Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Words That Should Not Be Used Together in the Same Sentence: PETA + Ethics


PETA stands for "People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals." Apparently this group is unaware of the fact that human beings are animals because their treatment of humans is far from ethical.

Their latest outrage is a billboard in New Jersey that promotes a link between milk and autism. This is part of their aggressive promotion of vegetarianism. The reasoning—if you stoop to calling it that—is described on their website at Got Autism?.

Orac at Respectful Insolence has taken time off from his campaign against alternative (i.e. non-evidence based) medicine to take a whack at PETA [see PETA: Even more impossible to parody than ever!]. The take-down is impressive. PETA is exposed as bunch of kooks hiding behind the veneer of science in order to promote their special brand of woo. If they harm people by spreading lies, then so much the better, as long as those people are carnivores.

Toward the end of his posting, Orac backs off a little so that he doesn't appear to be too nasty to the PETA fools.
I know, I know. Beating up on PETA is like beating up on a helpless puppy dog, except that puppy dogs are cute and lovable, and PETA is anything but either of the two. It's also too damned easy, leaving me feeling vaguely guilty when I'm done for not going after a more challenging target. I do it anyway because the level of sheer irrationality demonstrated by PETA with each and every one of its campaigns just irritates the hell out of me. I hate having my intelligence insulted in such a manner. Also, the sheer publicity whoring for which PETA is so well known irritates me. It's painfully obvious that PETA doesn't give a rodent's posterior about helping autistic children. It just knows that autism has been in the news a lot lately and decided a good way to get publicity would be to latch onto autism somehow, no matter how tenuous the link they come up with to justify their billboard. Not that it will matter to most PETA supporters or to the "biomedical:" (translation: antivaccinationist) movement. Indeed, this latest campaign is so idiotic that I almost expect to see it touted on autism quackery websites soon.

There, now. I feel better. Slapping down PETA is always a fine diversion when my workload gets too heavy and I need a break. Hopefully, I can pick a more challenging target next time. On the other hand, so much woo is no better than this; so I'm not sure there really is a much more challenging target in that realm.


  1. I frequently find it frustrating that otherwise rational people will automatically think that you're some kind of 'right-wing nutjob' if you don't support a group like PETA. They're only trying to protect defenseless, cute little animals after all, right? The 'ends justify the means' logic of some of these organizations is appalling, and it's prefectly rational for someone to want to know the details of what they're supporting before they accidentally sign that next 'chicken holocaust' petition.

  2. Larry, what do you think of PETA supporters who are doing biomedical research?

  3. PETA murders animals, supports (financially and philosophically) terrorists, and has promoted violence against those who "abuse*" animals.

    *By "abuse" they mean look at, touch, or even think about animals.

    It amazes me anyone would take them seriously anymore...

  4. Did you hear that carrots cause autism as well? Oh - and there is overwhelming evidence that Osama bin Laden created autism as a tool for taking down the western world. And if you chew gum, you are going to get brain cancer.

    Come on guys. Let's start doing real science and find the problems and make solutions rather than wasting people's money on bad research.

  5. Lim Leng Hiong asks,

    Larry, what do you think of PETA supporters who are doing biomedical research?

    I don't think of them any differently than I think of anyone who supports PETA these days. They are misguided.

    PETA does not deserve support from intelligent people who care about the truth. If those people want to support animal rights and a vegan lifestyle then they should find honest groups who will promote their cause without lying about science.

  6. PETA had some exciting demonstrations from what I recall when they had a lot of models on the catwalk wearing nothing as a protest against using animal furs.
    The models hadn't shaved their pussies though, so it was a mixed message :^).

  7. Ah PETA is damn crazy, right up there with the people who oppose more nuclear power and they are almost as crazy as atheists.

  8. PETA is for the extremly stupid that why you always so some stupid hollywood celeberties supporting them doing rediculous ads and running around in their birthday clothes in some stupid protest PETA IS STUPID