STAFF EDITORIAL: PETA’s single issue strategies are a far cry from activism

September 9, 2011

Back in our Dec. 7, 2009 issue, The Campanil published an editorial titled “Pornography for the Ethical Treatment of Animals?” condemning the actions of animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment For Animals (PETA) as blindly single-issue and offensive.  Recently, PETA announced they will, indeed, soon be launching a porn site.

That’s right:  if you thought the “I’d Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur” campaign was racy, that was vanilla compared PETA’s newest scheme.  While watching the XXX-rated content, viewers will be intermittently exposed to other graphic images, namely videos depicting different brutality and suffering experienced by animals in various locations, (i.e., laboratories, factory farms).  What better way to think about the politics of an animal product-dependent society, right?

Certainly PETA is aware of the “controversial” nature of their campaigns, evidenced by the Huffington Post’s quote from spokeswoman Lindsay Rajt: “We live in a 24 hour news cycle world, and we learn the racy things we do are sometimes the most effective way that we can reach particular individuals.”

Uh, which particular individuals are those, exactly?  Maybe these individuals will have an epiphany that will go something like this: “Hm, sexy chicks getting boned spliced with footage of chickens getting their beaks sawed off?  That’s kind of bizarre — and disgusting.  Wow, maybe I should really start reading up on vegetarianism and
animal rights!”

We can only hope that this new campaign — which, honestly makes sense as the climax (ha) to years of porny ads — will result in some group of vegans who actually practice anti-oppression lifestyles marching over to PETA’s HQ and beating everyone senseless with a copy of The Sexual Politics of Meat.

What makes us even angrier is that PETA receives more resources than any other animal rights group — their donations totalled over $32 million for its 2009 fiscal year.  It makes sense — ludicrous, alienating campaign after campaign probably gets really expensive, plus there’s PETA international President Ingrid Newkirk’s salary to pay.

PETA has long embarrassed those of us who identify as vegetarians or animal lovers (and especially The Campanil’s lone vegan), declaring idiotic ploys as “activism.”

We are tired of being associated with the sleazy vegangelicals over at PETA and we’re pretty tired of PETA itself, too.

STAFF EDITORIAL: PETA’s single issue strategies are a far cry from activism was published on September 9, 2011 in Editorial, Opinions

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  • Ryan

    This is an incredibly ballardian proposition.

    I think this article makes some fairly respectable points about the effectiveness of this kind of activism (although I wonder what kind of activism is [the ‘is’ being in italics] effective.), but I think it’s slightly unfair to write off porn with an off-hand reference to a book I probably won’t read. Point being, if porn is the issue, it might be more effective to make a rational argument for why porn (in abstraction, as the type of porn and how it is practiced is not clearly defined by this article) is bad, or antithetical to peta’s message.

    Obviously (and quite well put by your article) it is a little absurd to create some kind of atrocity exhibition as a means to activism, but after reading this, I know very little about how they are running their operation. Are they featuring models and videos that they shot and selected themselves, or are they simply aggregating content? Is it amateur porn submitted by their members? Is it hetero-sexual only with a bias towards certain body types? 

    If the campanil staff is anti-porn in general, then I feel that itself warrants an article or two. Defining it is difficult enough (the fetish ball for example, may be considered pornographic by students from Brigham Young University). And then there’s the issue of simply being sex positive, and what the camera does to that situation (offhand reference to Susan Sontag coming up…). 

    Anyway, I hope this isn’t taken as a negative criticism, I think this article, and the paper in general has a lot of talent behind it, but as open-minded, intelligent people I think it’s fair to discuss pornography in more objective terms than the pervasive historical denial of it which has not caused it to go away or protected the models involved.