Animal Rights Zone

Fighting for animal liberation and an end to speciesism

Felicitations,

People are asking me what's up with the Vegan's Against Peta thing, as my primary Facebook profile image.

Thank you for your interest.

I apologize for any lack of clarity, and I will attempt to explain.

This will be an overview of *some* of the reasons PETA is lacking.

Let me make clear, I have no particular beef with PETA.

I'm not here to focus my energy on PETA'S shortcomings.

My focus is Vegan Advocacy.

In fact, although it is my understanding some PETA people do not agree with me, I still sometimes work directly with PETA staff on animal-related issues.

I do not support the large groups, including HSUS, Mercy for Animals, "Vegan" Outreach, or any that endorses animal welfare and animal exploitation.

To give you perspective on my background, I have been a dietary Vegan for over 20 years, and an ethical (total) Vegan for at least the last five years. I still had leather products in my possession (and on my feet) until around 2005, when I shed all leather goods. Leather's dead skin.

I used to be one of PETA's biggest supporters. I have given out thousands and thousands of PETA "Vegetarian" Starter Kit guides. I continued distributing them long after I was on the "outs" with PETA.

The essential point is, although PETA has been effective for animals, to a degree, they could be infinitely more effective in their efforts, with their MILLIONS OF DOLLARS, if they focused exclusively on Vegan Advocacy. Only a fraction of their budget is established on Vegan advocacy. They spend millions on sexist Rather Go Naked then Wear Fur campaigns. Yet the fur industry is flourishing.

Which leads me to my next important point:

***More animals are dying now then ever before***

If PETA was actually helping the plight of animals, wouldn't that mean that they would make an impact that would *reduce* animal exploitation?

Isn't that a fair definition of "effective" reduction, in this context?

And no, please do not give me the tired old excuse about the cause of greater animal cruelty being because of higher population.
Per capita, people eat twice as much meat as they did 50 years ago.
( Reference Link: Rethinking the Meat-Guzzler )

I realize that even with PETA's millions of dollars (over 30 PLUS Million every year), they are a small cry against the multi-billion dollar meat and dairy industry.

Not to mention other animal exploitation funds.

But I don't believe Gandhi had millions of dollars in funding, and he was able to vanquish the British Empire out of India.

That brings me to another point:

Would Gandhi condone blowing up industry facilities, as PETA spokespeople have suggested?

Would Gandhi break into a lab and destroy all the equipment while rescuing animals?

Would Martin Luther King Jr. rather go naked then wear fur?

PETA directly, and openly supports The Animal Liberation Front (ALF). Ingrid Newkirk has written books about it (“Free The Animals”).
It is said that PETA Kills Animals. I once rolled my eyes when people would say this to me. I now claim the same exact thing, as this is, in many ways, true.

PETA has a voracious domestic animal/companion program. Part of this program is dog and cat rescue, and an undeniable element of this rescue program is PETA's euthanasia work. Most of us are aware of the horrific story with some PETA staffers euthanizing adoptable dogs and throwing them in dumpsters after.

In 2009, as checked through public records, PETA euthanized 2352 animals. That's over TWO THOUSAND, THREE HUNDRED AND FIFTY animals.
That same year, they adopted out eight. EIGHT ANIMALS ADOPTED.

This is a disgrace!

Professor Gary Francione. professor of animal rights law at Rutgers University states, "euthanasia is never in the interests of a healthy being."

To read more commentary on PETA's euthanasia policy, click here:
Eight Animals

I close by speaking about PETA's support and work with the animal agricultural industry (AG).

PETA works with AG in numerous ways: they are major share holders of numerous large AG corps: Yum! Foods (KFC, Pizza Hut, etc), Wendy's, Burger King, and many more.

PETA claims they are major shareholders so they can attend share holder meetings and dictate or implement animal welfare policy. This also means they directly fund large AG with their dollars.

PETA also endorses animal welfare practices, intending to make life "better" for exploited animals, with the goal that this will lead to total animal liberation.
Animal welfare does not work.

At least, it does not work to help save animals. In fact, animal welfare has been found to only increase productivity and the AG business, increasing profits on the backs of animals that have suffered mildly less before having their throats slit (Maybe conscious. Maybe not).

Please also consider animal welfare only treats the symptom of animal cruelty, being animal /treatment/ when the real issue at hand for animals is animal USE.
Animal welfare does not directly address use.
There's more to say on the subject of PETA supporting welfare and how it benefits animal AG.
I'm closing this commentary to let you digest the information and review other materials (which I certainly encourage you to do!).

If you are interested in reading a more in depth essay, elaborating on many points, here, please ready Dan Cudahy's "PETA: A Corporate Tangle of Contradictions "

Although not exclusively, much of what I am sharing with you, I have learned from a new Vegan/animal advocacy movement known as Vegan Abolition. An important participant in Vegan Abolition is Professor Gary L. Francione, who's a lawyer and instructor at Rutgers School of Law, where he teaches Animal Rights Law, among other legal subjects.

His website (with info on other Abolitionist sites):

Abolitionist Approach

Take an hour to listen to one of Professor Francione's podcasts.

I did.

And I assure you, it is well worth it.

Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to your feedback and opinions, which are welcome.

Ahimsa,

-Douglass
-------------
Please, if you are not already Vegan, go Vegan today. Right now.
Being Vegan is the one thing that we can all do today—right now—to help animals.
Being Vegan does not require an expensive campaign or the the involvement of a large organization.
Being Vegan does not require legislation, or anything other than our recognition that if "animal rights" means anything, it means that we cannot justify killing and eating animals.

If you are Vegan, thank you.
(now get the message out to friends and family!)
(;-D

Please find out more about Vegan Abolition:
www.AbolitionistApproach.com

-Douglass
ÜberVegan Advocacy
ubervegan@gmail.com

Rise to recognize animals as individuals:
Go Vegan!

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Comment by Douglass on February 14, 2011 at 18:47
Thanks for your comment, Sam.
Living in the Bay Area, although we are still the minority (for now), I cross paths with Vegans and vegetarians, frequently.
I appreciate some stereotypes, as you've suggested. But I've noticed plenty of scary omnivores, too.
I find your agreement with PETA's euthanasia policies particularly disturbing.
Obviously I'm not saying it's good for animals to live in cages.
I'm suggesting PETA's energies are generally misguided.
You are mistaken: there *are* enough "good hearted people" to adopt.
Truly, more then plenty!
My understanding is clear that, with enough effort, good, happy and healthy homes could be found for every needy animal. A little bit more effort is necessary.
The money is already there.
So, for example, if instead of PETA generously spending their funds on the mentioned sexist anti-fur campaigns, they could focus more towards adoption.
It's quite obvious that the easy way out is for PETA to simply "eliminate" the problem.
PETA is exercising that exact "selfishness" you've commented on.
If you were one of their healthy dogs next to be put down, I think you'd be less agreeable.
Comment by Sam Reynolds on January 2, 2011 at 8:43
In a perfect world, where we could have what we want, I would agree with you...but we live in a Human world, full of ignorance and selfishness. In this world, where we can't stop the machine and our own lives are short,we have to do what we can. People still view vegetarians as weirdy beardy types and vegans as almost alien. Until meat starts to poison people (BSE,Swine flu etc) en masse, the machine will keep turning. So, we have to do what we can.
As for euthanasia..I agree with PETA. Can you even imagine living your life in a cage? PETA runs a great neuter program. Animals are over bred and there simply aren't enough good hearted people or money to take care of them all.
Animal rights fighting animal rights is such a waste of time and as we all know in AR, time is life.
Comment by blackpanther on December 18, 2010 at 2:52

I'm french, not american, so maybe you will tell me I can't judge, but what other "big" animal rights organisation or group send you this?:

http://www.peta.org/living/vegetarian-living/Celebrate-a-Vegan-Holi...

For me, it means PeTA is trying to convince people to go vegan, and acting in that direction, so why criticize them on that matter?

A second point: I thought many vegans were against having pets, so if PeTA euthanizes animals (which would unless suffer their life in cages in shelters), it seems to go in the right direction, no? I prefer cats and dogs being painlessly euthanized, rather than becoming strays and wondering in the streets, ill and hungry.....to end like this one:

 

Comment by Tim Gier on December 18, 2010 at 0:29

Hi Douglass,

 

While I am not a supported of PeTA, for many of the same reasons you are not, there are a couple of points you make that I will take exception to.

 

The comparison of what Gandhi was able to achieve in India and what King accomplished in the US in their respective struggles is not necessarily appropriate with respect to the animal liberation movement.  In the first place, both of these men had the significant support of a large number of people at the time.  Gandhi operated within the political system and had thousands willing to go to jail along beside him.  King's actions must be considered in the light of the emerging acceptance of racial equality, as evidenced by the Us Supreme Court decision ending segregation in schools in 1957. Both of these men were absolutely instrumental in helping to bring about great social change, but they were not starting from a thoroughly marginalized base of only 2 or 3% of the populations of their countries as animal activists are.  They sought, in many ways, to apply existing laws and legal protections to those being abused.  Animal activists are seeking to make completely new laws, and social norms.  Secondly, non-violence for both of these men did not equal inaction, or non-confrontation.  Both men were willing to, and did, break the law and go to jail for their ideals, and both were aware that their own actions precipitated violence.  Thirdly, in both cases, there was a vocal and prominent militant movement working to achieve the same goals as were these two men, and it can't be known with any certainty what role these more militant actors played in the eventual realization of some of Gandhi and King's dreams.  I do not condone, support or advocate for violence against other sentient life forms, but, and with all due respect to 'ahimsa', violence is a fact of life.  There is a paper posted to this site wherein Dr. Oscar Horta considers the near universal suffering and violence in nature; it is worth reading.

 

I do not fully understand the position PeTA takes on euthanasia, but it stands to reason that there is more to it than that they just don't care about animals, or worse, that the official policy of PeTA is to destroy lives which could otherwise easily be saved.  In any case, if Prof. Francione has said "euthanasia is never in the interests of a healthy being" he is clearly wrong, as almost all absolutist statements are clearly wrong.  Given enough time and enough situations, there certainly will be cases where euthanasia is in the interests of a "healthy being", assuming, of course, we can agree on what constitutes "healthy".  In any case, the way that you've portrayed it, PeTA is killing adorable, cuddly, bright-eyed and bushy tailed happy individuals.  I'm sure that PeTA would disagree with your characterization. (By the way, my objection here is the same one Francione himself makes when he says that we all agree that unnecessary suffering is wrong and that no sane person would disagree. But just as non-vegans would argue that some suffering is necessary, PeTA would argue that the animals they kill are not healthy, and that their deaths are necessary.)

 

Unless PeTA is buying stock in any company as part of an IPO or other company initiated stock offering, they are not directly materially supporting any company through stock ownership.  PeTA might be benefiting from their partial ownership of any companies they hold stock in, assuming that the companies are doing well, but the companies receive no direct financial support from stockholders who have purchased stock on the open market.  Of course, any benefit to PeTA as a stockholder can only accrue to them in the form of dividends, income which would presumably fund their efforts on behalf of other animals, or through the sale of stock at a price higher than what they paid.  Selling the stock for financial gain would naturally result in a reduction of PeTA's influence with those companies, which seems at odds with their stated purpose of buying the stocks in the first place.  I don't know that PeTA has sold any of those stocks.  Whether one thinks that PeTA's strategy of becoming an "insider" to these companies is a valid strategy is a separate question, although I do think it has some merit - it would seem that it's better than not to have a seat at the table where decisions are made.

 

Finally, to say that "animal welfare does not work" simplifies things perhaps too much.  I am not a wefarist, or a "new-welfarist" but one must see that there is a growing and important realization on the part of many, if not most, people that "factory farming" is not a good thing, and that it needs to stop.  Considering that all of the major groups who are active in advocacy for other animals are not rights-based abolitionist groups, there must be some merit to the idea that 'welfare does work', at least on some level.  I agree with you that the only goals worthwhile, and morally justifiable, are the goals of veganism, anti-speciesism and the abolition of exploitation, but just because things have gotten worse in most respects as far as other animals are concerned, it doesn't mean that welfare has failed.  Who knows how bad things would otherwise be if were not for PeTA, HSUS and all the others??

Comment by red dog on December 17, 2010 at 19:18

Douglass, sorry but I'm a bit dense sometimes. Are you serious with this post, or are you attempting to be funny? The reason I ask is that you posted a very silly cartoon here not too long ago--maybe in response to some other silly cartoons that have been posted to various Internet sites lately? (I really hope Xtranormal doesn't become the next big form of entertainment.)

 

I just want to know where things stand before I decide how much time to devote to this conversation.

Comment by Carolyn Bailey on December 17, 2010 at 15:03

Thanks for posting this, Douglass!

 

I agree with you on much of what you've said. I find it disappointing that PeTA continue to claim themselves as a rights based organisation. I understand the name "rights" is something they'll cling onto for as long as possible, but unfortunately their philosophy is not rights based, obviously, and this confuses people.

This is an essay from Dan Cudahy on PeTA, a very good essay!

http://unpopularveganessays.blogspot.com/2009/12/peta-corporate-tan...

 

 

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