support most of PETA’s work. There are sects in the org I highly disagree with. Particularly the paint throwers & name callers
@VeganMudblood No, I do not support PETA. They are backwards, hateful, and ridiculous. Not beneficial to animals! Support abolitionist groups!
@Ocveggie Nope. Their campaigns only exploit and degrade. Not to mention make us seem stupid.
@vegheadjones I think Vegan Outreach, CoK and best of all HSUS do a much better job of reducing animal suffering
It does seem that some of PETA’s tactics can be seen as maybe not the best ways to a means. Does protesting in front of a KFC really shed any light on what goes on in poultry factory farms? Does it cause anyone to skip the drive-thru and pass on a two-piece dinner or does it just make them buy more out of spite?
It seems PETA may be in a situation where they are alienating the very people they depend on for support, the vegetarian and vegan community. With in-your-face tactics most vegetarians and vegans are more and more wishing to not be associated with PETA as they feel it makes them look crazy for adopting a healthy, compassionate lifestyle.
I wrote this article over the weekend for posting on the following Monday. On Monday, PETA backed down from pressure and replaced the “Whales” billboard with one less offensive. In a statement PETA said:
“By replacing the original artwork in the billboard, we’re able to give a fresh perspective on the issue and keep people talking about going veg to lose weight. We’re excited that so many people across the country have been motivated by the billboard…”