From whence comes PETA’s compulsion to periodically make the organization look as unethical and/or deranged as possible? If I were not charitable by nature, I would say that it was because the leadership of the organization is constitutionally unethical, and nuts. I suspect that the real answer is close to that, but it’s not exactly right. I think that PETA’s concept of ethics begins and ends with “the ends justfy the means,” that they are so besotted with the rights of animals that they dehumanize people, and that arrested juveniles run the organization.
The latest jaw dropper from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is to use money to induce poor people in Detroit to comply with PETA’s vision of an ethical lifestyle. From the PETA website:
“With jobs in Detroit disappearing, many residents are struggling. As they’re forced to choose which bills to pay, the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department has chosen for them―shutting off water and leaving many people high and dry. The department put the shutoffs on a temporary hiatus, but people’s water bills are mounting. So with the help of a generous PETA member, we have come up with one small way to assist Detroit residents and save animals, too.Thanks to this donor, PETA will be able to pay off the water bills for 10 families who commit to going vegan for one month. We’ll also help them get started by giving each family a basket of healthy vegan foods and recipes.”
In other word, PETA is exploiting the most vulnerable citizens of the urban wasteland known as Detroit to turn them into human billboards for the group’s utopian vision of an animal-friendly world.
They have attempted this sort of thing before, as when they tried to bribe Octomom, a.k.a. Nadya Suleman, to put an actual billboard on her front lawn comparing her brood of babies to the result when you don’t spay your pets. For $5,000 and a month’s supply of veggie burgers and meatless hot dogs, Octomom briefly agreed to let PETA compare her to household pets and her children to a litter. She will allow the group to put a sign in her front yard proclaiming, “Don’t Let Your Dog or Cat Become an Octomom! Always Spay or Neuter!”
The Detroit stunt is far worse, because it goes beyond mere humiliation, coercion and exploitation to tampering with the health and lifestyle of others, including children. Vegan diets are not recommended for children, especially infants, and even for adults it comes with risks. The targets of the PETA campaign have a metaphorical gun at their heads, so PETA’s despicable donor is using his superior financial means to induce desperate Detroit residents to do something they would never choose to do otherwise, and if they have children, risk their well-being in the process. I bet he could get some of them to cut off their pinkies, if there was enough money in it.
PETA doesn’t care. PETA just wants publicity, as it proves every time it makes a ridiculous but media-pleasing announcement from Wacko World, like demanding that the Punxutawny groundhog be replaced by an audio-animatron, or claiming that Sea World’s killer whales were slaves in violation of the Thirteenth Amendment. Those stunts were just silly; this one takes advantage of poor people and puts their health at risk, which demonstrates, one again, that the “ethics” in PETA’s name is an oxymoron.
In a 2011 post, I attempted to enlighten PETA with a list of five key ethical realities that it didn’t understand. I guess they missed reading the blog that day, so in the interest of enlightenment, let me re-publish it here;
1. The ends don’t always justify the means. PETA’s “by any means necessary” approach to its mission has included such unethical tactics as humiliating desperate human beings, like Octomom, and putting Michelle Obama into their ads without her permission.
2. An advocate for an important cause has a duty to maintain its own credibility. PETA has constantly undermined its ability to persuade by stunts that make it appear flaky and incapable of perspective.
3. Linking an organization to activities many people believe are wrong, immoral or exploitive—like pornography— reduce respect, regard, and good will for both the organization and its objectives. This is how cognitive dissonance works, and is part of the values assignment process that determines how humans rank people, organizations and conduct. If the primary advocate for a cause aligns itself with unethical or repulsive activities and views, the cause is dragged down by its association with them.
4. Human life is more precious than animal life. PETA clearly doesn’t think so, and is willing to objectify women and support the porn industry, which exploits women, in defense of animals. It is an unethical trade-off.
5. Integrity. An organization with “ethical” in its name has to take care that it behaves ethically and demonstrates an understanding of ethical principles.
You’re welcome, PETA.
Now leave those poor people alone.